Original link: http://www.ascap.com/Playback/2012/11/wecreatemusic/martin-page-on-a-temper-of-peace-and-writing-eternal-music.aspx
I truly believe that music is medicine for the soul, and writing, performing and producing my new solo album, A Temper of Peace, afforded me that most-sought-after of emotions – a temperance of peace, that special occurrence when our lives, albeit for brief moments, feel in total and complete harmony with all that is with the world. Music and songwriting have always been that for me – healing balms, methods by which to engage in something pure and natural yet so mysteriously magical and indefinable.
With this project, I set myself a new challenge by playing all the instruments myself. Ever since hearing Paul McCartney’s first solo album (McCartney) as a young boy, on which he achieved this, I’ve harbored the desire to do the same. I wanted to be completely and intimately immersed in every part of the creative process of making an album, which, of course, started with the SONGS. Songs are the lifeblood of my expression, the foundation upon which everything else is built. The song is king!
With this record, I was able to indulge myself and tap into multiple and varied influences – from R&B, traditional folk and reggae to dance and rock. I’ve always loved albums that stride over many genres, styles and moods, and I think Temper does that. I grew up during the ’60s – in an environment of Lennon & McCartney and Motown. My most impressionable years were fueled by those great, auspicious Beatles songs and the soul of the Detroit sound. When I later developed into a pro bass player, the funk era of the ’70s (with bands such as Sly & The Family Stone, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rufus, The Brothers Johnson and Parliament) made a big impression on me. Groove, rhythm and “feel” entered the equation. I was also entranced at this time by the neo-progressive/folk music of such bands as early Genesis and Jethro Tull, and the raw street reggae of Toots and the Maytals and Bob Marley. So, over the decades, I became a sponge for all this wonderful diversity in popular music and culture, and as a result, I think my three solo albums exhibit a freedom and diversity in song style and production – which is especially apparent in A Temper of Peace.
I try to write songs that are “eternal,” that remain modern, transcend styles and fashion and connect with the core of what’s human in all of us. I believe that the reason why many songs from the past sound more contemporary than those of today is because they were written from an “eternal” perspective. Joy, despair, hope, suffering…these are emotions that contain the elements of nature, of our human condition/history, and which give songs a potential for extended/long life. I also seek positivity in my songs – even if I’m writing about sad or difficult themes, as I believe that music is to inspire and uplift and encourage people. When I was a child, I remember that whenever my parents argued or we were in some turmoil over something, when a record was put on the turntable, the atmosphere of the room changed – the music calmed the situation and lifted everyone’s spirits; it was like magic to me, and that realization had a profound effect on me.
We talk a great deal about the technical, mathematical and logical aspects of songwriting, but the spiritual and psychological dimensions are equally important to me. Songs like “Soulprint,” “The Washing of the Heart” and “You Can Let Go” (on the Temper album) were written from “journeys into the interior” – my own interior. My goal is to search for emotional comprehensibility in my work – the place where brain meets heart.
The rather daunting task I set for myself of playing, engineering, performing, producing, mixing (and making tons of tea!), etc. on this album, although agonizing and frustrating at times, proved ultimately to be emancipating and liberating, and even fun! It became the truly “solo” album I’ve always wanted to make. Having said that, ultimately, for me, it remains all about the song. Simply put, songwriting makes me happy, it drives me, it’s something I HAVE to do. It feeds my soul and heals me, which I tried to embed into the songs on A Temper of Peace.
I believe that beauty is our positive response to life, and I try to reflect that in my music.
Visit Martin Page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/martinpagemusic
MARTIN PAGE first gained recognition as a songwriter with Top 40 hits for Kim Carnes and Earth, Wind & Fire, among others. Page co-wrote “We Built This City,” a #1 hit for Starship in 1985, and the #1 hit “These Dreams,” recorded by Heart. Page co-wrote the Top Ten Go West hit “King of Wishful Thinking,” featured in the movie Pretty Woman, and “Faithful,” another hit for Go West. With Robbie Robertson, Page penned the critically acclaimed “Fallen Angel,” featured on Robbie’s first solo album. Page has also written for, produced or worked with such artists as The Commodores, Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones, Paul Young, Brian Ferry, Phil Collins, Josh Groban and Robbie Williams, among many others.
The title track from Page’s debut solo LP In the House of Stone and Light became a substantial pop and adult contemporary hit – breaking the record as the longest charting single in Billboard’s A/C Chart history, and garnering Billboard’s “1995 Top Adult Contemporary Single Of The Year” Award, and ASCAP Pop Awards in both 1995 and 1996. In 2008, Page released his second solo album, In the Temple of the Muse, the first release from Page’s independent label, IroningBoard Records. The album quickly reached #1 on CD Baby’s Top Albums Pop/Rock chart, and remained in the Top 5 for a year.
Songs from Martin’s indie albums have been cut by Josh Groban and Dame Elaine Paige (“Mi Morena”), Robbie Williams (“The Long Walk Home”, co-produced by Martin), Starship (“Everything You Do”) and The Osmonds (“I Can’t Get There Without You,” the UK single for their 50th anniversary album). “We Built This City” was recently featured in Rock of Ages, sung by Russell Brand.