Archive for the 'In the House of Stone and Light' Category

14
Mar
17

3/14/07 – First Post

Well, here we are at last — my first official blog.  It does feel good to be reaching out to you (whoever you may be) after all this time!  With the release of my new album just around the corner, it goes without saying that these are exciting times for me….and what a pleasure it is to be finally one-on-one with you.

The new album, “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE”, was recorded with many of the same musicians and friends that helped me out with my first album, “IN THE HOUSE OF STONE AND LIGHT”:  Neil Taylor (Tears For Fears, and now working with Robbie Williams); Brian Fairweather (my partner from my Q-Feel days); Jack Hues (Wang Chung); and Bill Dillon (of Robbie Robertson, Sarah McLachlan, Peter Gabriel fame) all helped out on guitars.  I was lucky enough to again have Jimmy Copley on live drums.  He’s well known for his work with Tears For Fears, Go West, Jeff Beck and Paul Rogers.  So I had an excellent supporting cast, yet again, to make me look good.  The remaining instruments, and all the vocals, were played or performed by yours truly.  It was a great adventure to play everything from Spanish nylon guitar to 5-string bass to all manor of keyboards.

I also took the liberty to engineer and mix the album myself at home.  As always, my demos were the fundamental root of all the recorded songs, and I believe the rough, organic mood in which these songs were recorded shows the songs off in their true spirit.  As the new songs were very personal, I wanted a rawness and spontaneity to be present in the home recordings.  I used a great deal of vintage analog equipment to achieve this.  I’m a great believer that demos are masters, and that the studio should be a church of creativity and pure emotion, and not a sterile factory.  In many ways, that’s why I chose the title of the new album, “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE” (which, by the way, was the name of a famous book shop in London back, I believe, in Lord Byron’s, Shelley’s and Wordsworth’s time):  Many of the songs were written, and recorded in the studio simultaneously.

Anyway, the release of the new work is, as I mentioned, just around the corner.  Artwork and design, photos, electric press kits, etc., etc., are all being finalized as we speak, so …… we are nearly there.  This is the first release on my own independent label, IRONINGBOARD RECORDS, and I must say, it has been fun doing it myself….a terrific feeling of freedom.  Taking the responsibility to make choices that are usually not allowed the artists by the major (corporate) record labels, has been refreshing and rewarding – something I needed to do at this stage of my career.

Ultimately, it’s all about the songs for me – their emotions and their message.  From as early as I can remember, the song was everything … and still is to me.  Having said that, I’ll finish my first official blog and get back to the home studio, and of course to the all-important cup of tea (I am English, after all).   Thanks for listening.  Speak to you soon.

Martin.

05
Jan
15

1.5.2015 – Books are Spaceships

I must have inherited my love of books from my mother, who – throughout her life – always had a book by her side.

The older I get, the more I enjoy reading.  As the world gets faster, I’m able to slow it down a little by “getting into” a good book.  It’s like stopping time for me – I can get lost for a while in some other drama, inside some other adventure – stepping back or forward in time – studying, learning, experiencing something other than my own existence – removed from the gravity of my normal daily, fast-paced routine.  As Susan Sontag has said, “Books are like spaceships”; they allow us to travel into different worlds and to escape on so many levels.  Books do that for me.… and, of course, they have also inspired many, many songs over the course of my career.

When I found the confidence to express the deeper side of my nature in my songs, books became the key to my inspiration.  “In The House of Stone and Light” was written after visiting and reading about the Grand Canyon; “The Door” (from the same album) was inspired by a book I read about the Nazi concentration camp in Treblinka; “I Guess I Will” and “Everything You Do” were fuelled by my heavy reading of Buddhist philosophy (both songs were featured in the “In The Temple of The Muse” CD).  In fact, the title, “In The Temple of The Muse” was based on an actual book shop that existed in London during the Romantic Poets period.  From the same LP, “Mi Morena” appeared to me after extensive reading of the great Chilean love poet, Pablo Neruda, and, over the years, many of my love songs have been informed by the reading of such Romantic poets as Keats and Lord Byron (I’m a sucker for the dark, melancholic sadness and sentiment that these great poets invoke).  “I Was Made For You” is a song that also pulls from that era of romance.  I love reading all manner of subjects, but history in particular has always had a tight hold on me.  I revere good songs that also allude to an actual occurrence in history – as many folk songs do.  “Story songs” based on true events (or old, traditional folklore) are not the easiest to compose – especially if you’re trying to keep it reasonably commercial (or contemporary).  Back in the 1900’s, Music Hall and Vaudeville did a wonderful job of creating songs that not only told stories of historical events, but were able to do so while still remaining entertaining and catchy – sometimes even with humor.  What skill those writers had!

Quite recently, I’ve been able to build a home library – one of the true delights of my life.  It has become a resource for many of my new songs – a laboratory I visit daily to stir the brain into creative activity.

So, in short, reading a book does a multitude of things for me:  it slows me down, focuses me, takes me away, informs and teaches me, broadens my horizons and turns me on to new song ideas and concepts.  And turning the pages of a book – with great anticipation of what the next page will reveal – is like reaching for the next chord on a guitar or piano/keyboard…. you’re never quite sure what magic awaits the eyes and ears.

Cheers.

 

– Martin

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.

 Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read”.

                                         – Groucho Marx

 

“Books are solitudes in which we meet.”

                                         – Rebecca Solnit

 

 

11
Oct
12

10/11/2012 – Vlog – Working with Phil Collins

02
Jul
10

7/2/2010 – Support System – Vanessa Leavitt

            I’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Leavitt, the wonderful girl who runs and oversees my websites at Myspace and Facebook.  Many of you may already be acquainted with Vanessa, as she makes a point of responding personally to the fans who communicate with me through my websites; So, a great deal of you will already know of Vanessa’s warm, affable and accommodating nature.  It’s quite amazing to me that Vanessa was present at my first ever solo live gig in Washington D.C., when I was touring and promoting my debut solo album, “In The House Of Stone and Light”.  We didn’t actually meet up until years later in Los Angeles when Vanessa and I were both guest speakers on my friend’s music podcast (www.audionowcast.com).  I learned then that she had been a great supporter of my music right from the beginning of my career.  We instantly connected, and when I mentioned that I was about to release a new album on my own independent label, Vanessa immediately offered to help me with the set up and organization of a promotional website at Myspace.  It was an offer that I am glad I didn’t refuse, for Vanessa’s experience in the music industry and internet promotion has proved invaluable during my recent adventures as an independent solo artist.

Vanessa got interested in radio at college, and worked at her college station for four years hosting a local music show highlighting unsigned bands from around the D.C. area.  These were special days for Vanessa, as she got to work and meet with some very passionate people within the music industry – doing what they loved just for the sake of it.  During this pivotal time, she also interned with BMG Music Distribution, doing promotions for their college bands.  This then lead her to working for a number of D.C. radio stations as a sales assistant, and a web developer for one of them.  She then landed her current job building websites for groups of radio stations all over the country.

As I have come to know Vanessa better, I have become aware of her many passions outside the boundaries of music.  She is a keen lover of nature, art and literature, and loves nothing better than the warm seasons which allow her to go hiking or camping with friends and family; but her biggest inspiration by far is her beautiful daughter, Kaia, who constantly reminds her how to live in the present moment.  As I mentioned earlier, one of Vanessa’s great passions is books, and she is a truly talented author in her own right.  She started writing stories in college, and she names writers such as Hemingway, Poe, Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King and Charles DeLint as her strong influences.  She has almost completed her own historical fantasy piece called, “Shaping Fate”, and is presently looking for an agent for the work.  I urge you to check out Vanessa’s creative writing website at   www.vrleavitt.com, where you can view some of her short stories and where Vanessa also talks about the writing process in general.  It’s a great site to visit, and I’m a big fan.

It’s a pleasure for me to work with such an all-‘round, imaginative and genuine person such as Vanessa.  She brings integrity, professionalism and a great work ethic to the creative process.  For her, no task, it seems, is too difficult to accomplish.  And on top of that, she has a terrific sense of humor, which in my book, is a definite Big Plus, indeed!  It is a precious luxury to know as an artist that you have a solid, believing team behind you, and with Vanessa on board, I certainly feel that.

In finishing, I recently asked Vanessa what music artists she likes; she answered that she enjoys all sorts of music from Mozart to Queen to Big And Rich .…. and of course, Martin Page.  Well, she had to say that, didn’t she?!

Thanks Vanessa.

 

Cheers,

Martin

13
Jul
09

7/13/2009 – Bill Harvey

I recently had a very moving and humbling experience.  While visiting the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, I was able to make the acquaintance of Bill Harvey, a survivor of the Nazi death camps of the Holocaust. Bill is a regular speaker at the museum, and after hearing him tell his incredible story to a hushed crowd in the center’s auditorium, I waited in line to shake his hand and thank him personally.  I had written and recorded a song featured on my first solo album (“In The House of Stone & Light”) entitled, “The Door”, which took its theme from the true story of the prisoners’ revolt of August 2, 1943, in the Polish concentration camp of Treblinka.  So, meeting Bill Harvey and hearing his story was extremely special for me.

Bill was just a teenager from Hungary when he was separated from his close family and sent to the first of three death camps that he was to endure.  He witnessed and suffered unimaginable and horrific atrocities which, to this day, still haunt him.  At one point during his ordeal, he weighed barely 70 pounds, and was only saved from the camp ovens when a Jewish guard noticed that his unconscious body was moving in a stack of corpses waiting to be burned.  Miraculously, the German guards had fled into the surrounding countryside that day, in fear of the imminent allied forces’ liberation, allowing Bill to be pulled free and saved by the guard.  Whilst recovering in the camp barracks, Bill awoke in his bunk to see a hellish vision that he can never forget.  A group of newly arrived prisoners were standing and staring at him.  They had just been delivered to the camp from a packed railroad box car that had been traveling non-stop for many days and nights.  Bill thought that he was dreaming, as they literally looked like skeletons, with gaping holes torn into their emaciated bodies.  He would later learn that these prisoners had become so desperately hungry during their prolonged rail journey, that they had begun to eat parts of their own bodies.  Recalling this memory, Bill’s eyes welled up with tears; Yet, through all of his trials, Bill told me that he never lost the unflinching belief that he would one day see his family and loved ones again – and that this was the single hope that kept him fighting on and believing that he would survive.

After he was finally liberated, he was re-united with some of his family who, mercifully, had also survived.  After regaining his health, he studied hard, learned English and eventually immigrated to America, where he pursued a very successful career as a make-up artist, working with  Hollywood movie stars.  It is well documented that Bill was deeply revered, respected and loved by his many glamorous clients.

A few weeks after meeting Bill, he invited me and my manager Diane, to his charming home to view his family photos and to get to know him a little better.  The one experience I shall always cherish is sitting with him in his living room, listening to my song, “The Door”, playing on his home music system.  The realization that I was listening to my composition with a Holocaust survivor was profound and deeply moving to me.  After hearing “The Door”, Bill complimented me on my singing voice and commented how beautiful he found the piece.  He said that the lyrics rang true for him, and that he was genuinely touched by the song’s sentiment and emotion.  This was easily the best and most rewarding review I have ever received!

During our time together, I recall that – more often than not – Bill wore a beaming smile on his face.  I was greatly impressed by his humor and optimism.  His attitude made me reflect on how easy it is for me to become “unmindful” of the freedoms that I enjoy, and how easy it is for me to take for granted my good health.  Bill spoke passionately about the need to recognize and appreciate the simple pleasures and small gifts of everyday life. Today, Bill still passes on his message of compassion and tolerance by speaking at the museum, schools and business organizations with a spirit and dignity rarely seen.  I am, without doubt, a very fortunate and better man for meeting Bill Harvey.

 

“Nothing gives rest but the sincere search for truth.”

                                                                       – Blaise Pascal

Thanks for dropping by.

–       Martin

 

Martin and Bill Harvey

21
Nov
08

11/21/2008 – Interview in Melodic Magazine

Original link to article: http://www.melodic.net/?page=interview&id=235 

Transcript below:

After 13 years, Martin Page´s long-awaited follow-up album to the smash hit “IN THE HOUSE OF STONE AND LIGHT”, is a soulful work, spiritually charged with Page´s trademark layers of melodic atmosphere and emotive vocal performances.
Martin is one of the best songwriters around and a true gentleman, his new album “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE” is what melodic.net calls first class melodic pop / rock.
Let me present, Martin Page!
Hello Martin, how are you doing in Obama land, do people over there believe in a bright future?
Martin: There is most definitely a feeling of optimism in the country; a sense of dignity and respect seems to permeate the air at this time. Let us hope it continues.Your long awaited new album “In The Temple of the Muse” is fantastic, but why did it take 13 years for you to release another record?
Martin: I am a strong believer that until you have something of consequence to say – keep quiet. I feel no pressure or demand to release solo material just for the sake of it, which I think is a disease of the music industry in general. The songs on “In The Temple of The Muse” came to me over a long period of time, and I was lucky enough to have the time to give them the necessary attention and respect they demanded – to be sympathetic to the songs in order to develop them properly into a project I totally believed in.I can hear Sting and Peter Gabriel influences in your albums, are they musical heroes for you?
Martin: Both Peter Gabriel and Sting grew up, as I did, in England during a musical era that affected us all – the 60’s and 70’s. I believe we have many of the same influences – namely, the Beatles, Motown Soul, World Music and Folk. So, it’s not a stretch to hear similarities in our music, our style and our approach.

Not many songwriters can put up a list of such great hit songs like you, just to name a few for our readers:
King of wishful thinking – Go West, We built this city, It´s not enough & Good heart – Starship, These dreams – Heart, Magnetic – Earth Wind and Fire, Ghost in your heart – Bad English, Deal for life – John Waite etc.
Is your wall filled with platinum records?

Martin: Yes, I’m fortunate enough to have a few on my wall, and it certainly helps to view them now and again when I need to be reminded to strive harder for that special, unique song that communicates to a wide audience.

I have a tape with your first solo album “In The House of Stone and Light” on the a-side when it came out and Mark Williamson (from Manchester, England) “Time slipping by” (1994) on the b-side of the tape which I thought was a perfect combination. I listened a lot to both albums back then.
Have you heard that album?

Martin: I’m afraid I haven’t heard Mark Williamson’s album – but I must thank you for investing in my first solo album – you have good ears!!!

What do you think of the music climate of today where artists like Rihanna, Britney Spears and Coldplay rule the charts?
Martin: The digital revolution has greatly influenced the musical climate of today – both for good and bad. There is definitely a lack of interest today in the album-oriented artists, because single-song MP3’s are so readily available, and I think that is sad, as ultimately art suffers. On the good side, the digital revolution has taken the power out of the hands of the major “corporate” record companies and presented it to the individual, independent artist, and that is a very positive thing. The danger today is that we accept and become anesthetized by cheaper, quicker, unimaginative, soulless music that doesn’t rise to the standards of the past.

I have always wondered what your main instrument is, the piano?
Martin: My main instrument is bass guitar. I started my career as a bassist in funk and soul bands back in England in the late 70’s. When the revelation hit me that songs were more important than instrument prowess, I taught myself keyboards and guitar so that I could write songs and produce my own demos. I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, and I enjoy to dabble on as many instruments as I can get my hands on.

You have written quite a few songs with Bernie Taupin ( who´s known for his work with Elton John), have you ever met Sir.Elton John?
Martin: Yes, I have met Sir Elton John on numerous occasions. I was very privileged to work with him when I produced his vocals for Bernie Taupin’s solo album, “Tribe”. I’ve always been a huge fan of his, and he proved to be the consummate professional to work with.

You have written hits for popular Soundtracks like “Pretty woman” and “Days of thunder”, do you still get any offers on writing songs for soundtrack scores?
Martin: I do still receive offers to work on movie soundtracks. I find it a joy and a challenge to match music with visuals. I have always felt that somehow my music lends itself – and is emotionally suited – to visuals. I would ultimately like to do more work for movies in the future; it remains an ambition of mine.

Who is the most gifted artist you have written a song for/ or worked with? (I guess this one is difficult to answer but you can name more than one if you want)
Martin: This is a very difficult question for me to answer, as I have been extremely fortunate over the years to have worked and collaborated with a host of extremely talented writers and artists. But, I will mention a few who inspired me and expanded my musical horizons. Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire; Robbie Robertson of The Band; Peter Cox and Richard Drummie of Go West; Jack Hues of Wang Chung; Hal David; Paul Young, and of course, Bernie Taupin. I learned from all of these artists and their very different talents left a lasting impression on me.

Which 5 albums would you bring along to a deserted island?
Martin: Well, providing that the deserted island has electricity and a system on which to play these albums, these would be my top 5: Abbey Road – The Beatles; Selling England by The Pound – Genesis; Talking Book – Stevie Wonder; Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John; A Hard Days Night – The Beatles.

One last question, I think lots of your fans are wondering if you will make a 3rd solo album. Any plans?
Martin: I am actually, at this moment, finishing songs for my 3rd solo album. I have recently been in a prolific creative period. This new album that I am presently working on feels like a natural extension of my previous two solo works. I’m extremely excited about the new songs and the direction they’re taking. I hope to release it sometime next year.

24
Sep
08

9/24/2008 – Broken Stairway

Hey guys, I was just made aware of a video on Youtube of my song, “Broken Stairway“, from my first album, “IN THE HOUSE OF STONE & LIGHT”.  It features clips from the movie “Pride and Prejudice”.  I think Faeriebreath did a fine job!  Check it out … here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqulMlxgXqQ