Archive for the 'In the Temple of the Muse' 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

 

 

23
Jul
13

4/23/07 – Lend Me Your Ears

Hello everyone.  I hope you are all well.  Thank you for stopping in. Let me say up front, I really do appreciate your support – especially the loyal souls who have been with me over the many years; you have been very encouraging – more than you could ever imagine.

Well, what’s been happening …:   I was recently invited to the ASCAP Annual Pop Awards, and to participate in the ASCAP Songwriter’s Expo the same week, here in Los Angeles.  I was a panelist on a song-listening session at the Expo, where I and three other professionals in various areas of the music business, listened to songwriters’ demos and offered them advice and guidance.  I was amazed at how large an audience this particular panel attracted.  I was also involved in “one-on-one” mentor sessions with writers, which I thoroughly enjoyed because of the intimacy of the platform, and I heard some great stuff.  The two days I was at the conference were a pleasure; the enthusiasm I encountered was infectious.  While at both events, the ASCAP Pop Awards Show and the Expo, I met two writers I greatly admire – Jackson Browne and Jimmy Webb.  And, it was a thrill to learn that “These Dreams” is one of Jimmy’s favorite songs.  The ASCAP organization certainly provides a valuable service to the songwriting community; they’re doing an amazing job helping us all realize and understand that songwriting is a noble art form that must be cherished, and they’re continually fighting to protect copyright issues and challenges to our rights, in Washington, D.C.  After the two days spent at the conference, I can happily report that the songwriting community is very much alive and well and hungry to create, which is good for us all!

This last month has been full of more preparation for the release of the new album.  The CD artwork is being designed and an official website is being constructed as I write.  I am also in the pre-production stages of an Electric Press Kit, which is soon to be filmed.  This video will document the making of “In The Temple Of The Muse”, among other things, including the stories behind some of the new songs.  I’m looking forward to filming; it should be a fun project.

When I have been able to step away from the business, I have found myself in bookshops – my favourite place in all the world to be!  For me, there is nothing quite like rummaging through great literature.  I am at my most content surrounded by books.  My mother was the same – she must have passed the addiction on to me!  (I am grateful).  So, I thought I’d share with you three of the books that I am reading and enjoying at the moment:  Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan — a book about Big Questions; The Oracle by William J. Broad – a fascinating look at the mysteries of ancient Delphi; and The Miracle of Mindfulness by Tich Nhat Hanh – a wonderful little book written by an author of great vision and compassion.  Any work written by Tich Nhat Hanh will contain deep insights into the human condition – he is a special teacher.

Well, before I sign off, I want to thank those of you who posted questions and comments here on my Myspace page.  I love hearing what you’re up to, what you’re thinking about, and answering your queries.  To have your feedback brings me a little closer to you, and makes it all worth it…. So stay in touch.

— “The closer you stand to the light house, the darker it gets”

—- Japanese Proverb

Thanks for lending me your ears.  Until next time …

— Martin.

15
Dec
08

12/15/2008 – Holiday Greetings from Martin

I’d like to take a moment here to wish my “loyalists” a happy and healthy Holiday and New Year.  Also, I’d like to thank you all for your great support over the last twelve eventful months.  You helped make the release of my 2nd solo album a success on my independent label and a thoroughly rewarding venture and personal experience.  Your encouragement and enthusiasm has been inspirational.

Presently, I’m back in the studio writing songs for another album, largely due to your enthusiastic and motivational support.  So, again everyone, I wish you and your families a most wonderful Holiday Season.  See you in 2009.

-Martin

 

 

 

 

 

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.

07
May
08

5/7/2008 – Thank You to my Loyalists

I wanted to take the opportunity in this blog to thank all of you who purchased my new album, “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE,” upon its recent release.  You gave my “ship” a wonderful launch, enabling the CD – in its first week – to reach #2 in CD Baby’s independent artists Top Sellers list.  Its early success is made all the more rewarding, and even more personal, by the fact that this is my first release on my independent record label, IroningBoard Records.  So, I owe a great big THANK YOU to those of you whom I like to call “my loyalists”; your faith in my new music is extremely gratifying.

In the meantime, while rehearsing some of my songs recently, a performance of “Blessed” (which is Track #6 on the new CD) was taped.  “Blessed” is a simple song about the commitment that two people make to each other when they decide to spend the rest of their lives together within the union of marriage.  The video was shot in one take, without any edits, and we felt that it captured the song’s intimacy, so we decided to share it with you.  I hope you like it.

Also, a week ago, I was featured on Audionowcast’s 50th “birthday” podcast show.  It was a fun night and a great celebration.  I had the chance to talk about various songs on the new album – within a slightly different context from previous interviews I’ve done.  Mike Rodriguez, who hosted the show, presented me with some intriguing questions that focused more on the production, technical and musical inspiration behind the recording of “Temple”.  A great deal of my studio recording process involves “planned mistakes” and “controlled chaos”, so I found it refreshing to recall some of those behind-the-scenes moments.  Check out the link to the Podcast on my websites, and enjoy the interview and birthday party!

Before I sign off, I want to say once again, thanks guys, for your support of my new record.

Until next time ….

– Martin

25
Feb
08

2/25/2008 – A Question of Love

I was recently asked during an interview for my forthcoming album, if a universal theme ran through the new project.  I had to think for awhile, but right off the top of my head, I thought no … for it seemed to me that each song had its own individual identity.  However, after deeper consideration, I realized that love – yes “love,” that over-used, misused and grossly misinterpreted word, in all its guises – was the one theme that threaded its way through all the songs on “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE”.  From the opening track, “I Guess I Will” (about my love for being back in the studio writing again) to the last song, “Where The Sun Is Buried” (questioning the violent motives of the human heart), love – in its myriad of incarnations, be it obsessive, beautiful, addictive, healing, mythical, nurturing, altruistic, erotic, transcendent, passionate, companionate, unrequited, romantic, neurotic, spiritual, unconditional, inspiring, fleeting, eternal, nostalgic, compassionate, enigmatic and ultimately mysterious (we could go on forever here, couldn’t we) – shaped the feel and mood of the new work.

During the early years of my songwriting career, I tended to shy away from the topic of love, due mainly, I think, to my fear of being considered overly sentimental.  Ah, those heady days of youth when one must be perceived to be “cool” at all costs!  In the 80’s, I broke through as a songwriter in a band that I formed in London called Q-Feel.  Being part of a so-called new wave, high tech, high energy dance band required (even demanded) material to be of a more esoteric, abstract or surreal subject matter.  In fact, Q-Feel’s first three singles were about Doctors on the Radio, Astronauts “Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Be Bop)”, and 2nd World War fighter pilots being Heroes that Never Died.  Hardly the storylines to invoke visions of one staring longingly into one’s beloved’s eyes.  Alas, Q-Feel were never destined to be a ballad band.

Gradually, over the years, as I co-wrote with other artists and bands, my rebellion and prejudice regarding love songs somewhat diminished, and I could allow myself to be vulnerable to the odd romantic tune.  This, to say the least, was liberating and long overdue.  Moreover, as a result, I tapped into a deep, creative wellspring when I allowed my personal and intimate emotions to come to the surface.  I’d like to think that all of the songs on my new CD were born of this honesty and freedom.  Love, as we all know, is not a particularly unique notion when it comes to songwriting, but for me personally, it was a theme I felt compelled to follow.  In C.D.C. Reeves’ illuminating book, Love’s Confusions, he writes, “Love is a drama of disclosure, of revealing what is there.  It is also a drama of transformation, in which what is revealed is changed, and ourselves with it.”  And so it was for me, working on “In The Temple Of The Muse”.

I consider myself fortunate — one of the lucky ones to be able to express love in my art.  For, really, on reflection, that has been my goal and my ambition all along.  After all, it occurs to me that man’s creative struggle – his search for wisdom and truth – is, in itself, a love story.

“Love is the subtlest force in the world”

– Gandhi

Speak to you soon …

-Martin

P.S.  Check out the new album by Justin Currie (ex-Del Amitri) called “What Is Love For”.  It is an exceptional work of great song craft and sublime lyric writing.