Archive Page 2

27
Aug
14

8.27.2014 – Waiting to Be Born

It’s a curious thought – how many songs does a songwriter have inside him/her – waiting to come out – waiting to be born?

I’ve been fortunate – up to now; I’ve never suffered from “writer’s block”.  It does seem like such a terrifying debilitating disease, doesn’t it – the freezing of one’s creativity.  Horrible thought!

Of course, not having writer’s block doesn’t mean that everything you write will be wonderful – I can certainly attest to that, but just the simple fact of getting a song written and finished is, in itself, a massive accomplishment in my book.  The birth of a song is a rather miraculous deed in my mind.  How, out of thin air, can come/emerge this thing, this noise and organization of notes and harmony out of the ether, out of the void.  Pretty damn weird – this human need to express oneself in sound, melody, lyric … to formulate a piece known simply as a song … a communication of spirit, I suppose, an organized utterance – made for the ears!! … and for the soul.

For me – even at this rather mature stage of my career – I feel filled up, absolutely chock-full – even engorged to bursting point, with songs waiting to be given life.  My challenge has always been to finish the songs I’m on … rather than to let the next one spew forth.  A nice problem to have, you may say, but sometimes for me it causes a traffic-jam of songs waiting for their moment in the sun.  I can get lost in the barrage of ideas pushing to get out!  It requires diligence to stay focused on the songs at hand, and to hold back the deluge at the floodgates.

There is not a better feeling in the world than finishing, wrapping-up a song.  It’s like putting a frame on a picture or painting – suddenly the work is completed … DONE!!!  – Sewn up – locked down – ended – DONE!!!  Lovely feeling.  And only the author can really say when his or her work is done – that’s just the true law of creative work.  It’s a powerful motivating force to a songwriter to get out what he knows is fermenting, brewing inside him.  Will the next song be “the one”? an undeniable gem of excellence? the special tune for which the world has been waiting?  That’s largely what keeps us going … not knowing if the next “child” that is born of melody, rhythm and harmony is to be unique, built to last and inspire … to generate reverence and accolades.

It’s a wonderful task – the task of allowing your creative juices to flow.  But I do call it a task, because you have to constantly be working, striving, sympathetically building the architecture of a song.  Very, very, very rarely does a song appear that doesn’t require some measure of “mothering” or nurturing of sorts.

But again, how many songs do I have inside me – that I can get out before kicking the proverbial bucket?  It’s obviously un-measurable.  I’m satisfied to know and feel that there are a lot more songs inside me – straining, begging, for their liberation.

Cheers.

– Martin

“Without music life would be a mistake”

              – Friedrich Nietzche

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07
Jul
14

7.7.2014 – Changing Moods

Really, what extraordinary power music holds over us? All my life, I’ve swayed to the tides of

music. Music can change my brain – can re-organise my emotions – can reconfigure me! This

invisible force is mighty indeed. Making us happy, joyous, sad, pensive, thoughtful – moving us

with ease from one extreme to another … music has its finger firmly planted in our emotions.

It has the power to move our feet, make our eyes cry, make us laugh out loud and make us fall in

love. We take it for granted – music is always there for us – no big thing, it’s always been there

… like air, water, fire … just – it has always been there.

 

But no, this is nothing to take for granted – because it is spiritual and a highly mysterious science,

Elemental – even divine. It is difficult to explain music. How does it penetrate us, seep through

our skin? Our hearts will actually beat in time to the rhythm, our bodies will move to the pulse;

our souls will be moved/touched by the melody and harmony. We will want to sing with and to it –

fall into it, own it – claim it as our own. Indeed, what power she holds!

 

At certain moments in our lives, we choose what type of music we need that suits us:

We are grieving and sad, we need music for that; we are gay, joyous and celebrative, we need

music for that; we are meditative and thoughtful, we need music for THAT. Every aspect of our

lives NEEDS music. I do think it is soul medicine: The invisible elixir that lights us up, heals us,

motivates us, encourages us, offers hope, keeps us going against the odds …. At least it has

been that for me. It’s hard to imagine a day without music, isn’t it? I think it would be a terrible

punishment in life to be banished from all music – horrific thought!

 

We live each day with our emotions and moods – our mental health is so important for

our physical health too. Our brains process all and decide who we are, what we do. Here’s

where music becomes so critical; it’s a mood changer – it has a direct line to our brains, and then

to our hearts. Thus it makes sense to view music as “soul medicine”, for it has the power to

shape our moods, and what shapes our mood, shapes us – shapes who we really are – shapes

whom we become.

 

Let’s not take it for granted … music is a pill for the spirit. Search out good music, and let

it be “the pilot of your soul”.

Cheers,

– Martin

 

“I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of

music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life

seems to go on without effort, when I’m filled with music”

– George Eliot

 

“A person does not hear sound only through the ears; He hears sound through

every pore of his body, it permeates the entire being … In that way the physical

body recuperates and becomes changed with a new magnetism”

– Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

Photograph: Bobby Summerfield

Photograph: Bobby Summerfield

21
Apr
14

4.21.14 – Music in Nature

I often get a chance to retreat to local quiet gardens – open spaces untouched by human hand or technology.  I use these times to slow down, take stock – meditate.  And I’m always struck, when the sounds of the city eventually vanish, that I think I can hear a sort of music in these natural surroundings.  The wind in the trees, the bird song, the insects buzzing around, a pool of water rippling from a steady stream entering it, bushes rustling from squirrel activity – it’s all rather a symphony of natural improvisation to me.  If you close your eyes – focus solely with your ears – you can almost work out notes and scales being performed – hear the key of the countryside.  The low hum of a low note that grounds the always changing symphony of subtle close chords – a deep murmuring hush … then a fly buzzes by your right ear – a nut is being broken apart by a squirrel just behind your left ear.  It’s a surround-sound Avant-garde, ambient, experimental, improvisational piece that you’re listening to….  always changing, always interesting music of the spheres – spiritual.

Sitting in this nature, with eyes closed, allowing yourself to believe you are listening to a live concert, it really can become so.  We just have to set our brains to that frequency (the “radio of nature”).

I’ve held a long fascination with experimental ambient soundscapes and minimalistic, abstract music.  I’ve followed the work of artists such as Terry Riley, early Tangerine Dream, Eno, Cluster, Robert Fripp, Stockhausen, Sigur Ros, John Cage, David Sylvan, Steve Reich, Popol Vuh (band), and although electricity/synths/technology are involved, in many ways, I think this style of music gets close to the existential feelings we have in nature – and reflects the randomness, the vibrations, the profoundness of the natural world – the unknowable.  Even minimalist artists such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich somehow for me tap into an elemental truth of raw nature – its circular, ever-repeating, yet still random events.  For me, it’s those particular artists’ way of musically representing something elemental and deeply intense – humans’ response and reaction to nature & it’s terrible beauty – again, completely unknowable.  It’s Zen like, and of course, mathematical, as is nature; there’s a profound logic involved – a spiritual science.

If you get a chance, the next time you’re out in nature – away from the hubbub of the city, close your eyes; let your ears do the seeing.  It’s a real concert.

Cheers,

Martin

“Music is the pleasure the human soul experiences from counting

    without being aware that it’s counting”

– Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz – (Inventor of Calculus)

 

“The ear is the way”

                          – The Upanishads

 

“Can you hear the rushing of the river?  That is the way”

                  – Zen Buddhist saying

 

28
Feb
14

2.27.2014 – Why Not Love???

As a young, ego-fueled, pretentious, over-serious-minded songwriter/artist, I had decided that it was uncool to mention the word “love” in a song lyric … it was just downright uncool!  These days – still a songwriter, but somewhat more mature – I revel and delight in the idea of presenting “love”, in its many guises, in as many creative ways as I can within my art; it seems to be the most noble thing I can do.  After all, a little more of it is what we could all do with, isn’t it – Love.  But when you’re a super-cool young kid making tough, real, underground, important art – image is everything, and “love” is … soft.  I can’t quite believe that that was me, but it was. 

Funny really, how seriously I took such things – how little we perceive when we’re over-serious and self-righteous (and young).   I suppose it was part of my “right of passage” – a learning curve.  Yeah, let’s just call it that.

I admired the modern ironic, tough, skeptical lyricists that somehow spoke of love in ‘round about ways – skirting around the sentimental aspect of the subject.  I thought this was cool and I wanted to emulate it.  But, come on, The Beatles – “All You Need Is Love”!  There it is; let’s not hide the facts – nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of there.  STICK IT OUT THERE – OUT IN FRONT.  In fact, it’s rather brave and tough and real – actually rather cool – to speak of love, for in truth, it’s what we live for, strive for … and long for – even though we may not like to admit it sometimes.

As I loosened up over the years, love started to appear in my lyrics.  I tried not to fall into the “Hallmark Card” trap, become over-sentimental, but I did allow the word to poke its face in now and then – here and there.  And, low and behold – no loss of self-esteem!  Love breeds compassion, and that’s alright in my book.  So, let’s shout it from the rooftops – it’s a good thing.  If we can, we should spread the news whenever we can.  So my songs over the years have steadily allowed and incorporated love into its rightful place.

The word “love” (and its concept) is very often misinterpreted and frivolously overused, treated too lightly, without weight – its true significance banded around with carefree abandon.  It can be easily taken so many ways – its power can be lost in the translation.  We have become so used to using the word “love” for innumerable different reasons, that whenever I’m able to bring “love” into one of my songs, I try to show it some reverence and place it in a meaningful context if I can.

I don’t mean to beat the fun out of love by taking it all so seriously (as I did as a kid, banishing it altogether), but I do try to put it in a clear light – to be perceived for what it really is:  a very big “little” word, with big meaning and overtones… probably the most powerful word in our language.  For love is another word for “hope”, and that really is something we can’t exist without.

So, come on everybody – “All You Need Is Love”!  Sing it loud and sing it proud!

“All You Need Is Love”
-(by Lennon/McCartney)

 

“Everything You Do – do it for Love”
– (by Martin Page)

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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.

23
May
13

5/23/2013 – Photo Blog

Hi everybody!  Well, I haven’t done a blog for a long time, so I thought I’d share with you some recent photos and the stories behind them.

No.1 – Say hello to Bo and Peep!  Two wonderful paper mache “owls” that I bid for after Christmas time at the Anthropology shop at The Grove in L.A.  Anthropology opened bidding on these wonderful creatures (initially created for store displays by their infinitely clever creative department) after their Xmas decorations were set to be broken down to make way for new displays.  The money from the auction was to go to the Wildlife Rescue Fund and the fund set up for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.  I’m glad to say that I won the bid, and Bo and Peep will be featured hanging from the ceiling …. I mean FLYING in my new home-studio annex – “The Owl’s Nest”.  The photo features Bo and Peep in flight, “carrying” me and my manager, Diane Poncher, after claiming our new companions to take them to their new home!!

 

 

No.2 – This is the internet radio reunion of Q-Feel at an 80’s-based Audio Nowcast podcast.  Pictured are Brian Fairweather and myself and Diane Poncher (who also managed & looked-after Q-Feel during the 80’s).  It was wonderful for the three of us to be back together in the same room again.  Reliving some of those days on the podcast with Brian was a joy … we never stopped laughing!!

 

 

No.3 – Here I am with great friend Jack Hues (of Wang Chung fame), and yes, I think you can tell we had a damn good giggle together.  I think Jack is telling me to get more of a suntan!!  By the way, check out Wang Chung’s recent album, “TAZOR UP!”.

 

 

No.4 – It was a privilege to meet the iconic producer and engineer, Ken Scott (The Beatles, David Bowie) when we were both guests on Mike Rodriguez’s Audio Nowcast podcast.  Listening to his studio stories was both inspiring and motivating … and the man has a damn good English sense of humor – always a big plus in my book!

 

No.5 – Finally, here I am at the recent ASCAP Pop Awards with good friends Pete Leinheiser (of Gibson Guitars) and Ritch Esra (co-founder of the Music Registry series of directories – the music business “bible”).  I had a great time catching up with many special friends from the industry, and Paul Williams (legendary songwriter and current President of ASCAP) gave a rousing and poignant opening speech to start off the proceedings, advocating “the good fight” that needs to be fought and supported for the rights of all songwriters in this digital revolution of streaming, pirating and a general lack of reverence today for the songwriter’s art and rights.  A good evening was had by all.

 

In closing, I just want to thank you all for your constant support of my work and your encouragement.  You guys are part of my (musical) family, and you keep me focused on always trying to write, record and perform the best music I can.

 

See you soon.

 

Cheers!

– Martin

11
Nov
12

11/11/12 – ASCAP We Create Music Blog

Original link: http://www.ascap.com/Playback/2012/11/wecreatemusic/martin-page-on-a-temper-of-peace-and-writing-eternal-music.aspx

Transcript Below:

 

Martin Page

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!

Martin Page: <i>A Temper of Peace</i>

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.

********

A Temper of Peace is available at CD Baby and iTunes.

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.