INTERVIEW: Martyn Heyne

Hi Martyn, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Excellent, thank you very much. Just recovering from the release party for Shady & Light here in Berlin. It was a good one!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Monoment”?

Yes! Can I encourage everyone to go to and listen to it first though?

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

It seems more like all events and then some external cues. One of the reasons I make instrumental music in my solo work is that I find it has the capacity to speak to us about realities that words and other art forms cannot. There is kind of a musical truth that we can relate to even though it is completely abstract and not related to anything we would consider real-world. Listening to music, I realise things about myself that no other experiences touch on.

How was the film experience?

The video to Monoment is actually a live performance shot at the Volksbühne in Berlin. I was opening for the great A Winged Victory For The Sullen. The wonderfully moody scenography is from Stuart Bailes, a good friend from my Efterklang days.

The single comes off your new album Shady & Light – what’s the story behind the title?

It means shady as in dodgy or questionable and light as in the opposite of serious.

Thus: Dubious entertainment.

How was the recording and writing process?

In the recording I operate the drum machine in between playing the guitar, as can be seen in the video. I need to be able to change the arrangement and details on the go in a live performance, otherwise, if I’d always play it the same, I wouldn’t be able to get into the music. I need improvisational parts to better immerse myself into a performance. That same approach is also my writing process. The pieces develop from an initial idea over a period of time and may undergo drastic changes until I find a path through the music that feels right.

Known for working with other acts – do you tend to take a different approach when you are working with someone else than when you are writing for your own musical project?

I only have one musical mind. But when I work for someone else’s project I focus on facilitating their ideas.

What role does Boards of Canada and Portishead plays in your music?

I am a big fan of both, especially sonically, but I don’t subscribe to the idea that music comes from music. I would encourage everyone to listen to my music, any music, without any preconception as to what it will be like. Because if you have such expectations, you only listen to confirm them. In that mind-set it’s unlikely that you will discover things that you did not expect – But those are the ones you might potentially get excited about! The reason young people are so good at embracing new things is their lack of expectation and therefore the ability to experience what’s there.

What emotions get to inspire the songs and lyrics on this material?

The lyrics on Shady & Light are strictly inspired by the desert and space.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! I love to play. To stay on top of my show plans, visit

It also looks like pop music is getting close to finally solving the riddle of the road. Let’s take a look:

The road is long

With many a winding turn

That leads us to

Who knows where             – Bob Russell

The long and winding road

That leads to your door      – Paul McCartney

You know the road            – Casper Clausen

The plot thickens!!

What else is happening next in Martyn Heyne’s world?

Oh, I’m just living in it!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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