INTERVIEW: bug martin

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

Hey, greetings from Cape Cod –  been up here this week wringing my mind out from the usual day-to-day. All is well. 

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

Gladly! Bartenders are a cornerstone of the country music canon. That tune is all about the balance of power in a relationship with a stranger. See, I’m a listener by nature – people will tell you almost anything if they feel you’re paying attention. People continue to fascinate me.       

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

Not in particular, but you could say I have been method-acting the speaker of that song for years. 

How did your BIGMOUTH live session video come about?

They’re part of a collective of DIY artists in Philly I’m involved with. Great folks to work with who truthfully care deeply about music. 

“Hypocrites Rag” is a pretty venomous take down of dogmatic religion. Was this easy to articulate or were you hesitant about attacking the subject matter?

No trouble deciding to write it – I think everything should be talked about in earnest. I have a complex relationship with religion. I was raised with religion and it will always be in my head. If it’s a comfort to an individual to believe in something I don’t begrudge anyone that – it’s when it steps on other people’s toes that I take issue. The song shouldn’t be heard only as an attack on folks who’ve got religion, though. What are the virtues that the singer champions? Is it possible nowadays to not be a hypocrite to some degree? 

These tracks are off your new album GUTTERBALL – what’s the story behind the title?

The name, I think, sums up both the playfulness and the hapless quality of the songs at large. It’s about having fun playing the game even when you lose.  

How was the recording and writing process?

I wrote all the songs when I was still living in Baltimore and first recorded the tracks all as live takes on a cassette recorder I bought for five bucks at a thrift shop. I meditated on those demos a good long while before I decided to re-record it in higher fidelity. I’ve always been a DIY-minded person, so it was comfortable recording and performing everything on my own. Looking forward to pulling together a band to interpret the songs live with for sure.    

What role does Philly play in your music?

I just moved there in June, so I’m still feeling it out. I don’t quite see myself as much of a ‘city person’ but it’s easy enough to find breathing space and good folks just about anywhere. So far we’re getting along.

How did you go on balancing your Blues roots with the Americana elements on this record? Did you intend to focus or go strictly in one direction this time around?

I drew a great deal of influence from classic country albums as well as blues and roots music for GUTTERBALL, but I listen to practically anything I can get my hands on. I try to shake up the sound a bit on every record. In the middle of recording this one, I actually also recorded an album of ambient electronic music as a kind of a palate-cleanser. I’m interested in exploring sounds more than refining them.    

Any plans to hit the road?

Yeah, I’ll be riding the album up and down the east coast a bit with a few shows in parts of New Jersey, in Baltimore, and a few other spots. It’ll all be findable on social media as it evolves.   

What else is happening next in Bug Martin’s world?

Already working on the next album and some video projects, as it happens. I feel at my best when I’ve got something cooking. But as far as right now there’s a sunset over the bay I’m staying on and a stiff drink being poured with my name on it, so cheers till next time!    

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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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