Charlotte Martin

August 10, 2004

Tell me about yourself and some of your interests.

I'm interested in red wine, I'm interested in a really beautiful bottle of Pinot Noir that's sitting in my dressing area right now. It is there and I am not there. I'm about to get real interested in about 10 minutes. I'm interested in Chick-Fil-A. I've been trying to find a Chick-Fil-A near this venue for the last two hours. I just can't bear to put my tour manager on it. I need some waffle fries. I'm into food. I'm into movies but not all sorts of movies. I'm into this movie, May. It's a horror movie. I haven't really had time to watch it on the tour yet but it's here waiting. I'm kind of into making friends. I'm making really good friends with this girl I'm touring with. Her name is Katy Rose and we share a bus and we sleep next to each other. She eats Jello and I eat peanut butter. She does eat sugar free Jello. I don't eat sugar free peanut butter though but it is natural. It's the same thing. My interests change depending on what town I'm in. I haven't had a whole lot of time to listen to music which is unfortunate but I'm getting back into Bach and my iPod. I get obsessed about things very quickly and I only talk about them. My obsession will change in about a week. I'll be talking about Chick-Fil-A for a while. There is some interesting things about myself. I'm obsessive-compulsive, worried about stupid things, and like salt and grease. Perfect female concoction.

Who were some of your main musical influences?

There's this composer, Benjamin Britten. He's a 20th century composer. Wrote a lot of choral cantatas, oratorios, and several really beautiful operas. There was one piece on my record that is hugely inspired by him. It's called "Rejoice In The Lamb" and it's for I think six part voice and organ. Four part or six part. I believe it's six part but I sang it in college and a couple of years ago I stumbled across a recording of it and got really into the cantatas. The vocals, counter structures on it, and how the vocals moved. It's very mathematical but it's very beautiful. On my record, mainly the background vocals are just about as important as the vocals. That's how I mixed it and how I recorded it. A lot of songs were written with background vocals in mind so that composer and that piece is a big, big influence on my music. In my world when I went to school, composers literally took stuff from other composers as a head nod.

I've noticed in some people's music, sometimes their background vocals tend to drown out them out. It sounds kind of strange.

You have to musically be able to put them in a place where it works. If it doesn't work, you have to know where to put them in the mix. "Something Like A Hero", one of the last songs on the album, has 36 different vocal parts on that song. It was a real challenge trying to make them all sound like music. I was very adamant and I kept them all on there. It was really important to me. I'm a huge Bach fan. I'm a huge Rachmaninov fan. I'm a huge Beethoven fan. I like his hits. I love the 9th Symphony. As far as popular music goes, I'm a huge Kate Bush fan. I'm a huge Peter Gabriel fan. Tori Amos fan. They're pretty obvious. I head nod to people I look up to a lot. And most of the people I look up to are classically influenced. I don't hide that stuff. I'm a huge fan.

Your first EP was In Parentheses. I guess On Your Shore is your first full length. Tell us about some of the songs on On Your Shore.

I don't like to give too much inside as to what every song is about but I can give you a generalization on some of the topics. I feel like it'll ruin it for the listener because I want them to really have their own interpretation. Overall, the record is obviously about water. I think 10 out of the 13 tracks have some reference to water or drowning or rescue or lifeboats or tides or something. I'm obsessed with water. I have been since I was little.

There's a lot of imagery in water.

Yeah, I'm still writing a little bit about water. I'm writing a little more. The second record is a lot about weather which is interesting. It's really weird. I don't know why. The natural things in the environment really, really make me tick even though I'm on a bus right now with a lot of video games. I could probably live in the country and be very happy. As far as thematically, other than the water things, I write a little bit about views and depression. Generalization but more like looking at your depression. Being afraid to be a feminist. Feeling like a minority because I'm a woman. One of the songs is about a young girl who discovers she's pregnant. Another song is about anorexia. There are all sorts of topics. Not every song is about romantic relationships but there's a couple. There's definitely a couple. I write a lot about my viewpoints about topics but I try to make my points as imagery laden as possible and as poetic as possible so I know what I mean but I'd really like to leave a lot open to the listener.

It seems like being proud of being a woman is unpopular lately.

It's kind of a dirty word isn't it? Yeah, it really sucks. That's why there's about 10 women doing music. There's a lot but there's not many successful women. There's not many successful women on tour. I have a girlfriend out. One of my best friends is out on the road with me and basically checking it out and she's on the crew and runs my life out here. She's a woman and there's just not a lot of us. She's the only woman crew person on the entire tour.

I like the name of your tour. Chicks With Attitude. That's cool.

Yeah, that's the other reason I was super interested in this tour. All these women are very strong young women and they all have viewpoints. They all have very different personalities and we all get along very well. There's no weirdness. It's very supportive of women on tour. There are a lot of women in the audiences. I'm not afraid of the word feminism by the way.

If it weren't for feminists in the past, women wouldn't have all the opportunities they have today.

No and it's still a fight.

I was in the Air Force and saw a lot of sexism there. I've seen a lot of that all my life. I think it's a form of mental retardation.

Yeah, basically I'm a born again feminist. We're the people who have to make it not a dirty word. It really shouldn't be. It's a liberating word. I think women get pigeonholed so easily and stereotyped so much quicker than men and it really pisses me off.

Liberation seems to be a dirty word too.

Yeah. That's pretty much me in nutshell. In a girly nutshell.

That's a good kind of nutshell. How has the tour been going so far? I guess you guys started out in Chicago?

We started out in Chicago and it's going really well. There's always little bumpy things but we're ironing all the kinks out and everyone gets along very well. The music is obviously the most fun and the fans are awesome. It's going really, really good. There's always a little bit of nervousness about who's going to get along and who's not but everybody loves everyone so that helps.

You get all that ironed out in the beginning and then it makes the rest of the trip all right. You guys are ending up in Washington, D.C. in September.

We are. And that's the end. Then I'm probably going to go out in October again. I just don't know with who when I'm doing it. I will let everyone know. It will be on the website.

There's definitely some other stuff coming up then.

Oh yeah. The record is out today so this is the beginning of the beginning.

How is the CD doing so far?

I think it's doing pretty well. I think the pre-sells went really well and we're just marketing it grassroots. From the way it's being marketed, we're getting a really good response and we're getting good feedback. Good reviews. So that's good.

You're working on your second CD. That's going to be about weather.

Yeah, the general theme will be weather but it'll be a lot of metaphors pointing toward weather. Metaphorically to weather.

When do we get to hear that one?

Hopefully in a year. I'm going to start recording when I get back again because it's written.

You work fast.

I'm just hauling away. Trying to make a living.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Yeah, if I were you I would eat a Chick-Fil-A for me if you get a chance.

I will do that tomorrow. I will have waffle fries.

You are awesome. Thank you for a great interview.

Charlotte Martin