AHEAD OF THE release of their latest album ‘Tides’, folk brothers Richie and Jamie Martin have been exploring music in a different sense. A recent video was recorded in the middle of a boat on a stunning, glacial Swiss lake. They gigged in a mountain hut at the end of a 7 hour trek. The album itself is about loss, and mental health, and then about starting again.
“I just have to go with this,” Richie said of the experience. “We’re lucky, we get to play sold out shows in Germany, in Switzerland. There’s a really different kind of connection with live music over there. I think they use it as a healing process, a time to reflect. That kind of suits what we do down to the ground.”
“The album is a soothing process,” he continues. “If you go back to the beginning of the whole journey since the last record, ‘Rhythm of Dawn’, it’s a conscious decision, what we write about is our personal experiences on this album. We did it in a veiled way on the first record. I don’t think we wanted to be as honest with the listener as we are now.”
“After the first record tour finished up, after two years, we had nothing else to write about. We got to a point where we were burning ourselves out. The artists we admired growing up always wrote about themselves. You have to have experiences. Jamie went traveling. I built a house and worked and had a kid, got married. That was all in a year or two. When we came back together again, there was a real fountain there of stuff for us to work on.”
“We never thought we could mask things, be fake, or write songs for the sake of it. I’m not even saying there’s something wrong with that, but it’s not us. I think music is about hearing what someone has to say, I don’t like the throwaway-ability factor of it. So we did it a little differently”
There’s no question that ‘Tides’ is that deep dive. The harmonies that helped the duo forge their distinct sound are still here, standing tall. The record’s also full of emotion, packed with feelings that are sometimes unexplored, but distinctly human.
There’s an edge of failure, and the doubts around it. There’s also pure euphoria, the sprouts of early love and a delicate but soaring backing that takes in strings and synths as well as the duo’s acoustic guitars. It’s a revolution, but a slow and carefully orchestrated one, with plenty of lines leading back to the pair’s musical roots. The music feels like it’s an integrated and deeply personal part of their lives, as opposed to a project existing on the periphery.
“Records still matter a lot to us,” Martin says. “We’re constantly told it’s not even worth making a record, but we write songs to fit an album. A record is supposed to take you on a journey, and that’s what our decision was, a conscious decision when we sat down writing. There was good and bad, heavy stuff dealing with the realities of where we’ve been for the last year or two, the pressures and the joys. This is just a reflection of all of that.”
“There was a point in my life where I could be walking down a road in the middle of a crowd of people, and feel lonely. I think a lot of people feel like that. It’s fine to feel bad.”