10 Questions with ... John Martin
May 13, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1. Where are you from?
I was born in Stockholm, Sweden. I've lived there all my life; I still live there. I was there all the time until three years ago, when I started touring. Now I'm never really home Over the last year I've been spending a lot of time on the road in London and Los Angeles.
2. How old were you when you started singing?
I was about 16 or 17, I was a guitar player in a band. I was writing most of the songs we were performing. The singer we had decided to quit the day before a show. It was never my idea to become a singer, but I got convinced by the other members of the band to take the mic; once I did it I decided to continue with it because I really loved being on stage being in the center of everything.
3. How did you end up meeting Swedish House Mafia and recording "Don't You Worry Child"?
It goes back to 2010; I was working in Stockholm with my collaborator Michel Zitron. We were writing songs together; the third song we wrote together was "Don't You Worry Child." We felt very strong about the song; we played it for friends, and everyone asked "What are you going to do with the song?" So we made a dream list of who would produce the song and Swedish House Mafia was at the top of the list. At the time, they had their song, "One" out; it was big in Europe. We didn't know them and it was a long shot. About six months later, in December, Sebastian Ingrosso was working in one of the other rooms in our studio. We invited him to our room and we played him a couple of songs. One of them was "Don't You Worry Child" and he really liked that one; we started talking about a collaboration. The first thing we did together was "Save The Word" that Michel and I co-wrote. A little while later we worked on "Reload" with Sebastian, which was actually done before "Don't You Worry Child" was released.
4. Prior to your work with Swedish House Mafia, you worked with Avicii?
We co-wrote "Fade Into Darkness" with Avicii. There are a lot of people who believe I did the vocals on that one, but it's not really true. I did the vocals on the demo, but they decided I shouldn't be on the record, so they found another singer that sounded like me. I can still hear my voice on the record.
5. Your new single is "Anywhere For You." How did the song come about?
It was written in 2010, during our first longer stay in the U.S. Michel and I went out to Los Angeles and rented a house to write songs and be inspired. We were there for a couple of months and had a really good time, but then we had a couple of days where we really started to miss Sweden and our families and friends; it sort of became a song for them.
6. Aside from the new single, what can we expect from you in 2014?
A lot of shows and more songs to be released. I'm starting in Europe with a live band and I'm really excited to take the band out with me and do festivals and stuff like that.
7. You have worked with a number of iconic producers. Who would you like to work with who you haven't worked with yet?
At the moment I want to do something completely different -- not just in the electronica world. I just write song and then you end up in new situations with new people.
8) You are doing a lot of performing. Is there a favorite city you like to perform in?
I go back to perform in Brazil, that is an amazing country. The live shows I've done here in America have been very well received. Chicago has an audience that is really into it.
9) What is a typical day for you and do you have any spare time?
The last two months, a typical day has been waking up at a hotel somewhere, getting picked up by a driver to go do radio interviews and acoustic performances of "Anywhere For You." I do that all day, then go back to the hotel and maybe do a show for label people, have dinner, then go to bed to rest up to get ready for the next day. It is a lot of hard work. I recently spent four days back home in Sweden. That time is mostly about getting together with my family and friends and running some errands. I'm taking a few days off to spend some time where I'm just going to turn off the phone and lay on the beach with a book.
10) Do you remember where you were the first time you heard your song on the radio?
I remember where I was when I heard all of them. Most of the time I was in Sweden, and heard a song played on Swedish Radio. But it's also cool when you go to a different country and hear your music on radio. That gives you an idea that it's really happening. I still remember coming to L.A. in 2013 and the first song I heard on the radio in the rental car was "Don't You Worry Child" -- and then I switched stations and heard it on another channel. It's an amazing feeling!
One must have item when traveling on the road?
My noise-canceling headphones, I'm addicted to them. Sometimes when I come back from tour, I go to sleep with them on. I walk around with them on. Sometimes I don't even have music playing. It's a great way to shut everything off.
Is there a favorite restaurant that you recommend?
In Chicago, I like Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House, that was the first place I went to when I was in Chicago a few years ago for the first time and so I had to go there.
In Sweden there are so many restaurants. I'm a Tapas guy, but you should try a Swedish place. It depends where you are in Stockholm; there is Seafood Plateau or Prinsen, which translated is The Prince.
Is there a favorite all-time song that you listen?
That's a hard tough question ... Kate Bush "Running Up That Hill" is one I come back to all the time.