All That Remains

An Interview with guitarist Mike Martin
by Aaron Manogue
November 2010

All That Remains

All That Remains

Maximum Ink: Can you tell me a little bit about your new album For We Are Many?
Mike Martin:Yeah, everybody’s pretty psyched about it. I think everyone feels it’s the best balance of what we’ve done as a band. We spent more time on this one compared to the last one so I think everyone’s pretty psyched about how it came out. Last time felt a little rushed when we did the Overcome album.  This time everyone’s a little happier that we got time to go through things with a fine-toothed comb, you know?

MI: Was there a message or statement you were trying to make with this album?
MM: Well, it’s just the same for us every time which is to write the best record that we can. Everybody’s always talking about, “Oh, there’s too much singing here. There’s not enough screaming here…blah, blah, blah.” There’s never been a conscious effort on any album to have more singing or less singing; or more screaming or less screaming. It’s just whatever the music has called for in the past that we think sounds good, we just put on the record. It’s always just make the best record you can. There’s no statement or like “Oh, we’re going to try to be heavier this time because people got mad about “Two Weeks.””

MI: To me, it sounded like your guys were kind of experimenting a little with new sounds and techniques like the talk-box in “Won’t Go Quietly” or the acoustic work on “The Waiting One.” Can you tell me a little bit about that?
MM: Well, we’ve done acoustic stuff on every record so that’s not a different thing for us. But the talk-box thing was definitely experimenting. My best friend at home bought me one of those for my birthday, because I’ve always been into a lot of classic rock. It was the weirdest thing I ever got and I was like, “Holy crap, you got me a talk-box. I’m going to try and squeeze this in to the new record somehow!” I didn’t think there was going to be a spot for it but we were talking about it one day and Oli (Herbert, guitarist) was just like, “You know, there’s this outro section if you just want to rip on it.” And I was just like “Alright. Cool!” A lot of people have mentioned that already, which I think is really cool. They’re like, “Dude, what’s up with the Bon Jovi song? That’s awesome!” I think it’s pretty cool that we got to squeeze it on there. I didn’t think it would make it on there. That was definitely brand new. Even Adam (Dutkiewicz) our producer, was like “I’ve never even recorded one of these things. I don’t even know how to do it.”

MI: So it was kind of new to the whole camp basically? Everybody’s getting a taste of the talk-box?
MM: Yeah, it was fun. We just got drunk and did it. It was great!

MI:That’s usually how the most genius things are born. Just have a few beers and see what happens!
MM: Yeah, you’re more relaxed. The ideas come flowing out.

MI: What was it like when you guys finally found out that the new album was on the Billboard Top 10?
MM: That was really, really cool. I know it’s cool when you’re an underground band to be like, “Oh, that doesn’t matter. Who cares? We don’t do it for that.” But it doesn’t suck when it debuts in the Top 10 in America right next to Eminem and Linkin Park and all these huge bands. You can’t get mad about that so we definitely thought that was really cool.

MI: Especially for metal bands because metal never seems to be up there with Eminem or bigger bands, so for you guys to put all that work into it, its got to be a big pat on the back to say “Hell yeah! We did it!”
MM: Yeah, there’s only a handful of metal bands that you’ll see up there on the Billboard charts with all those other pop bands. If you break it down to hard rock albums, it was the number one rock album. Nothing wrong with that, man. Can’t complain. It was a long process, it was the longest we’ve ever taken so it was really cool to see all the work pay off.

MI: What is it that drives you and your band to continuously improve as musicians individually and as a band as a whole?
MM: It’s always been a natural thing for us to want to put out a new album. When we first put out Overcome, it was the first time we had a couple songs of all singing, so obviously people freaked out and said we were selling out; it was the end of the world. Ever since The Fall of Ideals, we’ve had so many people, and even when Overcome came out, saying, “Oh, why don’t you put out The Fall of Ideals again?” And I’m always like, “ Dude, because we already put it out and we want to put out something new.” If you love that record so much, go listen to it. I’m glad you like it so much. We’re not going to write the same exact record because people liked it. That’s what makes bands go away because people will then go, “Oh, it sounds exactly the same as the last one. I don’t like it. I’m bored now.”

MI: It’s just you have to avoid painting yourself into a corner. Keep your same sound but each record, bring something new to the table. For you guys it’s the same in-your-face, kick you ass kind of thing but at the same time you bring new things to the table.
MM: That’s what makes you stick around longer. We’re not one of those bands that we play for a couple of years and then we just faded into whatever; we wouldn’t just go away. We’ve been a band for ten years and this is our fifth album so you got to do something to keep yourself relevant for that long period of time. People don’t have attention spans anymore so to stick around that long is not so easy anymore.

MI: You guys are currently on tour promoting For We Are Many. What’s your favorite part of being on the road?
MM: It’s the show, man. Besides the hourly playing, a lot of it just sucks. You get up there and play for an hour and that’s when it’s really good. That’s great. That’s why I do it. We’re not a rage and party band. It’s not really like that anymore for any band like it was in the ‘80’s, you know? Which is unfortunate! There’s not a bunch of girls backstage with a bunch of drugs. Which, again, I think is kind of unfortunate. I grew up watching Motley Crue and Guns n’ Roses, so I wanted it to be like that.

MI: Are you a big Slash fan then?
MM: Slash is like Jesus to me. He’s the all-time icon on a guitar. We’re going to Australia in February to do Soundwave and he’s on it. I’m psyched! I’ll try not to seem like too much of a psycho but I’m definitely going to go after him!

MI: Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
MM: Thanks for sticking around for so long. None of us want to go work at Subway. We’re so glad the fans have stuck around and kept us relevant for so long. We’ve had a lifetime of experiences in the last like six years and we want to keep it going as long as possible.

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CD: For We Are Many Record Label: Razor & Tie
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