Having released their debut EP Caught Up And Confused last year, Brighton’s MarthaGunn have received acclaim from the likes of The Independent and Radio X’s John Kennedy. Following recent single ‘Nowhere To Run’, they have now shared their latest offering ‘Honest‘. Confronting themes of fear and trauma, it oozes a soaring soulful splendour and celestial emotion-strewn power, showcasing MarthaGunn as definite ones to watch.
We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with front woman Abi to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums or songs that have shaped her as a musician, and in turn influenced MarthaGunn as a band. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch the homemade lyric video for ‘Honest’ at the end of this feature.
Mystery Jets – Serotonin
I was about 16 or 17 when this came out. Mystery Jets were the first band I truly understood. It was a real coming of age album for me, and I think whatever album you listen to around those years of your life tends to stick with you forever. It’s not necessarily something that would hit me in the same way now if hearing for the first time, but at that age it just captured so much of what I was feeling and it had just the right amount of angst. For me, this was the album that made me want to start a band. I loved the idea of singing and writing songs with mates and being in a gang together. It was also the reason why I used to make Max sing everything in harmony with me, as Blaine and Will used to sing a lot together.
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
In our first year as a band, we were playing in a pub and I remember this guy coming up to me afterwards and saying we reminded him of Fleetwood Mac. At the time I had no idea who they were. I asked Max and he was like “you know who they are, you know – ‘Dreams’, ‘Go Your Own Way’?”, but I genuinely had no idea. I went home and looked them up and from that day I had them on repeat for about two years solid. I didn’t listen to anything else and I watched every documentary under the sun. I love the fact this album has the song writing perspective of three people, there’s a lot to work with there. It was the main inspiration behind our song ‘Heaven’. Funnily enough, the song that inspired ‘Heaven’ was ‘Oh Daddy’. When I first wrote ‘Heaven’, it was at the speed of ‘Oh Daddy’, which if you know that song, is much slower than now.
Haim – Days Are Gone / Something To Tell You
I was going through a bit of a rough patch in my song writing, not knowing what the hell I was trying to make. Someone showed me a video of Haim ‘Night So Long at the Greek’, and I just thought it was amazing. From there I dived into every song and documentary I could. There’s a pattern here isn’t there? If I love something I become quite obsessive and I want to squeeze it dry of every drop of inspiration. These two albums for me made me realise I had been over complicating song writing and actually it was meant to be a fun process. Haim’s lyrics are simple and to the point (which is actually the hardest, most skilled thing to do). I really focussed on rhythms in drums and vocals after this and trying to make both as hooky as possible. I owe them a huge thank you for helping me to fall back in love with song writing.
Prince – ‘I Would Die For You’
This was one of those songs that I listened to on repeat for a whole year. Even now it still makes me feel the same. I think music is able to help us feel emotions we aren’t able to express. This song kills me every time I listen to it. To all those I’ve loved who have no idea, or don’t want to know, I guess this song is my way of communicating it without actually having to. The combination of the two Haim records and this song really lead me to experimenting more with rhythms in drums and vocals. This helped me find my voice for writing drum parts. You don’t need to play an instrument to write for the instrument. Haim and Prince also made me become obsessed with the Linn Drum, but I am yet to own one. It’s on the wish list.
Daft Punk – ‘One More Time’ / ‘RAM’
This isn’t so much of a direct influence but we are all obsessed with Daft Punk. Humph and Frank are probably the biggest fans in the band. Frank is always the DJ in our van on tour so they come everywhere with us. When I think of our band it is soundtracked by Daft Punk, up and down the autobahn. ‘One More Time’ as a song does something to me (and I’m sure many others), it instantly puts me in a good mood and gets me ready for a show. I’m slightly obsessed with a new bit of info I just discovered on this song about how it was sampled. I won’t bore you here but if interested, google it. I guess there is a dance element that us three in particular are interested in exploring and I’m sure at some point in the future there will be a dance track from us subconsciously influenced by the hours and years listening to Daft Punk.
Massive thanks to Abi for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Watch the poignant homemade lyric video for MarthaGunn’s new single ‘Honest’ below: