We chat with Kate Martin
Having just made the move from Townsville to Melbourne, one might assume it would take Kate Martin a while to adjust – yet the young singer-songwriter is glowing, feeling inspired, and ready to continue her musical evolution.
With a population of 220,000, the community of Townsville boasts beautiful beaches, family vibes, and a tight knit music scene, but despite these pros, there were many reasons behind Martin’s relocation.
Her mother grew up in Melbourne, so she has personal history with the city, but the opportunity to network and develop her career was the clincher, “In terms of making friends and connections there is a world of opportunities down here as opposed to anywhere else.”
Martin has made the move with the backing of family, friends, and her long-time manager who has relocated with her, “we’ve been planning this move for a while,” says Martin.
“I was posed the idea by my booking agent around November last year and I jumped at it straight away because I knew I would end up in Melbourne. I’m finding my feet and gaining confidence quicker than I would have thought.”
The strong support system around Martin dates back to her music-loving parents, who encouraged her from an early age, “It was always in me because my parents are musical and I was bought up in a musical household – I was spoon fed all the right stuff,” she explains.
“When I told them I wanted to do music for the rest of my life they just said, ‘Go do it, we are behind you,’ so it was amazing to have that.”
As a little tyke, Martin tried her hand at violin, but like so many stumbled upon a tough song and gave it the flick. It wasn’t until she was able to execute choice over the instrument she wanted to play that she picked up a guitar, and her career took off.
She remembers: “By fluke I got this high profile support show supporting Hungry Kids Of Hungary and Little Birdy at 16… so I’m up there shaking in my boots, playing this acoustic guitar before these amazing bands.”
As luck would have it, Martin’s current manager was in the crowd and was taken with her talent.
While recording an EP, she approached the fellow Townsville local and was posed the idea of management, “I’ve had him on my side since the beginning of this journey. It’s really lovely and we’ve been manager/client for about four years now and he’s helped me with a lot.”
In 2010, Martin’s first album Synthetic Shoes, Leather Boots gathered much attention, “back then I was pretty naïve; I didn’t expect it to reach as many people as it did or for people to appreciate it in the way they did. People connected with it on a level I never thought anyone could and that was pretty mind blowing.”
With confidence and a growing fan base, Martin released her second album, Hand Me My Bow And Arrow, “That point in my life was very challenging. Eighteen months was very raw and writing music wasn’t a challenge – I just had songs coming out of my pores. That was a cool time for me creatively and I felt it was very healthy, healing and therapeutic. I had angst built up that I wanted to get out and I think I lent more towards a fuller sound where I could achieve more of an impact.”
Bree Tranter and Rohin Jones, of now defunct band The Middle East, were just two of the names who contributed. They were also from Townsville and growing up, Martin looked to them for inspiration as they were emerging. “When I got out of high school and grew up a little bit we ended up hanging out more,” she details.
“They moved to Sydney and I recorded both my albums there. They were always just a phone call away and lovely and generous with their time.”
Martin’s records show her development as a musician as she tackles new styles and this will only continue with her move to Melbourne, “I’m always trying to evolve my sound with every song that I write. I appreciate what I’ve done in the past but I want to move on – even if it’s subtle. A lot of my stuff is melodic and I’ve started using guitar and vocal looping pedals, trying to enlarge my sound and make it as big as I possibly can just on my own.”
Many of Martin’s tracks are reflective, but the transition to Melbourne may make for some jubilant themes on her next record, “I write easily when there are emotional things tugging at my heart, but I wrote a really triumphant song the other day.”
“It was the first song I’ve written that I’m happy with in ages,” she asserts, “I’ve had a long dry spell and it’s been challenging, so I started writing a song that was really joyful, which is uncommon for me.”
Fans can expect a lot from Martin in the next six months but she won’t be following any strict deadlines, “At this point in time I’ve definitely made a solid start on my next release, whether that’s an album or an EP. I just really want to get it right this time, so however long that takes – that’s how long it takes.”
The next exciting phase of shows begins with her November residency at Melbourne’s The Workers Club. Martin is pumped, “I’m pretty damn excited, I love the Workers Club and I really want to get this right. I want to nail it and feel good about it and with the changes to my set, the residency is my vague deadline and I want to have everything ready for it. We’ve got supports finalised and they’re great musicians so it should be really fun.”
Martin is not afraid to challenge herself musically. An upcoming collaboration with independent hip-hop artist Chance Waters, called Conjure Up A Fire, shows her versatility as a vocal artist.
She loved the experience, “I was pretty scared to collaborate with a hip hop artist but he’s really cool. He’s a perfectionist and a go-getter and it was a real privilege to work with him. I was really comfortable and we just smashed out some songs over cups of tea and I am really happy to release it.”
Also on the horizon to spread her musical wings is a special release of remixes from Hand Me My Bow And Arrow from different artists including One Above, Mind Tree, and Coach Bombay – due out soon.
“We collaborated with different artists and they’ve remixed their favourite songs from the album,” says Martin of the new release, “It’s really cool hearing what song connects with them the most and seeing what they make of that. They’re established with a very clear sense of musical direction so the fact they saw potential in a track to make their own – that speaks to me.”
Martin is charming, talented, and determined which, along with the move to Melbourne now complete, it now seems her time in the sun is just around the corner, “It feels really good to have stuff on my plate, I’ve come through the lull and working forwards… the move, and now I’m back into it and ready to go.”
‘Hand Me My Bow And Arrow’ is out now through Shock Records. Kate Martin begins her November residency at Melbourne’s The Workers Club on 6th November. Full dates and details here.