STARFLYER 59
By Treble Bandoppler: Editor of bandoppler.com


Jason Martin
Tuff Skin, Ruff Hands, Soft Speech.

Treble: Your new album (Everybody Makes Mistakes) seems a lot more upbeat...

Jason: Yeah, just "trying to do less with more" kinda music, and not hiding between too many tracks. You know, I'm not saying that I won't do that again in the future, just, you know, this album was really stripped down - it sounds cool, though. When I listened to some of the records I've been listening to, I saw that they sounded cool, but there didnít have to be ten guitars and triple-layered vocals and all this stuff, you know? It kinda sounded just like a band, you know what I mean, so that's kinda what we were trying go for, just guitar, bass, and drums, and maybe a keyboard, and that's it.

Treble: Right on, yeah, I thought it came out well.

Jason: Oh, thanks.

Treble: Have you gotten much feedback on the album yet?

Jason: Yeah, so far it's been pretty cool, you know the little bit - it's only been out like two weeks, but there's been a couple reviews that Cloud flipped over to me that I thought were pretty nice. So, yeah, it seems like everythings rolling pretty good, so, we'll see.

Treble: Youíve been around for about six years or so...What do you think you íve accomplished in that time?

Jason: Nothing! [Laughter] No, I donít know...I'm trying to think, because anytime I say we've accomplished anything I sound like I'm conceited...I mean, I don't really know in a big standpoint, I think we've just got a small, solid fan-base...you know...whatever that means.

Treble: How about as far as musically, though, I mean...you know Iíve actually never heard Dance House Children, to be totally frank with you...

Jason: Thatís bad stuff anyway, so don't even worry about it...

Treble: But from what I've been told, both yours and Ronnieís (Jason's brother - Joy Electric) projects have been pretty stark contrasts from that, and I'm just wondering what led you into the type of music you play now, and how do you think that youíve developed, and what's been your muse in the last six years?

Jason: Just the whole songwriting craft I guess, I don't want to call it an art, but just getting better at songwriting, or listening to production - the way an album sounds...that stuff to me is really interesting...putting together a record, putting together songs...itís just what I like doing.

Treble: Do you have any plans to make any drastic changes musically?

Jason: I never know. With every album we try to do something different. So, whatever tunes are going on in this next year when I'm writing songs will be on next year's album...I think our albums sound different, from album to album, but I can still tell that itís the same band all the way through them, because thereís a certain sound. But you know, just progressing...I don't know if it's "progressing," because you can talk to people who like the earlier stuff better...but just, I don't want to do the same thing twice.

Treble: When youíre writing a song or doing a show, what is the spiritual focus of your music?

Jason: Give glory to God, like we're supposed to do in all things. Whether we're a rock 'n' roll band, or driving a truck - like I do all day - just give glory to God. Which we all fail in, including me, all the time, but Ií ve always tried to hopefully maintain that, and not to think Iím cooler than somebody else, not just because Iím doing this stupid rock 'n' roll band - like it really means anything, it's just entertainment - and hopefully Iím glorifying God with what weíre doing.

Treble: So, you drive a truck?

Jason: Yeah, thatís what I do so I can eat every week, feed my wife and my baby, and stuff...

Treble: Like a semi?

Jason: No, like bobtails, not like fifty footers...just bobtails, local deliveries...

Treble: Oh, cool, yeah, I delivered bombs with bobtails when I was in the Air Force...

Jason: There you go man, we know the same routine.

Treble: I suppose you do forklifts too?

Jason: Oh, I can if I have to, but usually the guy at the dock I go to will be able to handle that, but if they don't I'll climb on there to get my freight off so I can get the heck out of there.

Treble: Word on the street is that youíre a true Manís-Man, even a tough guy, if you will, but your music is so sensitive, and quite emotional. Can you explain the dichotomy there?

Jason: You know...I don't really know, because I kind of know what you're saying...and I've said this in other interviews and stuff...I donít really consider myself an artist. I donít read poetry, or none of that. Not like Ií m opposed to it, although, sometimes...I am. [Laughter] I really don't know, I just like a certain kind of chord change...sometimes I feel like my music doesnít really fit my personality all that much. Itís a different side of me that I have, where I like writing these certain kinds of songs...but, my music to me is a really private thing. Like, I would never show people my songs, I never sit around with my friends and show them my songs. Itís like Iím embarrassed about it, you know, itís just this weird thing where we happen to put out records, and if people hear them thatís fine, but itís just something thatís always kind of embarrassed me. Itís not like I walk up to people and say, "Oh, Iím in a band, hereís my tape." Iíve never done that. I mean, people that I see every day donít even know that I'm in a band. But, it's weird, because I'll be having conversations like this, or we'll go on tour, and Iím always recording songs, or whatever, but itís just not something that I talk about. I just feel dumb talking about it, and I donít like playing people my stuff, and all that kind of stuff...Itís just kind of a weird thing. And it's a strange question that you ask, because it's never been asked before...

Treble: Well, Iím not trying to get too personal...

Jason: Oh, that's OK man, I don't care.

Treble: I guess I just wonder, because, to be honest, your music is incredibly huge with critics - a lot of critics, and usually the thing they point out is the artistry of it. Yet, you seem to stay away from words like that...

Jason: I donít like it...at all. Because itís too easy of a word that everbody says, you know. And it's like, if everyone says it, it can't be true. So, Iíll be the first to say that Iím not, 'cause I know me. My music to me is something that I love doing, but like I said, it's a weird thing...I donít go around telling everybody I meet, "Oh, Iím in a band, listen to my music." So, the whole idea of it...I just like keeping it separate.

Treble: That's kind of funny, since playing a show is such a public thing.

Jason: I know, 'cause, see, if you really knew my personality, that's the thing I always think about...It's like, it's crazy that Iím even doing this...itís not my personality to play shows, or do any of that stuff, but I like writing songs. Itís something I like to do, and thereís other stuff that goes with it...you know?

Treble: I kind of noticed a similar thing with Ronnie. Heís really laid back in normal conversation, but then he goes on stage and has this really wild stage persona, I suppose you'd call it...

Jason: Yeah, I dont have that at all, but he does. [Laughter]

Treble: Oh, ok, that was kind of what I was going to ask, like, do you feel that when you go on stage that you take on a different persona?

Jason: No...I mean, on stage I really donít do much. I guess, to me, the whole Starflyer thing is just a weird thing - how it happened and why - 'cause I know me, and the idea that we put out records, and people actually buy them, to me, is still baffling...And the fact that they'll show up to a show is just...I just think the whole idea is really strange, and it's really not my personality, but I enjoy writing songs...

Treble: And a LOT of songs, Jason, and a LOT of records.

Jason: Yeah...

Treble: OK, fair enough, letís talk about the industry...What do you feel is your role in the industry as a whole...I mean, it seems like, from what we've been talking about, that you don't really pay too much mind to it, but yet...

Jason: Oh, I'm into music a lot, and I probably didn't explain any of that right, but, basically, what I am trying to say is that I'm not a performer.

Treble: Ok, well, what do you see as your role then?

Jason: Just trying to be legitimate, and just records that if people wanted to show their friends, they don't have to be embarrassed to play them, you know what I mean? Just trying to put out good records. 'Cause Iím really critical of a lot of rock and roll, and I'm not saying...but I really try hard to make sure, like, if I got this record, and it wasn't like me, or whatever, if I was just to hear this band, would I like it? You know, so there's this weird criteria when I start writing songs for the new record...Basically, I donít want to be the Christian version of whatever band, so we've just tried to put out records that are as good as we possibly can. Whatever, hit or miss, we've tried.

Treble: Do you think that concept is catching on? Are people becoming more concerned with legitimacy?

Jason: Itís hard to say. The thing about Christian music is that sometimes I think itís too easy to get a record deal. Like, if you sound like this band, and the kids kind of like it right now, youíre gonna do a record within three months. And I understand the reasons for it, because my parents didnít want us listening to secular music, and I wish there could have been more "Christian rock" when I was twelve years old. So, I understand the reason, because parents donít want their kids listening to bad stuff, but from a musical standpoint, or a bandís standpoint, I just think there are a lot of bands that shouldnít even be putting out records, because it's just pointless. Theyíre just bad covers of popular bands. It's lyrics...thereís just nothing to it. Any four guys can sit together in a basement for a month figuring out a bass part and a guitar part to an Offspring song, and put Christian lyrics to it, and within another month they have a record deal - itís just kind of dumb. But I don't want to be a basher, lots of times itís just kids doing it, fifteen, sixteen, and theyíll probably get better, and I donít want to bash everyone...I donít want to sound like Iím on a high horse...You probably shouldn't print that...

Treble: No, don't worry about it. It's true, and it needs to be said more, and when I interviewed Jeff Cloud he said some stuff about ten times more soapboxy than you've said, so, you know...

Jason: No, I totally know where you're coming from, but my brother kinda did that about six years ago in a record, you know, kinda like what you're trying to do, what you're trying to say, and it didn't come across too good. So, I've always tried to shy away from my true feelings, because I just don't want to come across cocky, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I mean, let's say that there are four kids practicing their own versions of Offspring songs in their basement in Kentucky...you know, I don't want to stomp on their parade...[Laughter]...But I don't know, man, what the heck?

Treble: Yeah, I understand, but I don't think anyone could possibly take you as being cocky or mean-spirited for telling it like it is, especially the way you're saying it. Last question, can you tell me about some of the songs on your new album that mean a lot to you, or that you think would mean a lot to other people?

Jason: It's hard to say, because everytime I write a song it kinda means a lot to me, but itís kind of like me talking to me, telling myself the truth that I know, but act like I donít know...Like in the song, "No New Kinda Story," itís just talking about trying to live a Christ-like life, you know, "This isn't no new kinda story." All my lyrics are just as simple as they could ever get. Thatís why I always say Iím not artsy, because Iím really not trying to have these deep meanings that would take a rocket scientist to figure out. Itís really basic points of what I'm going through at that minute, or maybe other people can relate to it too. Iím not trying to be tricky or anything like that.


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