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Rebecca Martin: Paradox Of Continuity

By Published: December 25, 2006

AAJ: Not locking down a specific meaning or really literal thing in the writing for me is usually positive. It gives the listener more doors to enter. They can think what they want. It can mean something different to a lot of different people.

RM: To me that's really important because if I'm going to be a songwriter then my goal is to allow the meaning to go out so you can interpret it. I don't want to tell you about my day or my plane ride to the gig. I have nothing to say in that way that is of interest to anybody. I really want people to have an intimate experience that's unique for the people who are interested. Not everybody gets what I do at all; at least not yet anyway. It's not meant for everyone. But the goal is allow the meaning to go out so that you can get something from it.

AAJ: Well it's definitely not for everybody. This may sound a little rude but I think a lot of people may want to be lead by the hand, in terms of experiencing art like film, books, or music. It's not easy, for maybe even most people, to try to invest some real energy from themselves into what they're listening to or watching.

RM: But in general, and again I don't know if this is totally true, but my feeling is that if people think that way then having structure and control is how people feel comforted. If you have to get out of that comfort zone, for instance, if you have to go out and start really seeing what's happening outside of your own existence, start feeling the suffering and the unbelievable things that are going on in the world, you could really lose your mind. So I think in order to survive people keep to themselves very much within themselves. I understand that.

But eventually, that doesn't save you. That doesn't protect you from dying. Inevitably, you're going to die and you're going to experience death. So no matter what you create to keep yourself safe from it, or from seeing it, or from any sort of thing that you deem as difficult, you face it someday. So to try to cut it out of you doesn't seem to be the goal really. To incorporate everything, all of it: all your fear, letting go, having trust, and enjoying the things that you have and are faced with and are learning. I really think that your life can be incredibly fulfilled and happy if that's what you're looking for.

And again, happy is another thing, or sadness like I said earlier, you've got to be careful of these words because they represent things that are very strong. As soon as you hear something's happy then that's the way you experience it. As soon as you hear something's sad then that's the way you experience it. So you've got to be careful so that people can experience things in their own way.

There are certain Joni Mitchell records that I haven't been able to get with. Then a few years later I put them back on and just in that moment it was the right time and that music just penetrated and moved me and changed a certain way of thinking as a writer, as a fan, as a singer. Whatever the case is. So not everything that's created [comes at you at the right time]. Things can come around. You could be more ready to talk about dying, for example, or real things, at another time in your life. I like to think that if people are in the mode of control, then that's where they are now. And everybody has a level of that kind of need to control. Even the most evolved people I'm sure are dealing with that issue. So you can be Buddha and I'm sure you're dealing with a certain control thing at some point in your development.

AAJ: So, about your new songs and your next record. Do you know who else is going to be playing on it?

RM: This new record is going to be really creative and fun. Larry will [playing]. I don't know who the drummer will be yet.

AAJ: Will Peter Rende be playing? I read that you feel he's pretty integral to the stuff you've been doing.

RM: He is. He's similar to my co-producer to me in terms of how he approaches the music and creates a beautiful vibe around the songs. But I'm not sure. Right now I'm in the process of finding a deal and deciding which label to go to and getting that stuff ironed out. We're not going to record this until May. We'll probably start talking about that stuff concretely in February. Right now I'm just getting the business shit out of the way.

AAJ: I'm looking forward to your next record. I don't think I have any other records with Peter Rende on them. I hadn't heard of him before, but on Ballads his sound is great. He creates a really warm vibe. It's kind of like the vibe on Middlehope, warm and big. He uses a lot of different instruments too, like that pump organ. Very creative instrumentation.

RM: We did a similar thing that I'm going to do with [my friends] for my next record, which is [they] came up to my house and stayed with me for a week. We set up the living room with instruments: slide guitar, pump organ, piano, and everything you can imagine. It was mic'd pretty poorly and just threw everything up then took all the basic tracks and just pulled more music out. Pete is instrumental in that. To me that last record is only as good as the musicians on it.

I think a record is only as good as the sum of its parts. I've been so lucky. I've got great musicians and great engineers. It's forever. You've got to do that. You've got to go in there and do it. I'm proud of these records, even my early ones, because of the players and the choices we made. I'm proud of every one of them. I've no regrets on any of the records and the amount of time I had to do them in.

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