Q&A With Kevin Martin

By: Brent X Mendoza

Saturday, May 28 San Diego based solo artist Kevin Martin will truck his talents up the coast to The Sunset Strip, for an intimate performance at On The Rox.

Already a staple of his hometown music scene, Martin has been honored six times at the San Diego Music Awards for his work co-writing and performing with close friends Get Back Loretta.

Now attempting to break out on his own as a solo act, Martin is poised to stun the world with his hooky, yet original sense of “throwback piano pop.” Before heading out to the show tomorrow, get to know this artist on the brink…

Hailing from San Diego, a city known for its consistently warm and sunny weather conditions, do you find that the comfortable climate has an influence on your writing? Is the San Diego beach/ vacation vibe more conducive to writing pop songs?

Sometimes it actually works the opposite way. The weather here is so pristine and beautiful, that I find myself enjoying the sunshine or going on my own little adventures. I write the best at night in the studio with nobody around. I find solitude works the best for me to focus and really feel free. Sometimes I get distracted when people are around. On the other hand…. if I’m at a big party and everyone wants me to play, I’m usually more than willing to jump on the piano and start making stuff up. It’s all about the energy that surrounds me. I have a lot of really supportive friends around me that help keep me motivated to write more songs.

Seems like there are a lot of well known Kevin Martins in the world (the Candlebox front man, the NBA player for the Houston Rockets); ever experience any awkward identity mistakes? Ever think about changing your name?

Yes! I always get mistaken for the black point guard on the Houston Rockets. We look so similar and our name is the same. It’s a struggle I have to deal with every day. I was thinking of changing my name to Walter Dupree. I think it has a nice ring to it.

How would you compare the L.A. music scene to the San Diego music scene? Is it easier to get noticed, build a fan base outside of Los Angles?

It is a little easier because it is such a smaller market and I’ve been playing in bands in San Diego for years, so I know all the good places to play. But on the other hand, a lot of bands get stuck in San Diego and never branch out in to L.A. or surrounding areas. Ultimately, I need to get noticed in a larger market like L.A. to really break out, so I always keep that in mind.

There is a great community of fans in San Diego; but I feel like there is a huge group of people I haven’t connected with yet in L.A. I also live an hour north of San Diego so I’m a lot closer to L.A. that most other people, giving me a great opportunity to tap both markets. It really is great to see some of my San Diego friends play The Roxy like: The Silent Comedy and Endoxi. I’ve known them a long time and they are all great guys.

You’ve written/performed as part of a traditional rock band in the past. Why go it alone as a solo artist? Do you think your “throwback pop” style is more or less conducive to finding success?

I take all the knowledge and experience I’ve learned in the past and keep rolling into the future. Everything I’m doing now is better than what I’ve done before; I’m more mature. I have surrounded myself with the right people and I’m getting a really great response from people. It was a very difficult road to get here and sometimes I think the struggle IS the blessing. So I take everything with a grain of salt and keep moving forward. Nothing is ever the end of the world. You can always make something new and fresh; which is where I’m at now. I’m finally showing people who I am.

Any good Tijuana adventure stories?

I was never the T.J. party guy. But I have traveled the world a bit, and have partied in Amsterdam, which is one of the most insane places in the world.

My band and I went to see a Sex Show in the Red Light district. Curious and unsure what to expect we just roll right in. People were just having sex on stage. We were just trippin’ out thinking to ourselves, “What the hell are we doing here?” Five minutes into the show, one of the girls on stage called up a volunteer. We all nominated my drummer Josh and he was quickly escorted to the stage. He was then blindfolded and laid on the ground. The “nice dancer lady” put a dildo in his mouth, still blind folded, and proceeded to screw the dildo. Then she un-blindfolded him, and everybody laughed. He was thoroughly traumatized, and we left shortly after. I’ll never forget that!


Kevin Martin plays On The Rox tomorrow night (Saturday, May 28) at 8 p.m. Tickets are only $5.