MarthaGunn aren't about to sit in one lane.
As a group, these five musicians don't want to be tagged – that's why they'll move from audacious synth-funk to pristine pop to crunching indie all within the same song.
Debut album 'Something Good Will Happen' is out now, and it's a fantastically broad listen, maintaining their diverse creative span while distilling their melodic prowess down to something razor-sharp.
Available to buy or stream now, 'Something Good Will Happen' is the work of five people taking their chance and running with it.
Clash tracked down MarthaGunn to chat about their studio Influences.
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ABI: HAIM – 'Nights So Long'
The song that completely inspired our record and my writing was ‘Nights So Long’ from Haim’s second album. I remember being shown a video of them performing it at The Greek and being completely in awe.
The thing that I fell in love with first was them as people and then immediately after, I fell in love with every single song. I love their use of rhythm, their use of the LinnDrum and their inspiration from Prince. It made me rethink everything I had been doing. Instead of singing something straight I would try and chop it up and by doing so I often found it to be more memorable. I love the fact that they fully embraced writing pop songs but when it comes to live they are a rock band. Their albums reminded me to have fun whilst making music and once I’d realised how easy it was to have fun making music everything started to pour out.
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HUMPHREY: James Blake – 'Are You Even Real?'
James Blake’s music breathes life into me. I found ‘Are You Even Real?’ the day it came out, right before we headed off to Devon to start recording the album. It was a really unique and exciting time for us. There was a childlike naivety, everything felt new and pure. I associate this song with that time a lot, It was my soundtrack.
The way I approach anything is often quite chaotic – I let myself run wild until I burn out. It doesn’t always work out but it’s a part of me and I like it. ‘Are You Even Real?’ felt like a real head clearer. I could listen to it and everything would slow down; recalibrate. Songs can feel like safe places. For a moment you exist within them, like a daydream. I really love the minimal arrangements in James Blake’s music. There is always so much depth and space. The breathing room gave me room to breathe.
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FRANK: Men I Trust – 'Tailwhip'
I discovered Men I Trust in early 2020 just before lockdown, around this time we were aggressively writing toward the album.
There’s something understated about this song, it’s not overly complicated and I find the simplicity hypnotic, the groove is dreamy and I find myself getting lost in it. My approach to writing drum parts for the album was to have too many ideas going in so we’d have adequate material to find the right path with, and then simplifying down from there.
I think ‘Tailwhip’ is a good example of ultra condensation working really well, everything has a purpose and there’s no dead wood.
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MAX: Steely Dan – 'Josie'
Steely Dan have always inspired me to strive for the best I can be as a musician (although I know I will never come close to Donald Fagen, Walter Becker and the plethora of world class players). They bring subtle humour to a lot of their music whilst always being ceaselessly cool and ludicrously talented.
On the evening of the first night of recording ‘Something Good Will Happen’ I was cooking a lentil-based curry for the whole gang. I played the album, ‘Aja’ and it seemed an appropriate way to get myself into the mood. Though I wouldn’t say there is any obvious Steely Dan influence on the album, listening to ‘Aja’ that evening really set the tone for me; what can be achieved whilst in the studio and how to do best with what you bring to the musical table.
‘Josie’ will always remind me of being in the studio the night before we hit record; standing on the precipice, eager to step ahead.
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AL: Queen – 'One Vision'
‘A Kind Of Magic’ was one of the first albums I’d got my hands on from raiding my parents CDs as a child. I would play it on my first CD player when I got into bed and the extravagant intro always made me so excited.
It is such an audacious way to start an album and I loved it. I’ve always wanted to make music that could deliver that kind of anticipation and excitement. The way it goes from this epic synth introduction into a classic rock guitar riff, and having a great groove to it, was super cool to me. John Deacon naturally became an early influence on my bass playing, which really got me started.
I admired the way it was simple and did the job that it was there to do, without being flashy, and still maintained character and identity, which is something I tried to do in my playing on the album.
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'Something Good Will Happen' is out now.