Interview with MARTINA EDOFF
Interview by Mark Dean
Okay, you’re coming to the UK very soon to play two dates. I just wondered why those dates didn’t include major towns in the UK, like London?
Martina Edoff: We’re just doing two gigs, that’s right, and that is only because we were invited by The Railway in Bolton to do a gig just before they close down. I’ve heard that they are supposed to close down that place.
Yes, it’s a sad sign of the times when live venues are increasingly having to close.
They wanted us to come before they do. It was fast, and usually you get a longer tour doing the whole country, and you are prepared months in advance. This time we just took this first, “Can you come here and do a gig before we close down?” Yes, of course we can do that, and then we found another place nearby. That’s why we didn’t do a whole tour, but next time hopefully we’ll have a little bit more plans to do a few more places.
I was actually surprised that you haven’t previously played the UK, given that you’ve been playing music for quite some time.
I wanted from the start to go to England, and I know that a lot of people have asked me to come. I am not in charge of everything myself. I have other people who decide for me. When I first said that I wanted to go, I couldn’t because other people had decisions about that. That’s why we couldn’t go. Now, I said to my manager, Robert, “I really want to go to England and do a tour this year.” We started with these two gigs, but then we have to come back.
The band members that you are actually bringing into the UK to play those shows with you, I am looking at the names here in front of me, and it’s a bit of a super group.
This time, yes it is. As I’m a solo artist, I have no regular band with me all of the time, I try to have but if one of them are occupied with other things to do I have to ask other musicians. So yes I have to pick people, and ask them if they want to go with me. I simply asked Jona Tee and Crash if they wanted to go with me this time. Jona and I were writing most of the songs on the album. I asked him if he wanted to go with me this time, and also Crash, the drummer from Heat. Then I have a guy on the bass, Nalle Pålsson. He’s also working with Therion and some other bands as well. Then I have Stefan Bergström on guitar, and he has a band from way back, called Skintrade.
These two guys in front use to go with me, Jona and Crash are going with me this time. They were with me in Argentina last year, but I’m still grateful that they want to go with me, because they all have lots to do by themselves, but I asked them and they wanted to go, so I’m happy.
How is the album Unity different from your previous solo album? It also just seems to be a short time between each album release for you.
Yeah, that’s right. Because the first album was quite a surprise for me. My friend Robert and I, we went to a school together. I wanted to get an education, because I had been singing as a freelancer for 25 years. Then I decided that I wanted to do something else, so I went back to school and I got an education to be a life coach. He was also in the same class as me.
We discussed several things, and he said to me that, “Why are you changing your career, and don’t continue to do what you really, really love to do?” “Well, I mean I’ve been struggling so many years, so I just have to give up,” I told him. Then he said, “Well, what would you say if I would sponsor you to do an album?” I was quite surprised of course, and then I wanted to release an album as quickly as I possibly could. I grabbed all the old songs that I had written during the years, all these old songs that I’d written. I put them on the first album, and I felt that, well, we released that album that it felt quite old for me, but it wasn’t for the audience. For me it felt very old, because they were songs written from the beginning of the 90’s and so on. I told him, “I really, really, really wish to do an album with fresh new written songs.” He said, “Let’s do that.” Then that’s when I contacted Tobias Lindell, the producer, and he helped me to connect with Jona Tee. That’s why it was nearly less than a year between these two albums.
You have experimented with several very different musical styles and genres over the years since you first started playing music. I was just wondering if there were any musical genres that you wouldn’t try or are you still open-minded regarding playing different musical genres and styles?
No, in my heart it has always been rock music. That’s for sure, and I’ve always told myself that if I’m going to do one thing in the future with myself, as a solo artist, it has to be rock music. Because that’s what I really live for. When you’re working as a freelancer, you have to do all kinds of genres [to pay the bills]. That’s why I’ve been asked to do all stuff that I really don’t maybe don’t like even, but that pays the bills. That’s why when I have the opportunity to do what I really love I do rock music, that’s for sure.
You’re a former member of the Poodles, who achieved huge success. Do you feel with your solo career you’re actually starting again at the bottom?
In a way. I was the one who came up with the idea, and the name of the group, but I was never a member in the group when they had their breakthrough. I was only there in the beginning when we were an unknown band. I have been struggling all my life to come up with ideas, and I’ve been doing so many things to just make a breakthrough. Since I’ve been struggling so many years, and I’ve done so many things to explore everything in the music business, to working in the studio, and working on the events, and working as a soloist in the band, everywhere. I found out that I have a lot of experience though. This is the place I am now as I should have been in my early 20’s.
You toured obviously quite regularly, and you’ve supported a variety of artists. Some, for example, Tarja and Epica, who I feel are a good fit stylistically for what you do musically. On the other hand, you’ve played with artists like the Winery Dogs who seem to me to be a complete opposite in musical style. How was your music and show received by the likes of a Winery Dogs audience who are totally different?
These are very different kinds of audiences, I agree. First time I was invited by Epica we had some help from a booking agency, and we were invited to go with them from the start on a North American tour. They couldn’t be on the tour, so we went anyway with the two other bands. That music that they played was far away from our music, I think. The audience that came was there for the other two bands, and we just tagged along, and they had to listen to us just before the other bands went onto the stage. Yes, very different audience, but they still liked my music, so it was surprisingly very positive reactions afterwards.
Then we went with the Winery Dogs, and I felt that they were a bit closer to this music, even though they are heroes. The audience there were like musician police. They are really, really listening to every detail, and they are really picky. Plus, they came to see the Winery Dogs who are their heroes, and we are just some band playing before them. Still people listened, and it’s just the difference of different kind of audiences. Because if you stand on this stage, and you scream, “Hello, how are you?” and nobody answers, doesn’t mean that they didn’t like it. They were just there to listen.
Did those guys help you with any career advice, or any sort of little tips?
No, not really. I think that they were just very, very nice people. Very humble, very nice people, and we always try to be invisible. We don’t want to be in their way, want to claim anything. We’re fast, we’re doing our show on time so we won’t disturb them. When they showed that they liked us we were very pleased.
You mentioned you had a couple of years break from music. During that time did you picked up any hobbies, or interests outside music?
As a musician I tend to live with the music 24 hours a day. You think about it, you create something, you go along and sing, and you write songs, and you do it anyway even though you don’t have anything to do with it. It’s just a lifestyle. On the other hand, I had my son, so it took a lot of my time. Just living a regular life, and then I decided that I wanted to become a life coach, so I was in for that for a while, but then I returned to the music. I think that I’m on the right track now.
Are you trying to balance the two careers, or are you just going with the music at the moment?
Music for the moment, because it takes all my time. Maybe someday I will take up the other career.
What have you planned next then in terms of album promotion after the two UK gigs?
I want to continue to come out and meet all the audiences. I would like to come back on a tour to England, and then I want to go to some places maybe in Europe, because people have been asking for me. We are just planning at the moment, but I will continue to do whatever I can to get out as soon as possible.
What about the big festivals, the likes of Sweden Rock, for example? You plan to play any of those?
No, because we have been asking these festivals so many times if we could come and play, but it’s really, really hard to get in there. Because the people who runs all these festivals want bands who are very well known because they want to sell tickets of course . I’m not famous enough to sell tickets, but we’re good enough to be there, but I have to take one little more step and see what I can do to make them more interested.
You released a video for “World Has Gone Mad.” I just wonder how you got this made, where was it made, and did you have fun creating that?
Yes, it was really, really fun actually. I wrote this song after I read something on the internet, and I thought maybe I could write a song about it, because I felt devastated, and I thought this world has gone mad. I wrote the lyrics, and I thought that if I should do a video on that, it has to be something to do with a straight jacket in a padded room, and I want the feeling of what I’m saying in the lyrics. We went out to Gothenburg with a couple of guys who made my previous video, “Before I Die.” I was there, it was really fun. I had to act out all the way, and I really enjoy doing videos to express all that I wanted to say. Yes, it was a really fun experience to do that one.
That about wraps it up for me. I’m actually planning to come along to the Bolton gig, so I’m really looking forward to that, and seeing the band, and hearing the songs live.
Yes, that will be wonderful.
I’ll come and say hi.
All right, please do that.
I will indeed. Thank you very much for taking the time.
Thank you, thank you so much.