If hazy bedroom music is what you’re in the mood for then look no further than Klaus Marten. Hazy bedroom music?
Yes, that’s exactly what this one-man band from Brooklyn, NY composes using little more than guitars, keyboards, a shaker and a tambourine. Mr. Marten records all the music himself and downloads his albums using Soundcloud.com an online platform that allows artists like Marten to share music.
No slouch, Marten has five albums and one EP since he started recording music four years ago. Mostly instrumental, he boasts a number of original collections as well as his take on several more popular bands like U2, Smokey Robinson, the Beatles and the Smashing Pumpkins.
Year started: 2010
Hometown: Cleveland, OH (now in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY)
Influences: Smashing Pumpkins, Animal Collective, My Bloody Valentine, Brian Wilson, The Ventures, The Beatles, Japancakes, Deerhunter, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Van Halen, Hendrix, Sonny Sharrock, and more.
Instruments played: Acoustic and electric guitars, keyboard, shaker, tambourine
- In A Dream (June 2014),
- Master Tape (January 2014)
- Take Me With You (September 2013)
- Satiety (January 2013),
- September (July 2012),
- EP (July 2012)
- Do you play all the instruments or do you have help?
It’s all me!
- What’s your process to recording and laying down tracks?
Usually when I record, I will start with like a main rhythm guitar or keyboard part as it may be, but I may also start with percussion if any exists, and if it is essential or appears consistently in the song. From there I will lay down any other rhythm or lead tracks, then usually percussion if I haven’t already, and if there is any bass at all, usually it is last (I am focusing more and more lately on bass and creating decent lines, but it’s not necessarily key to my music as I see it). Apart from acoustic instruments, everything is recorded line-in, straight into the sound card.
- Is being a one-man band your niche or is your ideal goal to get a band started?
I think for a long time I used to really want to be in a band, and I still think it would be a lot of fun, but I feel like at this point I’ve developed such my own sound and my own way of playing and recording and producing that I’m just fine continuing what I do on my own.
In a lot of ways, I think that I work best alone. I appreciate all feedback I get on my music, but I love being able to see my vision through and shape it without compromise.
- Right now you’re much like That 1 Guy, who records and tours as a one-man band. Is that a possibility for you?
I honestly don’t know. So much of my music is either a weird collision of leftover and abandoned stems from old projects, or more organic instrumental stuff that is layered over with tons of effects after recording that I feel it would be really difficult to perform. I would have to rethink a lot of what I do to make it work in a live setting.
For that I would probably need more equipment and a lot of help. Or maybe if I played out alone, I would only play the tracks I feel I could most comfortably/feasibly play in a live setting. But I really don’t know; it would be probably a fun challenge, but nerve-wracking as well. I’m very used to the slow and patient process of one-man home recording.
- Is playing live in local clubs or even touring with another band something you’re looking into?
It isn’t something I have really looked into. I have a few people in various places who know who I am musically, but I haven’t really established much just here in New York. Plus I can’t even begin to imagine how to translate what I do to a stage setting. I probably could if I spent time on it, but it’s something that has hardly crossed my mind. That said, if someone offered me a live gig, I’d probably be kicking myself if I turned it down, so I would hopefully try to figure it out. But I guess it’s not something I’m actively pursuing at this point.
- Hazy bedroom music is about as an original description as you can find – did you go into recording with this in mind or did you “hear” it on playback?
Well I feel like it’s the most succinct way to accurately describe what I do. I guess it’s something I came up with after having recorded a lot of stuff. It describes the shoegazey-atmospheric-reverby-kind of distorted quality my stuff generally has, while also clueing you in that it’s just one guy with a cheap setup doing it all.
- You have an interesting sound, an almost soundtrack feel to your music, is composing music for other mediums an option or is the idea of being an artist, producing albums and touring more to your taste?
Thank you! I guess I would like to keep doing what I’m doing now, recording and putting out stuff as I do, and if any opportunities for soundtrack work came along I would be very open to that. Trying to create something for a specific mood, a scene that has already been created, would definitely be something new for me, but a new kind of challenge that I think would excite me.
I’m reminded of Maston, an artist who makes very lush, hauntingly gorgeous, kind of Brian Wilson-esque music (playing everything himself), and who is one of my very favorite contemporary artists. I read in an interview that he only wants to release albums for like a few more years then just work on film scores. It’s fascinating that he obviously works so hard and long to compose and play every instrument on this beautiful music he makes, and pretty much sees it as a means to an end. If I had his gifts, I don’t know if I would ever stop making albums, but I get it.
- The internet is obviously a big tool to sharing music, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve found in getting noticed?
I would have to say the biggest challenge is the competition – both the quantity and the quality of other artists out there. I upload a lot of music to Soundcloud and listen to many other artists on there as well, and there are so many artists – thousands that I alone have listened to – spanning any and all genres that would absolutely blow up, or at least achieve a cult following, if they had the means to get their music out there in a bigger way. Some of the music that people are producing just out of their apartments on a laptop is unreal, and that is my most direct competition, for lack of a better word.
- You provide some vocals but your music so far is primary instrumental – do you plan on incorporating more vocals or only when you feel it necessitates it?
I starting recording weird little songs on my parents’ computer when I was 14 or 15, and at the time, I wished I could sing. A lot of the stuff I made then was stuff that sounded like backing tracks missing vocals. Out of necessity, over the years I developed as an instrumentalist into making music that stands alone, so at this point I’m pretty comfortable doing what I’m doing.
I may not be the world’s most God-awful singer (not at all to toot my own horn) but I get anxious enough putting my own music out there, let alone adding any sort of vocals. Honestly with the few tracks where you even hear scant traces of any kind of vocal, I get pretty anxious when someone even brings it up.
10. Fill in the blank – In five years you’re _________
Hopefully able to being to really sell some music…if not as a full-time thing, at least as a nice supplement to another job. Some soundtrack work under my belt would be nice too.