Interview: David Martone

Dan McAvinchey: David, what were some of the things that influenced your musical tastes and led to your interest in the guitar?

David Martone: Some of the things that influenced my musical tastes and led to my interest in the guitar would be, first off, my father. He was playing jazz guitar as long as I can remember. He said he taught me all he knew by the time I was 9, then got me a teacher of flamenco guitar (Gary Santucci of Spain). All that I knew existed, up until grade 6, was Harry Belafonte, Nana Moskuri, Stan
Rogers, Boney M and all the popular classical guitar players like Julian Bream and Los Indios Tabhrahars. Hearing all this music in my younger days influenced my sense of melody. I also remember sitting on the stage in our elementary school in fourth grade --I had my guitar and was playing "Stairway To Heaven." All I remember was that when I looked up to see who was paying attention, there were about 6 to 7 young girls surrounding me. That was cool.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us a little bit about your guitars and amplification.

David Martone: The guitar that I am using the most is my Parker Fly Deluxe. For the clean sound I use a quadraphonic sound. The clean side of the guitar/magnetic pickups goes into my Alesis Quadraverb +. Then the 2 outputs L+R go into 2 DIs that then go into 2 channels on the board. The Piezo pickups on the guitar get sent to a Digitech 2112 and the L+R go into 2 DIs that then go into 2 channels on the board. This creates a huge clean sound if they are panned correctly. For my distortion sound I use a combination of different sounds. Some sounds come from a Marshall combo amp. Others come from a Mesa Boogie Quad 4 preamp and most of the lead sounds come from a Yamaha GW50 set on overdrive distortion with some compression. This is a very clean sounding overdrive but has enough bite to do all of the crazy shred stuff.

Dan McAvinchey: What are you striving to achieve musically?

David Martone: I want to achieve many things musically. I have many styles that I love to play. From classical to fusion to chiming harmonics to severe shred progressive to the latest influence, which is some electronica. I just want to play music that moves me every time I play it, even if I have played the same song 1000 times. If it moves me that way, I'm sure it will move other people also.

Dan McAvinchey: What musical projects are you currently working on and are you touring at all?

David Martone: Some of my most recent projects were working with "Mastrex" on some electronica ( and some recording with Neal Nagaoka. The "Martone" band have also been recording for their third release. We are two songs away from finishing and will be ready for mixing and then mastering. I will also be doing some work for "Radical ENT" in Vancouver, Canada. This will be for video game music, which is quite challenging.

The band is also trying to play live as much as possible. Some times it is difficult to play in all types of clubs because instrumental music is not the easiest type of music to make go over in a club. I remember playing at the "Oddessy" in Seattle and there were six girls in bikinis in a hot tub doing a local late night Seattle TV show. At one point they came out of the tub to dance to one of the songs we were playing at the time. It was weird because they picked one of our most difficult songs to dance to. It starts in 6/8, then goes to 7/4, then 4/4. I'm sure you get the idea. But they sure looked good trying.

Dan McAvinchey: How do you compose your music?

David Martone: I have to be in the right frame of mind to compose music. If I am uninspired I cannot compose. Usually I will get periods in a month where the ideas will just flow from me effortlessly. Sometimes it comes from a chord progression that I will be messing with or a lead melody that I will come up with and put chords under it after. I find that when I am at my lowest or highest emotionally, the true music comes out. I also like to learn many piano pieces from Chopin and Rachmaninov for ideas since they are some of my favorite composers, but when I use their ideas it comes out in such a different form that you would never know that it came from those influences.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you use commercial recording facilities exclusively, or do you record in a project studio as well?

David Martone: Up until this point, I've always recorded in a commercial facility. This is not my favorite way to record but one good thing about it is that when it comes time to record lead parts I am so prepared that it usually takes only a few takes to get it because of the month or so of rehearsal prior to recording. This is when I am in top playing form. I am working on getting a project studio going at present time. It costs a lot for a project studio but with financing, it will be possible. It would be nice if at 4:00 AM I feel like cutting a solo, I can do it in my own project studio and not have to worry about booking time in the studio and lugging all of my gear there.

Dan McAvinchey: How did you decide to take the independent path into the music business?

David Martone: I decided to do the independent route because that is the only route that is available to me at the present time. I have had releases on A&M Canada and Legato Records but I can't wait for the "grown ups" to decide whether or not to release the music. I want to have my music out there like anybody else and if I have to do it all myself--so be it! Plus you learn so many other things about the music business besides just the playing. You learn about marketing, recording, production, mastering, promotion, booking, etc.

interview pic

Dan McAvinchey: What do you find to be the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician?

David Martone: Some of the advantages of being an independent artist is that no one tells you what to do or how to do it. It is totally you! That is the truest form that your music can be presented. A down side is the lack of money for promotion and marketing. Unfortunately if your music is not known about, you have no chance of doing anything with it commercially. To me, playing live is one of the greatest satisfactions that I have. To be able to feel the power of the whole group beside you is magical. The energy and power on stage can make you do things that you never would have imagined pulling off or doing.

Dan McAvinchey: Can you share any marketing or promotion tips for musicians about to release their first independent record?

David Martone: Some tips that I can share about marketing and promotion are first and foremost, making as many contacts as you can, such as college or university radio and overseas radio. They love this stuff over there! Next are local record stores. They always have independent sections for artists like us. Next are endorsements. They can really help to get your name around. Also getting to know the company representatives (reptiles) for your local music store (e.g. the reps that supply Parker, Marshall, Boogie, Fender, etc.) They can get your CD into the right hands, and a personal contact from Joe Schmo helps.

Next is playing live. This is a big one. Most artists will just send out unsolicited CDs. This is usually a waste of time. The more times you play live, the more people will see you and your group and who is to say that some guy from Sony Music might happen to be in the crowd. This type of scenario has happened to me on more than one occasion. A lot of this comes from being in the right place at the right time, but if you are never in a club or playing on a stage and just in your rehearsal hall, no one will ever see you or make the time to see you!

interview picture
Vancouver-based guitarist David Martone has combined over twenty years of guitar playing with formal studies in music production and engineering and a degree in Music Performance from the Berklee College of Music. The result? A recently released CD, "Shut Up 'N Listen" an all-instrumental release packed with emotion, impressive solos and controlled mayhem. Influenced by progressive contemporaries such as John Petrucci and Joe Satriani as well as Frank Gambale and Julian Bream, Martone showcases his flawless guitar technique on nine tracks of beautifully recorded, stunning hard rock.

Martone related to Dan McAvinchey his reasons for taking the independent road into the music business and shared a few tips based on his experiences over the past five years as a professional musician.