Interview with singer/keyboardist/lyricist Emma Michaelsen and guitarist/bassist Art Bertik of Martorn and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (https://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
Emma: Our music is classified as melodic black metal or blackened death metal. Martorn is multifaceted, dramatic. Roaring guitars, epic violins, clean and extreme vocals and screams, dark lyrics with a pinch of hope.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
Emma: We are multinational. I am from Sweden and Alyson (violin) and Art (guitar/bass) are from Los Angeles. We met in the Los Angeles melting pot.
Art: Or cesspool, if you will.
Emma: I had a friend help me post on Facebook that I was looking for a metal guitarist to write music with. Art and I had mutual friends, and he happened to see the post and we met up and started writing. Alyson was originally brought in as a guest artist when recording the first EP, but as soon as she put her touch on one of our songs, “Hell of Fire”, it was clear that Martorn needed her on everything moving forward. Alyson’s violin playing enhances everything about our sound, and she recently joined us as a full-time member.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
Emma: There are so many influences, and we are not shy to admit “guilty pleasures”, anything that has inspired us is fair game. Listeners will likely hear influences such as Gorgoroth, Dimmu Borgir, Pantera, Metallica.
Art: My inspirations and influences from youth to present have been Metallica, Pantera, Fear Factory, Type O Negative, Brujeria, Asesino, The Offspring, Rammstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Rob Zombie, System Of A Down, Slipknot, Wendy Carlos, NIN, Marilyn Manson, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Cradle Of Filth, Enya, Marina, Dead Can Dance, Aphex Twin, Alice Deejay, Mortician, John Frusciante, Lana Del Rey, Babymetal, Ghost, Hank Williams Sr. Some artists heavily inspired me with many of their albums, some just with one song, some from their movie scores, others everywhere in between. There are so many but Metallica is the reason I picked up guitar. Emma writes the lyrics for Martorn, otherwise I would be writing dark humourous, cynical, misanthropic, existential crisis lyrical themes.
Emma: Lyric-wise, I tend to write about subjects that are intense to me at the time. It can be a more philosophical idea of life in general, usually shining the light from a new perspective. That, or I am inspired to dive deep into more factual subjects that have evoked my attention. It is often something I have been picking apart in my head for a while that just resurfaces as a response through the music we are writing. Usually the lyrics and music happen more or less simultaneously when we write.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
Emma: We want to keep making great music and expanding our reach. The next phase is releasing the next EP. Our music is very cinematic and would be a good match for movies and video games.
Art: It has been a dream of mine to get music into video games and movies. I want to reach many ears, not for fame, but I want to impact as many listeners as possible the way my favorite artists impacted me.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
Emma: That must be when we received recognition from the Swedish Arts Council. We received a small grant enough to fund my traveling from Sweden to Los Angeles to finish pre production of the second EP.
Art: That’s definitely one of my proudest moments too. Also, seeing my credit on the big screen in theaters for scoring work for Paramount Pictures.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
Emma: Yes, in some ways it is easier than ever, there are plenty of opportunities. And in other ways it is quite challenging to find the right avenues in the online jungle. We are constantly expanding in a conscious way, and recently partnered with Metal Devastation PR. We are definitely moving in the right direction.
Art: It was definitely time for help and I’m grateful for partnering up with Metal Devastation PR. I’ve always been far busier on the production side as I also produce, record, mix other artists’ music too.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
Emma: We have yet to go down that avenue. We plan to do live shows after the release of the second EP. But if we get enough requests before that, we might change our minds…
Art: What she said.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
Emma: Great! Spotify hails out of Sweden just like me and we are proudly played through Spotify or any other streaming platform like Bandcamp, Apple Music etc.
Art: I think it’s awesome. I love that I can grab someone’s phone and pull up our music in seconds when they ask.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Art: “Enter Sandman” because of all the royalties! “Ave Satani” and “Hurt” because they’re so powerful and badass and induce many a tear and goosebump. “Sonne” and “Caramelldansen” because of their perfect arrangements.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
Emma: Mainstream radio. “Martorn is too metal for mainstream radio,” is what we hear when we have been in contact with stations directly. There are more metalheads out there than the non-metalhead might realize. Just look at the diversity in our genre of music. More metal on the mainstream radio!
Art: Almost everything.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
Emma: We are finishing up the second EP and releasing the first single on October 6th. The song is called “Halo” and is our first cover! The video will premiere at 8pm PST.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
Emma: Online at Martorn.se
Art: Also Entelodon Records’ Etsy store. Thanks!
Band/Artist location – Los Angeles, California/Stockholm Sweden
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Bandcamp – Merch –
Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – LinkTree –
Check our page for Martorn