The Martin Bisi Band is fronted by a rather well-known musician and producer, but we’re sure they’re new to some of you. Which is why we sat Martin himself down and, ably assisted by multi-talented instrumentalist Genevieve Fernworthy, we put them through the BotD wringer…
Martin Bisi: New York City.
Genevieve Fernworthy: Charleston, SC.
How did the band come together?
MB: It’s an extended network, based on geography, time constraints. Versions of the band sometimes overlap.
GF: Typically the band is a rotating cast of characters and charlatans.
What are your influences?
MB: I often feel I channel DNA, Curtis Mayfield, My Bloody Valentine, Rage Against The Machine, The Clash.
GF: John Cale, Alex Chilton, Richard Ashcroft, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
MB: The layering of sounds via guitar and vocal effects, very creative drumming. It’s supposed to be emotionally cathartic, and I like things being somewhat disorienting – segueing between obvious songs and weird sonic landscapes.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
MB: The newest material is pretty political, referencing a victim of police violence, and opposing patriarchy. Some of the older material references the dawn of humans, language and religion. So, one way or the other, kinda heavier stuff.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
MB: Countless shows at this point, 100s. Our shows are mostly loud, and one might say noisy. We don’t stop, it’s a contiguous set. And there’s many points where we don’t know exactly where we’re going. So that comes across, you know to expect surprises.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
MB: Laying flat on my back in the middle of the audience in this very reverberant mausoleum in Oslo, and screaming to the high vaulted ceilings – I was on the verge of fainting.
GF: That set in Oslo matched a series we host at BC Studio in Brooklyn, called The Lunary, around the full moon of every month. We played at the Emmanuel Vigeland Mausoleum on the full moon – looking forward to releasing the whole set as an album.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
MB: I use an Epiphone SG, with as clean an amp as possible and do distortions with pedals. I have a Lexicon rack mount delay from the 80’s that I can put guitar and voice through simultaneously so things can get pretty wild!
GF: Electric Viola, microKORG. I had previously been using 3-5 loopstations, but recently upgraded to a 5-in-1 pedal for less cables, more effects.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018, in to 2019?
MB: Tour and prepare Volume 2 of BC35 – to be released in February 2019.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you?
MB: Would love to support Wolf Eyes, with Pop1280 opening.
GF: Support Richard Ashcroft with Blue Jazz TV on the opening slot.
From previous Band of the Day, Muscular Child: Dave Grohl, Mick Jagger, Prince – Who would you kiss, who would you marry and who would you kill?
MB: Kiss Jagger, kill Grohl, marry Prince.
GF: Kiss Prince, marry Prince, kill Grohl.
From another BotD, Vanity: if you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
MB: Not to drop names (too much), but accept Madonna’s invite to go to a party in Manhattan, ca.1984
GF: I once drove 26 hours to see a Big Star / Posies mashup for Memphis In May, and was invited to dance on stage with Little Richard. I can’t believe I turned that down. It must’ve been the exhaustion.
And from Charly & Faust: what’s your underwear colour?
MB: I like turquoise
Header image by Joan Hacker