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Interview with Martin Schiller
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My family. Music was always playing in my house growing up, and my older brothers played instruments. Guitars and drums were in the house, and at some point someone suggested I pick up the bass guitar to fill in the gap.
If it weren’t for music, I suppose I might get into a visual medium, like video editing.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I enjoy watching films, and listening to music. Seeing other peoples art helps keep me interested in creating.
Going for nature hikes with my partner and our dogs is nice because it helps to regain some internal solitude and connect with parts of myself that start to feel disconnected from the Earth.
How long has your band been around?
I’ve been making music under different names and projects for a while. I’m still a part of the band Whats Seas What Shores which is a more collaborative project, that band started in 2005, I think.
The Greedy Echoes started playing shows in 2015, and that led to a mini-album which came out in 2019.
And since the latest release is a solo effort under my own name, I guess you could say that this project in particular started in 2020.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Windsor, Ontario. It’s where I grew up, and its music scene was an interesting one, there were a lot of post-rock and instrumental bands playing when I started out. I think there is a heavy electronic music influence there, too. All sorts of music, but electronic, funk, jazz, and post-rock in particular.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Well, as a solo effort it means that I’m feeling comfortable just plainly saying that I am the musician/composer/producer of this project. This is me, and here’s something I created.
The name The Greedy Echoes is a name that amuses me very much. The story of how I got the name is not that interesting, but the meanings of those words on their own (and together) are interesting to me. I think there are many ways to interpret meanings and relationships. It’s all about music as an art form to me.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
The most memorable live show experience would have to be performing in Taiwan and Japan with What Seas What Shores. The people we met were very accommodating, the bands we played with were incredible, and the sound systems over there were mindbogglingly loud and clear.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Favorite live venue so far; The Checkered Record Club (aka TCRC Live House) in Tainan, Taiwan. ... and I’ve never played The Shelter in Detroit, I think that would be fun.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Grails, Secret Chiefs 3, Tortoise, Bardo Pond, Daniel Lanois, Mouse on Mars, Primus, The Residents.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
For getting into a band advice; try to notice when someone is presenting an idea and think about how best you can support that idea. Likewise, when presenting your ideas, embrace the unexpected ways in which other band members can help influence the song/composition.
For my younger self ... read more books, look for mentors, and ask more questions.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Read more about music and audio engineering, and also drink more green tea.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Right now the tune Future Prints means the most to me, because it’s a hot little number, it came together really quickly, and I like where it can take my imagination when I listen to it with my eyes closed.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite track to play lately is called Ivy. Unfortunately I haven’t played live in the past couple years, so I haven’t had many requests that I can recall.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I try to write music when I can, if I get and idea I try to write it down or record it somehow. When I feel like a musical idea is complete I try to arrange it with instruments and sounds that are available. I think about compositions as being malleable and so there’s a lot of room for re-imagining the style in which something can be played.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I’m a big believer in letting the music speak for itself, especially since what I’ve been doing lately is all instrumental. I find putting words to things can be very limiting. That being said, I don’t choose my titles carelessly. I think an important aspect of art is that it can mean different things to different people depending on what’s going on.
I guess if there’s any message, it would be to encourage people to leave that space for thoughtfulness and having patience with any art, and seeing what it can show you if you open your mind to it.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Disagreements might be inevitable in any kind of collaboration, and sometimes peoples needs or ideas come into conflict with each other. I guess it just comes down to how strong someone is feeling about a certain idea at the time, and whether the involved parties want to fight about it, try and work through it together, or let go and move on. It all depends on the situation.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’m hoping to finish Dreams Volume 2 as a follow up to this release at some point. I wrote a lot of different tunes over that last couple years, so that will be something to keep an eye out for. Also, something new from The Greedy Echoes in the not too distant future....