- Phil Freeman
Episode 57 of the Burning Ambulance podcast features an interview with producer Kevin Richard Martin. I’ve been a fan of Martin’s for almost 30 years. The first thing I heard by him was 1992’s Possession, by his band God, which also featured Godflesh‘s Justin Broadrick on guitar; they were an extremely heavy sort of postpunk free jazz group with elements of doom metal and dub — they sounded like nothing else out there at the time, and really nothing since. They released two studio albums and several live records, all of which are out of print and hard to find these days.
After that, Martin and Broadrick made a bunch of records under a bunch of different names, as Techno Animal and Ice and Curse of the Golden Vampire and a few others. The music ranged from extremely spaced-out instrumentals, like psychedelic dream soundtracks, to ultra-heavy stuff that was inspired by hip-hop but with incredible, booming, almost concussive bass. Martin is obsessed with bass, as you’ll hear in our conversation, and he’s spent most of his recording career working on ways to make the bass heavier and more immersive.
In the late ’90s, he started doing solo work as The Bug; instrumental at first, but he very quickly started bringing in vocalists and making really harsh, almost industrial dancehall and hip-hop. The three best known Bug albums — Pressure, London Zoo, and Angels and Devils — are heavy as hell, and he’s earned a reputation for ultra-crushing live shows, with so much volume and bass that it’ll make your nose bleed.
His most recent music is completely different from any of this, which is part of the reason he’s releasing it under his own name, Kevin Richard Martin. He started out with the album Sirens in 2019, which was very atmospheric but also very intense instrumental music that dealt with the difficulties involved in the birth of his first child. Now this year, he’s put out five digital-only albums on Bandcamp called Frequencies For Leaving Earth volumes 1 through 5, and each one is different from the others, but they’re all connected in that they’re all experimenting with a kind of immersive use of sound and bass. I listen to them on headphones, and it’s kind of like having your head wrapped in a towel and very slowly squeezed.
In this interview, we talk a lot about those records, as well as God and Techno Animal and Zonal and a whole range of stuff. I think you’ll find it to be a very interesting conversation. If you do enjoy this podcast, please consider visiting patreon.com/burningambulance and becoming a subscriber. For just $5 a month, you can help keep this show and Burning Ambulance as a whole active and thriving. Thanks!
Music heard in this episode:
Zonal, “In A Cage” (Wrecked)
Kevin Richard Martin, “Requiem” (Frequencies for Leaving Earth, Vol. 4)