Enigmatic still seems to fall short when describing Jeff Martin. The frontman from Canadian icons The Tea Party released his new solo record, “The Seven Deadly Sins” on The Seventh Of The Seventh 2023. It’s a journey into the theological blueprint of the Seven Deadly Sins. In the first part of our special, Jeff takes us behind the curtain of his latest creation This powerful album addresses each of the 7 Sins, whilst incorporating the plethora of exotic instruments Jeff Martin has accumulated over the years of touring, and living in places such as Egypt, Turkey, Prague, Italy, Ireland, Morocco, and now Australia where he has called home for 15 years.
Jeff elaborates that the inception of this album dates back to 2021 “My manager, Tim Pellegrino, he came up with the concept. Because a lot of my fans, Solo and Tea Party and what not, were always hoping that I would go back to the Middle Eastern influences, subcontinent India influences, Moroccan, Turkish, and I guess delve into the darkness as well. And truth be told, well, that was a difficult proposition for me because I’m actually quite happy in my life right now”
Jeff draws this happiness from his wife Melissa, who he has been with for a decade, and married now for seven years. So when it came to the songs Jeff shares some of the challenges “You have to kind of write from the perspective of the world you have lived in, and It’s not a case that I’ve actually been through them all, but I’ve certainly studied them via Dante’s Inferno and other occult books that I have. So it was a challenge to say the least that Tim came up for me because it was the first basic concept record that I’ve ever done. ‘Gluttony (Down On Your Knees)’ was one that when I was thinking about the lyrics, because you have to understand my friend that I wrote all the music for this record prior to even thinking about which song would be associated with which sin. So I went into my studio, and I only wrote six tracks. So these big musical landscapes, and then I sat down and in my studio, and I’m listening to them back, and then I thought about, like, with my, you know, like, sort of like my synesthesia, I have like a slight, a very slight version of synesthesia. But it helps me in my production. And I could then kind of correlate which sin should be attributed to which soundtrack, which song. And then it was all about going into a character because I’m not necessarily, I’m not going through those things myself. So I had to become a character, almost like in a novel, you know, and then, okay, bring out the words through that.”
Jeff composed the music for 6 of the Seven tracks with the song for “Wrath (So Bitter)” coming to Jeff from Adelaide based band Six Hours “Well, our mutual friend Paul Drennan had originally written that song with his friend Ben. So Paul had written that song in demo form, and because Paul is very close to Alice Cooper, and he has been instrumental in bringing Alice Cooper over here to Australia. And they became very good friends. So Paul wrote this song in the hopes that Alice would take it on. And truth be told, Alice loved the song, but gently passed on it. And so then Paul brought it to my attention. I was in Adelaide, probably about three years ago, doing a tour. And I had a couple days off, so I met up with Paul and I went in and recut the vocals. Also, I did a guitar solo.And that was that. And I never thought about it again until the Seven Deadly Sins came up. And Melissa and I were listening one night to that song, this was only about a couple of years ago, and we thought, wow, this would be an amazing addition to the Seven Deadly Sins, the so bitter, you know, the wrath of it all, like the, you know, like the anger towards, right? And that’s how that all came about. So I just started from scratch with that song and reconstructed it and there it is. And as you would know as someone that’s heard both , they’re two very, very, very different animals”
The one thing that is evident when you listen to this album is that Jeff seems to have a fire and darkness reminiscent of the early albums from The Tea Party and he shares some interesting thoughts on this one
“Yes, that would be a proper assessment because that’s where you know you got to go. Well, I certainly had to go as far as bringing it to fruition. Those seven sins. I had to go to places. You know, it’s almost like my friend. I had to mine. My own psyche. Right. I’ve got a lot. Stored up. You know, there’s a big vault. And I think I remember reading an interview with Trent Reznor. And I think Trent and I are on the same page. Right. He’s happily married. And he’s all that stuff. Right. But anytime he wants. And as an artist, you know, if you have the, if it’s possible, you know, it would be, it’s a great thing. It’s a great asset for an artist to be able to go back into a vault in your psyche and then bring that stuff forward again. But it’s not your life. It is not your life now. Yep. But maybe it used to be a long time ago, but you can bring it back into the foreground because maybe you haven’t mined all of it. Right. So, I think that’s kind of like where I came from with this record. And it may sound prophetic , but I hope I have taken memories from my past to create memories for everyone else’s future.”
Martin is never one to stick to a formula when it comes to instrumentation, and this album is no different. Jeff has traveled the globe and collected many beautiful pieces, a lot of which were bought off display and used, when asked about what was used Jeff’s excitement was immediate
“Okay, how much time do we have? (laughs) Well, let’s start with countries. So, like for instance, from Morocco, there is a bass instrument called a Gimbri, which looks like a massive rectangle with a very, very long neck and that’s the the bass acoustic bass instruments of Moroccan folk music. So I played that on Lust. I also played on Lust an instrument called It’s a fretless instrument, but it’s very, very strange because the strings are just hanging over this neck that is essentially a pole. It’s not a flat neck whatsoever. And so you have to have pretty good pitch as far as your ear is concerned in order to be able to play this instrument. It’s a four-stringed instrument, but it kind of sounds like an OUD, like a Middle Eastern OUD mixed with a Banjo”.
“And then from there, well, I certainly played Sitar. I played Sarod. Sarod is a fretless Indian stringed instrument. I Also played a Tanpura, which is the drone instrument from India, whether it’s four or five strings. Mine is actually four. I played Hurdy-Gurdy. My Hurdy-Gurdy is a beautiful piece of furniture that is now being played. It was built for me by this man in Tasmania, in Hobart. I believe that he’s the only person in Australia making Hurdy-Gurdies, and it takes him like six months to make one”.
“I played a KHIM, so that is spelled K-H-I-M, and that is a hammered dulcimer from Thailand. What else did I play? I mean, honestly, if I was in my studio right now, which I’m not, I’m in my kitchen. But if I was in my studio, I could probably go around the instruments and probably have a better recollection of what I played. But I can assure you that there was certainly a lot.”
Jeff is one man show of sorts and has now set up shop on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast “We were living in the Hinterland of Byron for, I’d say, 10 years. No, Eight, eight years. And, then two years ago, we moved up here to the Sunshine Coast. And I guess the only thing that changed was the fact that my studio, my recording studio, got bigger, which is great because it could house more things.”
Jeff recorded the album at his studio on The Sunshine Coast in QLD with drums on the album supplied by Sunshine Coast native Darren Evans, from the band Jatt “Darren is not only one of my dearest friends but an amazing Drummer. He has those huge Bonham-like hits and played for the songs, and for the tour I have just announced I will be joined by Russ (Shane Russell) of 12 Foot Ninja. Actually, it was Tim, my manager once again that found Russ for me. Because basically, for these, these four shows that I’m going to do, you know, early September. It has to just be the two of us because right now, you know, it’s going to take some time to put that full , five piece band together. And so Russ is the equivalent of basically, you know, Darren on drums or Jeff burrows and drums, but also Stuart Chatwood, you know, doing all the samples and everything else. So like Russ is a human octopus. I’m going to make it easy for him because I’m the one that has to come up with all the, like I’m programming, like in doing all the samples, just to make sure that Russ’s job is quite easy on stage, because I want him to enjoy himself, you know, he’s a wonderful, wonderful person. We’ve had him here at the house. And Melissa and I love him. And I just want his, you know, like what he takes away from the four shows that he and I do. I just want him to enjoy it. So I’m going to try to take as much work out of that for him so that the enjoyment factor goes on and I’m going to try to make it easy for him”. You know, they’re kind of like meant to be promotional shows, but they’re getting bigger as we speak. Then the idea is that next year to put a full band together. And then Darren would be, you know, back on drums and I’ve got a cast of characters up here that I love incredible musicians”
Jeff not only presents his works in the musical sense but also in the albums artwork “The incredible artwork was created by Perth artist, Robert Buratti, who has previously created art for The Tea Party’s live tour backdrops, as well awesome of my other solo releases, and the even more amazing part is The Seven Deadly Sins artwork has an Augmented Reality component using a QR code that makes the front cover come to life in a somewhat cinematic experience”!
Jeff is also pleased to announce an extremely special and limited run of Australian live performances in support of his new album release ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’
It will be a full volume experience, so as mentioned earlier Jeff has enlisted Shane ‘Russ’ Russell of Twelve Foot Ninja, to accompany him on stage for these four events, creating a thunderous and intricate soundscape that has not been seen by Jeff Martin fans for some time down under.
Jeff Martin on Electric Guitar and Vocals | Shane ‘Russ’ Russell on Drums and Samples
Two electric forty-five minute sets per event.
Performing the new album ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ in full each night, alongside a re-imagined ‘amped up’ selection of Jeffs’ past solo works, this will be the only chance to see Jeff Martin perform live in Australia in 2023.
Thu 31 Aug – Factory Theatre – Sydney
Fri 1 Sep – Lizottes – Newcastle
Thu 7 Sep – The Triffid – Brisbane
Fri 8 Sep – Corner Hotel – Melbourne
Tickets available from 7/7/2023
Tickets $55 + booking fees. 18+ only events.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our special which will be our track by track review of the album