Feature Interview

Sevven: The DIY Approach Of An Independent Artist

Rici Martins is no stranger to the music industry, whether it be his work as a producer, playing piano, drumming or as musical director.

While he’s currently still active with a myriad of projects including Howie Combrink and newcomer Filipa, he’s taking his first steps into a solo project called Sevven. I caught up with Martins to discuss his new single and how he’s managed to create everything from his music to his website himself.

Stian Maritz: In the press release it comes across that you’re particularly excited about your latest single ‘Speed Of Night’. What is it about this song in particular that you like?

Rici Martins: ‘Speed Of Night’ was the second song I did for the project and it’s crazy how relevant it turned out to be. The song’s about going after the things you want in life without waiting on someone else and without excuses and that’s also what this whole project has been about for me. Looking back now I think that if I’d known how much work it really takes I might not have done it. I’ve literally done everything from designing the website to recording the album itself. The mixing, artwork and video… it’s an insane amount of work.

SM: So it’s like a mission statement.

RM: Yeah. I think that the proof is in the pudding. You can’t sing about things like this if you don’t mean it.

SM: By taking so many aspects of the project on board, you also sound like one of the busiest people I’ve ever spoken to. What does it take to commit so much time to a project?

RM: People have more time than they realize. I find if you actually just buckle down you can get a lot done. And that said, all of this hasn’t happened overnight. This entire thing took me three years to put together. The reason for that is that when I found that I needed to do something, like designing a website, I’d stop and teach myself how to do it rather than pay someone else to.

SM: The entire thing?

RM: University of Youtube, man. I’ve got an honourary degree by this point [Laughs]. There are a lot of talented guys out there but it all costs a lot of money if you don’t have a massive record label behind you. For example I had an idea for the music video of ‘Fight For Love’ last year, and when I went to a company for a quote I found that the budget just wasn’t realistic. Instead I spent six months learning how to do all of the things the video needed. I ended up shooting and editing the entire thing myself.

I am fully convinced that you can become a doctor from Youtube. You might not get the degree but in terms of information you could get the know-how. Hundred percent. If you had to look at my Youtube history, you’d get a fright.

SM: And you’re completely independent in terms of record label?

RM: Aside from a few things that I really don’t want to do, like publishing or handling radio play royalties, I’m doing it all myself.

SM: That DIY approach extends to your live setup as well then?

RM: I pictured the things I’d have if I were signed to a major label for six months and looked at other artists for a reference and made it my mission to get those things. The guy on the street doesn’t know the inner workings of a label, they just want the same level of experience from every band on stage.

SM: And you’re building that from the ground up?

RM: I’m using projectors live so I built this massive structure –

SM: Did you learn to build it from Youtube?

RM: [Laughs] No, but I did learn how to do mapping on projectors from it! It’s all ready to go now so we should start performing officially from the end of September.

SM: With three singles out so far, will the rest of the album be releasing systematically or all at once?

RM: I was toying with the idea, but an album is not going to help me. An album doesn’t have the lifespan it used to so what I’ve done is release a single, music video and then performance video of each new song. It makes for consistent content, so that’s what you can expect for the next few months.

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Sevven will be performing his first gig at The Good Luck Bar on Thursday the 28th of September.