Fuck, it's just satire
An interview with Nathan "N" Martin from Sweet Teeth
N Martin, unimpressed.
Full disclosure, disclaimer, etc. I didn't really want to dwell on it too much, but in order for the majority of this interview to make sense there needs to be at least a few sentences about our rocky relationship with Sweet Teeth. I guess it all started when I wrote a review of attendees at my local Puppy Preschool, accompanied by a jpeg of their EP cover and a numerical value. Sweet Teeth responded. Fair enough too. Retorts come with the territory, obviously. An open-ended conversation was one of the key principles Albert Arnold Gore Junior focused on when he invented The Net in the first place. Sweet Teeth then released their debut album, which included a diss song called Blog Buzz that named names. We didn't review the LP because, as they validly pointed out, we were kinda fucked no matter which stance we took. I recorded a moderately offensive horrorcore rap song in response which, at the time of publication, remains unreleased.
For a long time I was unaware of any connection between N Martin and Sweet Teeth. I'm not sure how well hidden this fact is/was, given that I never really took the time to investigate. But there was also no reason for me to even suspect any point of crossover between the two entities, considering the millions of miles of musical space that exists between N Martin's neatly packaged, homemade-pop introspectiveness and Sweet Teeth's loud, brass, 2am drunken confidence.
N Martin is Nathan Martin. He sings and plays guitar in Sweet Teeth. Intrigued by how one gent could be involved with two musical projects in which I have two very different opinions of — as well take the opportunity to finally "squash the beef" — I decided to spark up a chat with Nathan via Facebook.
Obviously you're involved in a few different projects — Sweet Teeth, your N Martin solo project and you've previously mentioned possibly teaming up with your brother (David, Black Soul) in the future. Are there any other things you're working on that we're not aware of and/or are future planned works?
Yeah, I'm keen for a few new/dormant projects, hopefully they take shape this year. David and I have started a come down electronic band called Victory Disease. It will able to danced to (but only if you are on ketamine). I'm excited for this as I know nothing about beats n production so think it will create some nice soundscapes.
Evan [Hill Porteus, from Bare Grillz, Rat King, Hell Setzer etc etc] and I have a two piece thing called Sadfaces. We made a EP last year and it was one of the most relaxed musically experiences I've had as he's a gem. We hope to make an album heaps soon. We have the ideas and energy but the time is harder to find. I will sound like a mix of Teeth/Grillz but I hope we make the album I wish No Age put out last year.
Boston Rob (Dave, Evan, Rob and myself made a brutal tribal-sounding EP thing last winter with [Michael] Beef. I hope we finally put it out and play some more because playing with two drummers feels way metal.
Also I brought a baritone guitar yesterday with the thought of starting a ultra depressing two piece. So anyone whose keen — totally PM me.
Where exactly does your solo stuff fit into all these priorities? At the moment it seems more of a spur of the moment thing; semi-themed, but just whenever you have time to record down a few ideas.
It's just part of my routine, I just really enjoy songwriting and getting that stuff off my chest feels good, it is often themed as I write in a sporadic manor. The main band pre-ST was a more introspective singer songwriter-ish thing (ie: bad Wilco cover band) and I love making and recording that type of music, but it's more a process of writing out the bad mood or exercising an idea, exploring it and then leaving it. To be honest, I have no desire to play it in a live setting. I think it's boring, there's way to many serious dudes on earth. The fact than anyone listens to it is bonus.
You've now moved down to Sydney, the last of The Sweet Teeths to do so right? Is that simply a logistics thing, with the aim of playing more shows etc? Does that band remain your main focus?
Yeah I'm the last of us four to migrate to Sydney city. I have lived on the Central Coast my whole life but there is nothing there for me anymore — friends/work/other. There's nothing. I was driving down up to four times a week when ST when we're playing regularly. ST is my main focus, it is the most fun, but it takes the most work too. More shows would be good, I'd just like to be productive and make sure we keep recording and making stuff, you know try to evolve I guess.
But I think I have ADHD and I constantly need multiple things to focus on. Otherwise the party band would end up with all of these sad sappy songs mashes into them. I have to channel the muck.
Was the band's decision to leave the Central Coast area more of a focus on jobs etc, or is there a limit to the kind of shows you can play etc while living in the area? Newcastle seems like a fairly close-nit community, which is great, but i can imagine would be fairly limiting in regards to playing shows — ie. you'd be playing to the same people every week etc...
There is definitely limitations on the Central Coast. There is basically no venues (some pop up and go bankrupt in the space of a fiscal year) and there aren't many (stimulating) bands. Sweet Teeth have only played two CC shows in our existence (one of which was my brothers twenty first birthday). But I think in some cases the isolation can work for you also, as you're not in the loop of what's hot and what's not. That's why things like Less Talk Records happen — out of necessity. There was no way to put out/make a record/playing shows, so we started doing it ourselves.
Newcastle is great. They have a good thing going on, between things like the Terrace Bar and Y202 there's really good positive vibes, and a real healthy (small) scene of extremely talented dudes. I would expect nothing more from the birthplace of the Johns triplets. Newcastle definitely has a quality over quantity based situation. I wish I could say the same for the CC or Sydney for that matter. But I mean that's sorta why we are down here now more options to play I guess.
I agree with the loop. Sydney can get pretty boring with trends etc. Although, it's a lot better than it has been though. In the early 2000s it was lost in some sort of Strokes indie "night" world and was really fucking disgusting. How have you found Sydney so far, in regards to inclusion, getting shows etc?
Oh yeah, Sydney has improved a dick load from that dark 'saviors of rawk' thing. I think Sydney is a place of extremes, the great bands are brilliant and theres plenty of woeful shit.
As for the whole ongoing trend cycle, it's hard because I genuinely like keeping up with where ever music heads and often it can lead you into real dank places. Take the Dolewave/jangle pop thing for example, there is so much I really enjoy about it (mainly simple songs about nothing) but it feels like it may have reached saturation point.
Sydney is a great to play around, but it depends on who your mates with and who their mates are. ST get most of our shows through mutual friends and stuff like that, we don't really hunt out shows. I also feel like we don't particularly have a 'place' in the food pyramid of Sydney rawk, like we are that crappy pop band that the proper DIY people sometimes like, and we are that 'heavy' band that drunk chicks on Oxford Street / Kings Cross sometimes watch. Most people are open minded and friendly, but it feels like there are still a few exclusive Cool Kids Clubs that I'm not welcome in. But I'm happy to exist outside of that.
Sydney can be shit like that, especially towards bands like Sweet Teeth which seem to naturally fit that whole World Bar party-til-u-puke world, where people are there to see bands rather than a band...
World Bar. Yeah at those places you play to a lot of people and drink yourself to near death which can be fun but often the audiences seam to be missing the point that, lyrically a lot of it is pointed at them. The whole "lyf sux, woe is me" pretentious shit. But something I'm slowly learning that almost everyone has missed the boat on understanding our angle.
Almost every song in the band is sung from the perspective of these people, from their shoes, often direct quotes, I'm singing in character to highlight behaviours I find repulsive. But I mean most people miss that, like believe it or not I don't like Girls that is just something a shitty old friend said one day. We just used the template of a repetitive pop song to highlight how much of a misogynist he was, to me it's obviously taking the piss, but I guess our humour isn't as universal as I'd hope.
Ha, yeah, well I completely missed that too, obviously. And, to be honest, that explains a lot, as I always thought it was weird that there was such a different tone and attitude with your solo stuff, Black Soul etc.
Ok, and I guess we should talk about Blog Buzz?
Haha, I knew we'd get here. Oh and as for that interview/song debacle I thought it was fair game, good clean fun. No offence taken. We both were just exercising our shitty heads, right?? I apologise if the reply seemed harsh, four on one is not fair.
I understand that ST is not for everyone, I mean I don't listen to music like that all of the time, it's a sometimes thing, to be honest I take offence to people thinking that we as a band are bratty or sexist or stupid, I mean fuck it's just satire.
And yeah it's party music, but especially Dave and I came from playing in a serious pop band, so in comparison this is just us dicking around. We both have our solo projects where we can express 'feelings' and be arty fucks. This just an outlet, a fun one at that.
Obviously, no offence. And I get that angle, especially as I have a very varied taste myself. To be honest I don't think that whole satire angle isn't that obvious. But I kinda like that too, a bit of an inside joke almost, for the people that know you or, to an extent, those that come and see you play live..
Yeah I'm slowly learning that the satire isn't as obvious as I thought. Which is frustrating at times when people pigeon hole you and stuff. I guess the in-joke is with close friends and people that watch is regularly. It'd be nice if more people didn't think we were brats. But I guess the ball is in our court for that one. Oh well. I mean I like playing aggressive music, but I don't want to be actually proper angry about things, making the songs more carefree frees us of the sad sack angst that most bands with distortion pedals carry around.
Do you think that "it's just fun, fuck it" attitude disadvantages the band from being taken seriously? I know you guys were a bit annoyed that the album didn't get reviewed in the local press. Do you think this I'd because of the party image associated with the band?
Hmm, I personally wasn't concerned about not getting reviews, I was just happy to have completed the album and being happy with it was enough and I don't really think about our image at all. I'm just interested in making music. I think we are best enjoyed in a live environment but I don't think our live albums would be any better, we're not very tight and drink too much when we play.
I suppose it's good to have some form of recognition though, right?
I guess so. I don't really do the Internet that well, [the other members of Sweet Teeth] take care of that side, but yeah I guess so. I mean any person that says they don't want recognition is a liar, even if it's from their mate or girlfriend. People like to be liked, I guess (haha). I was content cause the album sounded more like us dicking around live.