Josh Martinez: Cut the dreads; shed the threads, now Iím just a punk.
MVRemix: Lets get an introduction. I want you to refer to yourself as though you were your parents talking about you. That is, My son isÖ.
Josh Martinez: Actually named Matthew, and strangely heís a rapper. No, itís not what you think, heís actually quite good. Yes, heís a white boy, but heís got the soul of a brother. No, not his brother ďbrother.Ē You know, like a B.P. Black Person. But heís going to law school soon and then heíll make us proud.
MVRemix: When it comes to girls, what do you enjoy more? The flirting or the fucking?
Josh Martinez: Iíve been involved with the same gal for almost three years, so Iím definitely a bigger fan of the flirting. When I first started touring, I was a recently single man, so I took every advantage of those luxuries, but the calm is way better than the storm and plus I ran out of steam (read: seed). Iím happier for the peace that comes with the lifestyle though I enjoy the attention, Iíd rather be back at the hotel with the fellas, making homo jokes and watching sports highlights.
MVRemix: On your 2003 release, Buck up Princess, what was the inspiration behind Hobos Lullaby?
Josh Martinez: Iím a hobo by nature, though Iíve settled down considerably since then. Id been listening to a lot of Utah Phillips, and old Delta blues standards and really felt like the hobo life was this longing for a simpler, less structured lifestyle that doesnít really exist anymore. Itís a song about longing, but also about beauty and sadness. And shitty liquor, which Iím also susceptible to.
MVRemix: On R.I.P Rap, you say you are 5í10íí and then on Nightmares you say you are 6í2íí. So, within the span of 1 track, you grew 4 inches? How tall are you for real?
Josh Martinez: Iíd be pushing 6í5íí if puberty hadnít stolen my proverbial thunder. Iím a mere 5í11íí, just short of my NBA glory, too skinny for hockey, and just about right for being a peeping tom.
MVRemix: The label you are on is the label you started, Camobear Records. Why do you think you werenít signed earlier?
Josh Martinez: I always tell the kids, the fastest way to get signed is to start your own label. My buddy BirdaprŤs once said used to think Def Jam would knock at my basement. Nobodyís interested in underground rap and hearing that poor me white boy shit. I helped start that craze so nobody feels more guilty about its eventual results than I do. But that being said, Iíve always felt that no one cares more about your project than you do, and if a label isnít willing to go full bore for you, then you need to find someone who will. Most likely itís you. Iím always willing to look at deals. Iíve had offers, but nothing I couldnít do better myself. So it goes.
MVRemix: You say, on Another Day, Another Dollar, Who gives a fuck about tomorrow? But it seems that you definitely do care about tomorrow, and your future, so who are you referring to? Or maybe you could explain what it means to you to not give a fuck about tomorrow?
Josh Martinez: As a songwriter, Iíve long since dropped the pretense of having my songs reflect my actual reality, because I donít want people to know the person behind the music. Iím not making diary hip hop anymore, I want to write musical songs, with structure and concrete themes. I want to make songs that people can relate to, or have lyrics that are indicative of peoples generational direction. I very much care about tomorrow, but there was a long period of time where I was young and restless (just like the soap opera) and I needed an outlet for the frustration and weirdness I felt. Crying and bitching about it felt wrong. Taking control of it, by enjoying the day and not getting bogged down in the stupidity and wastefulness of the struggle was a big part of how I learned to really enjoy and respect life. I figured other people probably felt the same so the song came out.
MVRemix: How did you form your unique style? Melody is the key ingredient to the Josh Martinez trademark; do you find this contrary to hip hop?
Josh Martinez: It certainly was weird at first. Hip-hop definitely stigmatizes people who go outside the box, and early on, rap was dirty and hard, and singing was for pussies. Things have changed and melody has become more important to hip-hop in general. With me, I really feel like I wanted to make music that was not so narrow in focus. Iím not afraid of the sellout mentality. I want people to like my music and Iím willing to use more traditional avenues to push that sound. Me and Sleep (The Chicharones) coined the term underground pop to describe the sound. Its taking the content and integrity of underground music and meshing it with the structure of popular music (i.e., hooks, chorus, bridges, etc.) and getting a sound thatís both subversive and accessible.
MVRemix: Prove me wrong. On your spare time, thereís nothing you like more than to drop acid, order strippers and listen to hard to find reggae albums.
Josh Martinez: Wow, thatís a hard order to disprove. You are currently my favorite interviewer, for both your intellectual prowess and your spot-on research expertise. I have dropped a few tabs of high quality acid in my life, have never been very fond of strippers (I feel sorry for them and want to help them and my friends get mad at me and wont let me eat the rest of the chicken wings, etc) preferring the rub and tug to stripper seductions, and I have an extensive reggae collection that I hardly listen to anymore as Iím too busy being a hipster and listening to new rawk and wearing womenís pants. Actually Iím not doing that last part, but I have switched drugs and no longer mess with. The old hallucinogenic drugs are for the kids and Iím making grown folks music for teenagers to fuck to.
MVRemix: Tell me about your two projects. The Chicharones and The Pissed Off Wild.
Josh Martinez: The Chicharones, or Chichis, is my project with Sleep of Oldominion. We toured for almost 5 years extensively and built up a sizeable arsenal of good songs and hot dance moves, and it eventually became imperative that we bring this bugger to its conclusion and make the album of our lives. When Pigs Fly is that album and I think we have one more classic album in us before we retire to obscurity and family concerns. I love working with the guy even though heís more conflicted than the Middle East most days. Heís like a train wreck meets a plane crash meets the immortality of Buddy Holly. The little guy really is go time, though. The Pissed Off Wild comes with its own set of turmoil and limitations but it is my rock project that I believe will make me an international icon for the whoring community. Comprised of the three best players in Canada, the bass, guitar, drums outfit puts me in an element Ive only scratched the surface of, and for me, is the most exciting project Ive been apart of to date. Were 10 songs deep on the album of our lives, but everyone in the band is almost 50 now and it takes a lot of work and Viagra to get there guys fucking ready to go. But I guarantee people are gonna be all over this whore bag ho-enstein by the time were done
MVRemix: Are you a hippy or are you a natural product of the Vancouver easy going lifestyle? How would you describe your personality?
Josh Martinez: Nicest guy ever, heart of gold, answer to your every whim and prayer, mostly. Iím absorbed by the west coast now, and I love it out here. Everyone bitches that thereís no scene here, but there are some fantastic folks with a lot of talent and who are gonna be running the show for years to come. But they have to evolve and make songs that people will listen to. Iím pretty consistent in that my highs are stable and my lows rarely last more than a couple of hours. I am a lucky man with a lot of great friends, family and support. Itís hard not to feel good about it. But I also think I bring east coast hustle to west coast laidback styles.
MVRemix: You tour extensively. How are you received outside of Canada, and what is your favorite place to tour?
Josh Martinez: Iím the peoples champ. I tour wherever people have asked me to play. Ive played Europe, Japan, and everywhere in North America. I love Cali, Montana, Beautiful BC, places in Texas and Hawaii. Due to the internet the fan base is almost limitless, and I get requests to do shows pretty much everywhere, less often from people who actually have the power to do anything about it.
MVRemix: Tell me about a dream youíve had where you woke up and everything felt clear and good.
Josh Martinez: Retiring. I dreamt Iíd finished law school, and was walking off stage in some shitty bar in Nova Scotia, for a crowd of 10 people, thanking them for all the good times, getting my bags and getting the hell out of the dirty bars forever. I woke up and realized itís getting time to move on. Iím excited by the possibilities and there will be no regret for me when Iím done. This has been a hobby that has taken over my life. It is enjoyable and fascinating, and has given me the best twenties I could have hoped for. But I need new challenges and opportunities so its about getting into position for the next phase. Thatís what Iím doing.
MVRemix: Are you attempting to make Josh Martinez a sex icon?
Josh Martinez: Absolutely. How this will occur remains a mystery but Iím convinced that rock star good looks and huge heavy balls are no longer enough. Itís in the dance moves now where the big boys bring it home. If anything, Id like to have more ladies come out to shows and if being a sex symbol works toward that avenue, everyone benefits. More girls at shows, means better shows for all involved.
MVRemix: How do you stay fresh?
Josh Martinez: Massengil and extensive hand jobs.
MVRemix: Tell me about what youíre working on now?
Josh Martinez: Josh Martinez Traditional Songwriting with Choruses. It is my final solo album and will hopefully be the best music Iíve ever made, all the lessons from all the years making music, and using this album as a chance to write the classic Martinez album which will remain timeless and legacy inducing. That, and the Pissed Off Wild album we have been working on for 2 years now, and that inches toward completion one stumble at a time.
MVRemix: Describe the progression and changes you went through between the release of Made in China, through Buck up Princess, and Midriff Music.
Josh Martinez: Made in China should be put on the wall next to family pictures with you as a kid naked in the bathtub so your mom can show your girl, and she can smile and say how cute you were then, but then look at you later like how could you have let her show me those photos you creepy perv. Itís a time and place in my writing and though I look back on the intentions with pride, itís filled with too many words and an absolute barrage of terrible vocal tones. But it was a start. Buck Up Princess was my first complete album. Though it took two years of road testing and a constantly shifting track list, as well as 10 different self-bootlegged version, it truly was a well constructed album and not just a collection of songs. I was also on the road constantly during this time which made me a better rapper, performer and more understanding of an audienceís needs and desires as opposed to just my own feelings on what made music listenable. I think buck up is the album Iím trying to make again, though with updated everything, a stronger focus on songwriting and harmony progression, and in using words without wasting them.
Midriff happened while I was trying to write Traditional Songwriting, and I just pulled a bunch of songs from that project and put my energies toward making a short album with one producer, something I had never done before. Iím really glad with how it came out and cant wait to work with Samix, the producer for the album, in the future
MVRemix: Aint no party like a _______ party, cause a ______ party donít stop.
Josh Martinez: Aint no party like a grown folks party, cause a grown folks party donít stop.