GEAR TALK TUESDAY: An Inside Look at Walter Martin's Studio
  • TUESDAY, MAY 30, 2017

  • Posted by: Kirsten Spruch


“I have a song called 'If I Were A Tiger' which has sort of an Astral Weeks kind of vibe... There's all that really incredible bass playing. I was trying to copy that style but I did it in a very sloppy way... But I kind of like the way it came out," Walter Martin of The Walkmen admitted to us when we visited his studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We had originally dropped by to check out his Kay upright bass, but the magic of the place where he writes and records led us to so much more. His '74 strat, a Randy Newman autograph, microphones, a Yankees hat, a piano, and a mid-60s organ held together by duct tape are just a few of the things that help shape Martin's creative space, and it comes through in his music.

"I don't even know if it's supposed to be quiet if you're a really good bass player. I actually don't know," he told us as he continued to offer a little upright bass performance. Even though he doesn't know too much about the technical aspect of the bass, it's something he completely embraces and uses it in his own way. Although he's clearly capable of playing the instrument wonderfully, Martin kept joking around, saying that he's not a "real bass player," which was actually refreshing to hear. For Martin to pick an instrument that he thinks he's not well-versed in and show us that yes, there is a way to use it anyway, gives aspiring musicians a lot of hope. It also helps give him that raw, authentic sound which you can hear on his latest album, My Kinda Music, out now.
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