Blog: Behind The Interview: Talking To Martin Smith

May 22 2012

LTTM's Dave writes about catching up with former Delirious frontman Martin Smith to find out what he's been doing in the three years since the band finished.

While I was driving home from work one day last week, my phone rang. "Hello Dave, it's Martin Smith here" said the voice on the other end. We chatted briefly about how he had just finished recording his second solo EP, and he invited me over to his house to have a listen to it and do an interview with him.

So the following week I found myself knocking on the front door of Martin's house near Littlehampton, on the south coast of England. I was soon ushered into his home studio, a spacious room with countless mementos hung around the walls from his Delirious? career. The famous England football shirt with 'Smiff' written on the back that he wore at their Wembley concert back in the 1990s, a collection of photos of the band performing concerts around the world, souvenir discs from record labels. At the heart of the studio a large screen sits on the control desk where producer Trevor Michael was weaving his magic with Pro Tools whilst bass player Josh recorded takes for one of Martin's future EPs.

The studio was in semi-darkness, although Martin explained this was more to do with the fact that the lights interfere with the guitars more than creating an atmospheric studio vibe! In the corner stood a whiteboard with the Martin Smith master plan plotted out. On one side four EPs are listed, along with the songs planned for each. On the other side, the Spanish EPs he is recording, containing a mixture of his new solo material and a few familiar Delirious songs - all recorded with Martin singing in Spanish.

With Trevor and Josh taking a break from recording, Martin played me the four tracks from his 'Movement Two' EP over the studio speakers, while I sat back in a comfortable chair to listen. The songs follow a similar style to the first EP, a mixture of that rocking guitar sound Delirious were well known for, contrasted with more of a ballad, intimate, emotional song drawing inspiration from the car crash that nearly killed Martin right at the start of his musical career. It was a subject I brought up later in the interview.

After listening to the songs, we left the studio and headed to another room to chat. I began the interview by reminding Martin of some words he said last time I interviewed him back in 2009, where he said: "I need to sit on a hilltop for a couple of days and then find out what God would like me to do next. Every time I ask God about the future all I hear is 'just wait'." So what did God say to him next, I asked. Find out when the interview is published on LTTM later this week.

In the lengthy and wide ranging interview, we touched on his days with Delirious, what he's been doing since the band ended, and where he goes next. He revealed plans to record a live DVD with Jesus Culture next month. At times there was laughter, at other times it was more serious. There was even a short burst of him singing in Spanish, and a full 30 second pause with Martin in deep thought after I asked who he would pick if he could choose to co-write with anyone in the world. You'll have to read the interview to see who he finally picked.

Before I left the studio, Martin kindly signed a copy of his 'Movement One' CD for us to giveaway on LTTM, so keep an eye out for that competition coming very soon!

One thing that was clear is that he still feels like he is in a period of transition, and that he doesn't yet know all the answers. But one thing he was certain of is that he's not ready to hang up the microphone. "I don't have any big plans, but I do love playing live", Martin told me. "I think that is something that will never leave me, when you're in front of people - whether it's leading worship on a Sunday morning or doing a gig - it's just in me. I guess that's what I do really, deep down. I'm sure those opportunities will come, I don't know to what level anymore but all I can do is write these songs, put the music out and see what opens up."

Read the full interview with Martin Smith on LTTM later this week.

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