The Marks of Genius

Posted June 26, 2008 in Feature Story

Certain things happen accidentally for a reason, right? Much could be said about Jason Martin, who never intended to be a lead vocalist for his rock band Starflyer 59. Even after countless releases stemming from a wicked 15-year career as a frontman, Martin continues to write off his role as one of the most iconic voices in the present underground.


“I still don’t think of myself as the guy that sings in the band,” he says. “I think of myself as a guitar player and songwriter over singer any day.”


Martin can think whatever he wishes, but come this fall his legion of devotees will expect to hear their favorite vocalist’s quivering, whispery pipes floating amidst the ten tracks of Dial M, Starflyer’s forthcoming full-length.


So what’s to be expected of the new album? Martin’s not revealing much, but he is noting that it’s more acoustic-based and has gone for a little more of a “Fleetwood Mac vibe—if that makes any sense.”


Dial M was recorded at Martin’s Riverside-based studio. However, he doesn’t just use it for his own projects, as he’s done a lot of mixing and mastering for other acts as well, including such notable artists as Cold War Kids, Project 86 and Stavesacre.


Originally from Riverside, Martin moved to Orange County where SF59 got its start. But after a marriage and two kids, he moved his operations back to Riverside to afford a house. “You can never escape Riverside, man,” he adds. “You’ll always come back.”


Martin doesn’t get out much to check in on the local scene. He’s been busy with studio projects, recording tracks for The Birthday Boys (plus Pacifico and The Saturday Club in coming months). He also just wrapped an album for a project he’s been doing with his wife called Bon Voyage. BV’s third album, Lies, was released Tuesday on Tooth & Nail, and aims for a more ’80s synth-pop vibe—a decidedly different tangent from his dark, brooding guitar-fueled Starflyer fare. To add to the pile, he’s been writing tracks for other artists, including Pedro The Lion’s David Bazan. And he’s been landing some song placement on television shows, which certainly helps the cash flow for his household (Martin’s a rare early-morning rising rock musician, who also drives a truck for a living) and gives him an additional source of inspiration, if anything.


“It’s pretty cool,” he says of the placement. “It’s not like you’ll get rich off the stuff, but you’ll get a couple thousand here and there. We’ve got songs played on that TV show Chuck and, I don’t know, Touched By An Angel, all those random shows. There’s a lot of that going down. But there’s always that buddy that landed that Volkswagen commercial for a couple hundred grand. So, at least there’s something for which we can all dream about.”



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