Partner-in-crime Meg Simpkins and I caught up with Martin Luke Brown before his show with Orla Gartland at The Institute. Martin is full of excited energy and within thirty seconds of us meeting, he was already gushing about the “best pie I’ve ever had” and insisting that we tried it after the interview. The conversation then naturally took a turn to the topic of cocky pigeons, al fresco urination and the plight of Joe McElderry…
How would you describe your sound?
What made you decide to give your EP away for free?
I guess I just want as many people to hear the music as possible. The hardest thing is letting people know I’m giving them out, cause I don’t want to be all ‘I’M GIVING IT AWAY FOR FREE GO GET IT’. I should get some kind of t-shirt cannon to fire out EPs during shows. I’ll probably end up like one of those guys in Camden just dishing out mixtapes with a Walkman.
What’s the food on tour like? You seem pretty chuffed with that pie…
BAD! Don’t get me wrong, that pie today was sensational, but you can see my rider over there, it’s just crisps and beer… what a dinner!
Did you hear about the Jack White guacamole rider scandal?
Yeah, the thing is that’s the kind of thing I’d do man. Like I f**king LOVE avocado. Nah, I don’t really make a rider request, I don’t want to be that much of a diva…
What’s been your worst gig?
Well there’s been some pretty f**king horrendous ones. The worst was a few Christmases ago, I was 18/19 and I played at this homeless shelter in Leicester. It was a bit of a weird place, it’s quite hostile… you’d think they’d be all grateful for the food, but they just fight over flavours of crisps and stuff, like ‘I WANT THE PRAWN COCKTAIL’, it was odd.
So anyway, you could smell the Christmas dinner being prepared, so I was thinking yeah ‘I’ll just play a bit and they’ll be getting excited for the dinner’. Anyway so I start strumming a bit of the guitar as like an intro, which was fine. But as soon as I started singing into the mic, this one homeless guy – who was sitting down fairly near – put his fingers in his ears and just started screaming. And I just turned to my mum in the kitchen being like ‘MUM what’s going on?? Am I that bad?!’. Turns out he had really bad tinnitus and something about the frequency of the mic just affected him. But every gig since then, I play the first song and I’m like ‘OH THANK GOD THEY DIDN’T SCREAM’
What kind of crowd response do you usually get, are we talking dancers or head bobbers?
Well most of it’s like fairly slow and stuff, but I’ve got a stomp box so we get some kind of Seasick Steve vibe bobbing.
Do you want Meg and I to start a moshpit tonight?
I’d f**king love a moshpit man. The wildest I’ve had was at Y Not Festival. I was completely smashed, like the most smashed I’ve been whilst performing. I played with a ‘band’ made up of my mates, we had like one rehearsal, and then went on and it was so funny man. I had like two mics set up so I could move around, and I got off the keyboard and went over to grab the other mic, but I was so enthusiastic that I just smacked myself in the face with the microphone. Anyway, I was bleeding like a LOT and didn’t realise. But then there was this instrumental bit, and I wiped my mouth and saw all this blood on my hand. And then I just like lifted my bloody hand up at the front of stage and the crowd went mental like ‘YEEEEAAAAAH’. It was hilarious, it was such a delicate song as well.
What is something that people wouldn’t know about you?
Well I’ve been tee-total for the whole tour, haven’t had any drink. Haven’t really had any caffeine either. I was gonna be vegetarian for the tour as well, which I did for a couple of days and then I just went steak crazy and had like a steak a day for a week.
Do you have any weird phobias?
[Martin’s manager George promptly interjects with “PIGEONS!”]. Yeah, pigeons a bit. Also potatoes. Not like a normal dormant potato, but you know when you leave them in the cupboard for too long and they’ve got the eyes on them. I can handle it though, I can handle pigeons as well they just make me flinch a little bit. Especially in London man, cause they’re soooo cocky. Like SO cocky. If a pigeon was walking towards me and I was walking towards the pigeon, I would flinch before the pigeon would.
What’s the best song to play live?
I guess Nostalgia at the moment, cause people know it. But different things resonate with different people. Like there’s one I wrote about my mum, and I always say ‘I wrote this one about my mum… cause I don’t have a girlfriend’ *Martin pretends to swoon*…*Meg actually swoons*. Then last night in Bristol after the show, there were a few middle aged women and they were like ‘that one you wrote about your mum’ *Martin swoons again*, and I was like ‘okay so that’s who that song resonates with…’
Would you say you’re quite mum-friendly then?
I think so, I always tend to get on really well with my girlfriends’ mums, which is cool. Cause if I was a parent and my daughter came back with a musician, I’d be like ‘woooah, watch out’. But generally I’m alright I think, it’s probably cause it’s acoustic, pretty harmless. Though if he was like ‘I’m gonna stay in my room and sing about my emotions’, I’d advise her to steer clear of that boy.
What song would you sing on the X Factor?
‘Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name’. 100%. I’d like deliberately sing it badly, and then at the end I’d be like ‘hey, you remember when that was number one?’…’F**k you Joe McElderry!’ Poor guy…
Where’s the weirdest place that you’ve p***ed?
OH MATE I WEED INTO A CUP, HERE IN THIS VERY VENUE! It was backstage when I was supporting Jess Glynne, and you can’t get from backstage to the toilets without going on stage, and she was playing so I couldn’t just wander up and be like ‘hey, don’t mind me, just nipping to the loo’. It was pretty horrible to be honest, there were some pint glasses lying around so I just seized the opportunity. It was more than a pint as well… The sad thing is, that’s probably not the weirdest place. I’ll wee anywhere, I’m a big advocate of outside weeing. A bit of al fresco p***ing.
Campaigner for outdoor weeing, you should put that in your twitter bio…
FREE THE URINE!