Welcome back to the second appointment of Music Pool Berlin Ambassador, our new feature where we meet Berlin-based musicians and dig a little bit in their personal stories and their relationship with our unique and creative city. It’s also a nice way to get to know better some of the creatives parts of our Music Pool Berlin community and hear some of their first-hand experiences. If you’ve missed the first part of the series, just head up here to read it!
Today we are having a chat with Martha Rose, a Berlin-based musician from England, whose sound is a delicate and dreamlike combination of Casio pop and old English folk song, with sweet melodies alongside bitterly melancholic lyrics.
Martha was one of the musicians who took part (alongside French singer Paillette and multi-instrumentalist Shunya) at the beginning of 2018 to our “Three Cities” project, an international commission set up in partnership with creative organizations Le Fil smac in Saint-Étienne and Brighter Sound in Manchester. For the occasion, three musicians, each one representing one of the cities involved, had the chance to collaborate and create new music, working together across Germany, France, and the UK. Needless to say, Martha was our Berlin girl for the occasion.
Hi Martha is a pleasure to have you here! You are not originally from Berlin: when did you move here, and what were your first steps in the local music scene?
Yes, I originally came for a year in 2008-2009 to practice German. I quickly realized that there was a great music scene here, and met promoters like amSTARt and Fourtrack on stage, who were putting on great gigs with acts from all over the world and started up the Down by The River Festival. Somehow the universe flung us together, and that's how I first realized how much fun I could have playing gigs here.
How’s Berlin different from London, music-wise? Do you think it is easier to live here as a musician?
I haven't really tried living in London as an adult, so it's hard for me to say, but I think they are just quite different at the moment. I have some great friends doing music in London and Brighton who I visit and make music with sometimes, which makes me really happy. Of course, the rent is much higher there, which makes any artistic pursuit a bit harder. That also means that some of my London friends become very determined and hardworking in order to make stuff happen, which I admire and respect a lot.
You took part in a very special project organized by Music Pool Berlin, our “Three Cities” project: how was this experience? What was the best thing you took out of it?
Yes, it was a very interesting experience! It was a little bit scary at first, because it's a brand new project, and I didn't quite know what exactly was expected of me, but I loved it once we got started. It was great to travel to Manchester and St Etienne, I loved the vibe in both cities, and hanging with our local hosts and musicians felt pretty special. It gave me confidence, that even if you have no idea what music you will make, there is always a possibility to write some songs with some strangers, and become friends in the process.
Do you think it is important to foster collaboration among artists? And in your opinion, can that be considered also a form of “further education”, in terms of knowledge exchange?
This is a very interesting question. It is very challenging (in a good way) to try collaborating with different artists, and you definitely learn a lot from that. I just think music making should never be forced or unnatural. A lot of great music comes from very intimate inter-personal emotions, that cannot always be recreated by something too 'set up' in its nature.
I do think it could be considered a great form of further education if you see someone who is doing something you admire, and you have the opportunity to do a kind of 'internship' and learn from them or work together. I just think it's always great if there is a reason and a desire for connection behind any collaboration.