Further In Evil: An interview with Marthe
We’ve said this before but one-person projects are quite fascinating. Whether it’s the typical street musician adorned with a myriad of instruments around them or the bedroom artist that records everything by themselves, there are plenty of ways you could go when exploring this particular phenomenon in music. And in the grand scheme of things, there is perhaps no other music genre that spawned more one-person projects than metal itself, with Marthe being one the latest in that long list. Founded by Marzia Silvani, Marthe has a wide range of influences, which results in a sound that combines the sonic aggression of black metal, the brooding heaviness of doom metal and the epicness of heavy metal. Raw, distinctive and extraordinary are just a few ways to describe the music that Marthe has been putting out since 2018.
In late October, Marthe released her fantastic debut record, Further In Evil, which features incredibly powerful tracks such as “I Ride Alone” and “To Ruined Altars”. In lue of the release of debut record, we spoke with Marthe about her beginnings in music, her influences in and outside of music, and the creative and recording process behind her debut record, Further In Evil.
What was your first contact with heavy music growing up?
My first contact with heavy music was Metallica at the Freddie Mercury Tribute, in 1992. I was around 11 years old and I was a lot into Queen because of my dad’s records. I already knew Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, for example, but at the show, that I eagerly watched live on TV, I discovered above all Metallica and Guns N’ Roses, and all my life changed. After a few months, I heard “Fear Of The Dark” by Iron Maiden played on the radio the same year, I guess, and I ran to the record shop next to my house to get tapes. The shop became a meeting point and after Metallica I got mainstream metal stuff along with some more underground gems. My biggest love along with Metallica was Sepultura.
Was there any specific moment that made you want to start playing music?
When I saw Nirvana on TV. I was very young, I used to take piano lessons, I was really good in classical music. I started classical guitar too, but then I discovered Nirvana and that feeling of “I can do it myself” started being more and more present. I started approaching punk as well and a popular art at the time was the drawing of a three chords saying “this is chord, this is another, this is a third. Now form a band!” – now that I talk about it, I found out it has been credited to Sniffing Glue fanzine but it was actually on Sideburn #1 by Tony Moon. Until then I, along with many others, lived in the shadows of technical metal as something impossible to reach, but Nirvana, The Ramones, etc, proved to me and to us that the urgency of self expression was real and that’s why I approached punk as a musician and not metal. Punk was rougher, less complicated and where ideology takes over the technique. It was easier and I could form a band in zero time because it was more of an energy outlet than a real band, with political messages but still very rough in the beginning.
“Punk was rougher, less complicated and where ideology takes over the technique. It was easier and I could form a band in zero time because it was more of an energy outlet than a real band, with political messages but still very rough in the beginning.”
What were some artists that influenced and still influence you? And outside of the realm of music, where do you draw inspiration from the most?
L7 are my forever female ideal of a band, in everything. I got highly influenced by their style in playing but also their humor, they are one of a kind. I got influenced more by a specific movement, by the idea of DIY and “carpe diem”, rather than by actual artists. I’m maybe even too aware of the time passing by and all my desire of music, experience and passion is the fuel that keeps me going, I don’t want to live the regret of missing what I wanted to do. As a teen, my mum was kinda strict with me because I was very young, so I missed out a lot and promised myself it would never happen again when I could hang out with myself. This is my greatest inspiration, in general. Another female inspiration as a musician to me is Sheila E., I mean, I’ll never be so dedicated as she is, but I love her percussion style, now and then; she’s so versatile and passionate on drumming. She looks funny too as a person, she gets me on a good mood all the time.
By the way, two very inspiring people to me are Iggor Cavalera and Fenriz. I obviously don’t know them in person but my idea on them is absolutely positive. Probably no need to talk artistically but as people, Iggor has been in constant evolution, being somehow always progressing without becoming the cosplay of himself. He could surf the decades in total style with no compromise, taking big political stands in his public appearances, still in the scene and kicking, I totally admire him. Plus, he’s a Virgo like me! [laughs] Fenriz to me is the gatekeeper of passion, self-care and artistic freedom; a no drama person, hard-working, true to himself and his evolution, always playing what he feels and likes, always with humour, loves cats, loves hiking, loves sports and has the widest music knowledge ever, probably. To me, that I have a limited knowledge, I’m absolutely fascinated by these human encyclopaedia types. I absolutely admire Bruce Dickinson too for flying his fucking airplane, oh my god, and being at the same time a pilot, a scherma [fencing] champion, having a degree in History, and I totally love him in Iron Maiden. Same reasons for which I admire Bryan May for, I love him for his music and culture. I mostly take inspiration from nature rather than music, I love gothic atmospheres and old villages with no time, the most, and the forests.
Going into your brand-new debut solo record, Further In Evil, how was the creative and recording process like?
It was very linked to hiking and driving; I had ideas drafted while on some environments I like and drafted demos to re- record later. Sometimes a song takes a month or more, but it’s a cool process to me because I have fresh ideas when I open a project after some time, and I go on with the creation.
What were some ideas and themes you wanted to explore?
I wanted to be more introspective on my feelings; I’ve always had bands with more political-oriented lyrics. This time, I felt the urge to let my inner feelings out in a particular dark moment for me.
Considering your background in the anarcho-punk scene, did you find it challenging to delve into a more doom-oriented sound?
No, because, as mentioned in the first question, my first approach to music was metal and I always preferred heavy sounds, but punk was more my cup of tea. The whole DIY approach and attitude, the political content, and I always loved crust because it had the political lyrics and the heavy sound.
With the record out, what does the near future look like for Marthe? Is playing live something that is in the cards?
I hope the feedback will be good and people will like my record. I can’t wait to start the new one! I might decide to play live, but it’s a process that will take a bit, so let’s see what the future holds.
“I hope the feedback will be good and people will like [Further In Evil]. I can’t wait to start the new one! I might decide to play live, but it’s a process that will take a bit, so let’s see what the future holds.”
Interview by Filipe Silva
Photo courtesy of Marthe