Matt Martians wants you to know it’s okay to be hurt.
The Internet’s keyboardist has been hurting, but he’s better now. One emotional breakup and a series of tests propelled Martians to make his sophomore solo record, a testament to moving on coping, entitled The Last Party.
Having just turned 30, Martians was endowed with an equal series of realizations that honesty and self-actualization are the keys to being strong. His newfound growth and security are why he’s throwing a party for his flaws. He’s done with them now.
“The Last Party is the last party of me being insecure about a lot of things in my life and being insecure with myself,” Martians tells me. “It’s like the last party of a lot of things that I didn’t like about myself. The first party started when I started doing music and I started caring what people thought about my music, and I kinda got wrapped up in caring about what I was making as opposed to what I was making. This is the last party of me giving a fuck.”
And what a send-off it is. The Last Party comes from a place of triumph. Difficult songs about moving on are enveloped in sunny soundscapes and the honest tone of Martians' natural singing voice.
There is a welcome and seeping quality to the music, and as a wizened breakup record, there is no erratic pettiness to drive the album. Instead, Martians approaches this project as a space of healing and constant, healthy realization. The product is the best album of his solo career.
“I made this album in two weeks!” Martians beams. “What happened was: I went through the breakup, and then we went on tour for three months, so I didn’t really have any time to cope. I was on the road the next week. When I got home, I had all this pent up… I wanted to get out, as a part of me moving on.”
In the process of moving on Martians realized the only thing that matters is 100 percent honesty and understanding of self. As long as you are honest with yourself and know who you are, according to Matt Martians, nothing can hurt you.
Sounding clear as ever on the project and equally lucid during our interview, I’d be hard-pressed to call Matt Martians a liar. He is healed now, and the music is better for it.
DJBooth’s full interview with Matt Martians, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.
DJBooth: Since the album is called The Last Party, I want to start by asking you what the first party was like.
Matt Martians: Let me explain the album title: The Last Party is the last party of me being insecure about a lot of things in my life and being insecure with myself. It’s like the last party of a lot of things I didn’t like about myself. The first party started when I started doing music and I started caring what people thought about my music, and I kinda got wrapped up in caring about what I was making as opposed to what I was making. This is the last party of me giving a fuck [laughs]. The first party was me when I moved to the LA, or the first Internet album.
This album is also about heartbreak and trust. You open with “You don’t have a clue what love is.” How do you communicate that pain in the music?
Cause I don’t talk a lot. Not talking a lot allows me to process things a lot more as opposed to if I was trying to reach out to other people to figure things out. Before I released [the album], I went through a really emotional break-up and instead of lashing out and telling all these people and trying to put this energy into all these other places, I’m not gonna say anything. I’m gonna put all of how I feel into this album.
Was it surprising to make another album after you swore you’d never make another solo?
Yeah, it was [laughs]. I made this album in two weeks! What happened was: I went through the breakup, and then we went on tour for three months, so I didn’t really have any time to cope. I was on the road the next week. When I got home, I had all this pent up… It wasn’t even negative, it more so these realizations. I had a bunch of them that I wanted to get out, as a part of me moving on. So I always tell people this album is more so an album I made for myself to cope more so than for people to hear. Did you ever think of making another album? Not really. I made it so I could feel better and move forward.
What about the process of creation is healing for you?
The making of it period, because when I was going through the things I was going through last year, it was hard for me to make music because I had such bad anxiety. For a whole year, I didn’t make one beat. For me to come home and in two weeks make a whole album, it was like… Wow, you’re getting past the barriers you had set up before. I always tell people I didn’t wanna make another album because I didn’t have nothing to talk about [laughs]. Now, I got a bunch of shit to talk about and I love making music. Making music genuinely makes me happy.
What’s the most important realization you had about yourself to make this album?
That if you make an album that’s completely you and it’s completely honest, nobody can tell you if it's good or bad, because it’s you. And if you’re content with yourself, you know who you are. I’m trying to really paint a picture of what I went through, not just add fluff. If you’re completely honest with yourself and you completely let down all your guards, you don’t have to worry about reception.
Have you always been an honest person?
I’ve always been honest. I always tell people: When you’re telling the truth, it’s only 85 percent. There’s that 15 percent you’re leaving out. A lot of us leave that 15 out of how we really, really feel. I just turned 30 and I’ve been having a lot of realizations. If you could be completely honest with people, there’s nothing they could ever bring to hurt you. There’s no weapon that could be formed against you if you know your truth. It’s a freeing feeling. It’s scary when you’re being honest, but at the same time, once you get that shit out, nobody can ever use it against you.
The best part of the album is listening to you move on. How did you train yourself to let go of the past?
Good friends, realizing the world is gonna keep sending you the same test until you pass it. That’s one thing I realized with relationships. I kept getting sent the same situations, a little different, and I kept making the same mistakes. I finally realized I was being tested and like I said, being 100 percent honest with yourself is the ultimate weapon that you have in life. I just started being honest and a lot of things really started falling into place.
I listen to “Moving On,” and it’s such a sad song, but it’s so triumphant at the same time. I want my album to sound like: “Yo, he was hurt, but he’s triumphant. He didn’t let the hurt completely break him down.” You’ll get through this shit, but it’s gon’ hurt!
Was that the most rewarding song to make on here?
I’d say so. That’s the most direct about what this album is about, I’d say. The thing is, it’s not about one person. It was triggered by one person, but it’s about all my past situations.
What was your biggest challenge producing this project? You said you didn’t produce for a minute.
Yeah… That’s why there’s a lot of other people on the album because when I started making it, I wasn’t inspired, beat-wise. Then it came with the flow, like things always do. But man, I feel like singing! I feel like telling [everyone] what’s going on. Whereas with Drum Chord Theory I wanted to do some weird shit musically, [for] this album, I just really needed a good background of beats to tell my story. At the end of this album, I don’t sing with any effects. I sing with my real voice. It’s my first time ever doing that. It’s sort of symbolic of me not hiding behind other things, like: This is me, accepted or not.
I have a buddy who thinks heartbreak is spectacular. Do you agree with that?
I don’t think heartbreak, the actual heartbreak… Once you’ve healed from it, you’re able to speak on both ends of the happy times and the bad times. When you’re going through it, a lot of times you’ll make very erratic music because you don’t really know your direction. I wrapped my head around the happiness and the loss. Like, damn, I’m recording the album from a place I never thought I would be. But I’m here!
Last question: What do you want people to come to know about themselves after they hear The Last Party?
I want people to realize being hurt is okay. Even somebody you’re not even connected with anymore, it’s okay to say you miss that person but you don’t want to go back to that situation. I want people to be okay with being vulnerable. I’m one of the leaders of my band and even in my band, I’m the older brother figure. A lot of times, it’s weird when I’m vulnerable because everyone is so used to me being the rock. It’s important for you to show vulnerability even if you’re the rock because it’ll allow everyone else around you to realize that you’re human.
Thank you for being so open.
That’s the problem with a lot of people, is they hold these things in. I just wanna help people. Like the song “Moving On.” I want people to hear that and realize everybody goes through that shit. Hey, it’s okay. Shit gon’ hurt, but shit gon’ get better as well.