Having grown tired of the politics and disappointments that accompanied being in bands he was a part of, Norwich-based Gent – aka Andy Martin – has gone it alone with a DIY ethos to a rocky brand of music he has termed “punk n’roll.”
Andy saw the move away from being in bands as an escape from missing out on exciting opportunities as a result of other people not necessarily having the required level of desire. And now the pressure is all on him to make it work.
Andy tells us: “I think a lot of people want to be in bands and go far, but when they see just how much hard work and sacrifice is involved to ensure that you can turn it into your career. I think the sacrifice part, in particular, terrifies people.
“It’s easy to hide behind your bandmates if they’re better at certain things than you are, whether that be musical, promotion, networking etc. I don’t have that luxury now and to write and record all the instruments myself, then go through the video and marketing process, and to have to figure it out, and learn from your own mistakes. It’s a great challenge, and there’s also nowhere to hide, so you have to step up and do it!
He’s just released debut single Warning Sign, which he tells us is mellower than most people accustomed to his music may have expected from him. He says: “I’d spent a long time waiting to unleash this on the world, but at the same time I was unsure how it would go. It enabled me to be more original with the writing. I’m usually influenced by grunge with small elements of other things, but the verses, in particular, got me thinking of David Bowie, Frank Carter, blues and folk all rolled into one and I pushed out of my comfort zone to see where it would go.”
Warning Sign begins with a flicker of guitar and bass that continue through an opening vocal-led verse then bigger guitars and drums kick in. A cool chorus descending vocals kicks in with layers of guitar adding depth to the sound, then kicks back into the almost folk-rocky verse, which is followed by a cool little guitar lick with cries of “Yeah” in the background.
This is where the song really kicks into life, as the meandering guitar boosts into overdrive with repeating riffs that push into a bigger chorus. Then a big guitar solo comes in over heavier guitar and drum support and drops into a more laid-back verse that builds up gradually towards a final smash of the chorus.
Check it out in the cool video below which does, to warn you, involve two grown men in tutus.
On the fairly unique video for the single, which is all about the breakdown of a relationship, Gent explains he didn’t want to do the cliched relationship breakdown video: “I didn’t want to just be standing there with an instrument playing the song – anybody can do a video like that and I wanted to do something different. So I began thinking about how can I make myself look as stupid as possible but have it kinda make sense?
“I actually had a lot of fun coming up with the ideas, I got my best friend in the world in to act alongside me, we love doing stupid things together (although I was surprised he agreed to dress in a tutu with me without a lot of persuasion (beer). Then I got some other friends, who happen to be models, Noir Candy and Laura Van Venom, for the female roles. They were great and very supportive with ideas and then, of course, there’s the mystery Gent!”
While on the release of the single itself Gent tells us: “It was a year’s worth of planning and work. It was frustrating at times as when you’re on a small level, you sometimes have to save money for weeks before you can get back in the studio. All the time ideas are flowing that you can’t do anything with yet, so you write down the best ones and all you can do really is wait! The plus side was I had more time for better ideas for the video, in particular, to come through, and the feeling of euphoria when I finally got to release the single I’d been working on for a long time was amazing.”
Gent’s musical development was born out of a Nirvana obsession and subsequent Seattle scene that developed into a love for Foo Fighters and a load of American bands alongside British hardcore punk band Ghost of a Thousand. More recently he’s gotten into bands like The Kut, Hands Off Gretel and She-Wolf, as well as Marmozets and local metal band Kaine and The Killing Culture.
And there are hints of his rocky background in Warning Sign, but Gent tells us we can expect future tracks to be a little rockier, as he explains: “In an era where there don’t seem to be many new hard rock acts coming through, I’m doing exactly that, because… well… someone’s got to do it! If you get a buzz from the likes of the Foo Fighters and the Seattle sound, there’s a great chance that you’ll enjoy Gent. If other forms or rock/alternative/pop rock are your thing, give it a shot as I like to dabble with varied ideas so you never know what you may get from me. I like to play the type of music I always have, but I also like to surprise people from time to time! I think it’s important that artists experiment, just to save from being pigeon-holed as one style if nothing else.”
There’s plenty more to come too, with Gent on the lookout for gigs and working on new material. He tells us: “I’ve also been writing an anti-homophobia song, (which was) initially a reaction against the articles which came up on social media detailing the persecution of gay people in Chechnya. But I think it doubles up to give anybody strength, to be proud to be yourself and see the beauty and awesomeness inside of you. I think it’s very easy to go into a downward spiral in the world and it’s always good to remind people how awesome they really are every now and then!”