honk magazine

october 2002

part 1 of 1

martin carr sits down for a quiet pint with andy parsons, and talks about his new album, politics and electronica.

“i’m quite nervous about this, i haven’t done an interview in two years,” admits martin carr, otherwise known as bravecaptain whose solo self reinvention after the demise of the boo radleys and creation records has seen the singer relocate to cardiff and rediscover his songwriting form. “it’s good to be back though,” he adds “i’ve been so bored the last few months, waiting for the record to be released. i miss touring and i miss interviews and i’m not very good at filling my time if i’m not recording. i’ve found grand theft auto 3 and dub records pass the time quite nicely though.”

advertisements for myself is a very self-assured record, a bold statement put forward by a man getting his confidence back after the demise of his former band. it also sees martin make more use of electronics on this album, interludes of breakbeats, electro ambience and techno bleeps intersperse the more traditional songs and also augment them, a sign of martin’s current musical taste as well as the direction he wants to take the project. “when i came back as bravecaptain, i just wanted to do what i knew i could do – write songs, but over the last two singles, corporation man and the one i did for fierce panda with mc mabon, i got my confidence back to do what i wanted to do. i don’t really listen to guitar bands anymore. there is more electronic stuff on there but [this album] still sounds like what i do, it’s not tokenistic at all. the next single i’ve just done, for the boobytrap electronic project, is a lot more out there.

“i’ve been listening to a lot of kid606 and knifehandchop recently, though i’m more inspired by their music rather than trying to sound like them. i’ve always been a fan of squarepusher, but now i think he’s gone over the top of genius; that track red hot car and the do you know squarepusher 12”, they just take it all up a notch. i asked dj scud to do a track on my album and unfortunately he couldn’t, so i worked with kris jenkins from bench instead, a bit of drum and bass.”

surprisingly, though, given the album’s sound, most of it was recorded live rather than on laptops like so many others. “i kept it basic, because i’ve got the equipment, but still don’t know how to use it. “ martin jokes. “i bought pro-tools two years ago and it’s still in its box. i used fruity loops for some of the instrumental tracks i recorded after the rest of the album, and between then and now i’ve actually taught myself how to programme some of the more complex music packages.” a strong sign that future bravecaptain material will continue in this vein.

politics has always played a part in martin’s music and the new album is no exception. whilst titles like the blair bush project (“i was going to use that as a side project name, then thought, nah, i’ll use it on the album.”) may gently poke fun at the current status quo, the lyrics of tracks like stand up and fight and i was a teenage death squad are a much more open attack on government’s attitudes. “i try not to sermonise,” he explains “i’ve got no real political grounding, all i know is how i see things and what i feel. there are a couple of things on the album that i think are put a bit clumsily but it’s better than having nothing at all. i used to be quite forward about stuff when i was with the boo’s, and creation was as well, but we kind of went our ways over the whole new labour thing, we weren’t enamoured by that.”

martin speaks very fondly about his time on creation, “i used to have a picture of alan mcgee on my wall when i was a kid, all the records i loved were on creation, then we were signed there which was very weird.’ and says he misses the other members of the boo radleys a lot. “i don’t really get to see them, i saw sice the other day, but that was the first time in a year or so. they’re all doing well. bob was going to play with me at the gig we’re doing on 12 october, but he’s broken his foot and couldn’t make the rehearsals.”

the biggest legacy of his time with his old band is, of course, the massive radio hit of wake up boo. but martin doesn’t consider it an albatross: “i’ve no regrets at all,” he says. “i regret the choices of the next couple of singles, which were not right at all and that’s where we lost it. i keep on having to turn down release forms for it to be used on tv, but liverpool fc want to use it as part of a documentary about the club, so i said double yes for that. i don’t mind it being on kids programs either. but i hate advertising. ninety-five percent of the stuff that’s advertised we don’t need and these advertising executives would do anything to get you to buy their product.”

a good guess then, martin’s dislike of adverts is the reason behind the title for his new album, but even if the tracks are just for his own self promotion rather than anyone else’s, they’ll do his reputation no harm at all.


Honk Magazine