Quintin Goynes | ManIntheMiddleqg
1. When and why did you start singing?
I started to sing in a choir at the age of 5. I have always expressed myself through music, so my mom got me into the choir as soon as I was old enough to be able to sing lyrics. Then I attended music school, called Adolf Fredriks Musikklasser, from the age of 9 until I was 15 years old.
2. Which instruments do you play?
My voice is my main instrument. But I do play a little bit of guitar and piano when I’m writing new songs, or when I haven’t got an instrumentalist who can back me up.
3. What was the first tune(s) you learned?
Well, the very first tunes I learned was the children’s songs we sang at nursery school.
But the first one I wanted to learn myself, was “Rock N Roll” by Led Zeppelin. When Jimi Page played the guitar solo I went crazy, jumped up on the table and danced till I was totally exhausted.
4. Is your family musical?
My father used to play saxophone, flute and accordion in his two bands: Radio Balkan and Berits Halsband.
My sister is a vocalist and composer. She also plays the piano very well.
5. Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.
My dad used to be a musician. He was touring with his band back in the days. My mom has a nice voice and a good musical ear. But she didn’t take her talent further than singing lullabies for me and my siblings.
My older sister attended the same choirs and went to the same music schools as me. She composes and sings as well. She is a big inspiration for me and she has always supported my dreams within the music.
My younger brother has a beautiful voice and a creative soul. Maybe he’ll release something in the near future. I wouldn’t be surprised.
6. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
I always seek new inspiration, unpredictable music and sounds to help me progress.
Some artists I admire are:
Patti Smith with her worn voice and beautiful poems.
Betty Davis’ playful, funky arrogant and rhythmic vocals.
Monica Zetterlund’s wonderful storytelling voice, her soothing improvisation and phrasing.
Sinead O’Connor’s vulnerable and imperfect voice.
Nina Simone (of course.) She is everything I love: spirit, jazz, lullabies and melancholia.
Bjork. Everything she is, is just art.
Pink Floyd is one of those bands I grew up with. The album my dad played the most for me was “Division Bell”.
The male vocalists with the worn dark voices and beautiful lyrics: Leonard Choen, Nick Drake, Lou Reed, Neil Young..
And of course the Queen’s and King’s of Motown: Aretha Franklyn, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner..
7. Which famous musicians have you learned from?
I never stop learning. Every day I seek for new sounds and expressions.
Of course I got inspired by big artists’ vocal techniques, composing and sounds in different ways. To name a few:
Fink, London, Bon Iver, Grammar, Lykke Li, Moby, Mazzy Star, Massive Attack, Portishead, Hooverphonic, Leonard Choen, Monica Zetterlund, Neal young, Nick Drake, Nina Simone, Imogen Heap, Patti Smith, Miles Davis..
But I think I learn the most from the artists that are different from me and my sound. That is what triggers my mind and creativity the most. Unpredictable things I wouldn’t have thought of or come up with, myself.
8. Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?
My first music teacher was Lena (I don’t remember her surname), George Riedel and Stefan Nilsson. They were the teachers and leaders for the music choir I first went to as a child. All of them are Swedish musicians and composers.
From the age of 8 I’ve taken private vocal lessons for the vocal coach Viveka Hellström. She is a very important person to me when it comes to music. Another important vocal coach and inspiration I’ve also had sessions with is a swedish singer songwriter called Eva Hillered.
9. Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.
My first instrument was obviously my voice. A part from that I played the violin, piano and guitar. But The one instrument I held on to is vocals.
10. What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
When I was 5 years old my dad took me to a BB King concert. He’s a journalist and he had made a feature on BB King’s biography. BB King had an upcoming concert in Stockholm, so my dad sent a fax to BB Kings manager, asking for two tickets for the concert for him and his daughter Marta.
He got a reply from BB King that said we were welcome to the concert. BB King said that he also had a daughter called Marta, so I was a special guest with a free ticket.
I don’t remember much from the concert, but I remember sitting on my dad’s shoulders to be able to see the big blues king perform for a crowded concert hall.
That was the beginning of many more concerts together with my dad, with big music legends.
11. Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?
I am influenced by lots of LP’s and records my father played for me as a child. Such as: Division Bell, Dark Side of The Moon, JuJu by Marcus Miller, The Köln Concert, Joni Mitchell, Kind Of Blue, Monica Zetterlund’s jazz collections..
12. Who are your favorite musicians?
Like I said, I seek for new artists and music groups every day. But some of my favorites, that I never get tired of listening to are:
Nina Simone, Monica Zetterlund, Miles Davis, Neil Young, Billie Holiday, Massive Attack, Moby, John Coltrane, Chet Baker, Leonard Choen, Nick Drake, Portishhead, Massive attack, Amy Winehouse..
13. Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?
I have never been in any big competition. I don’t believe in competitions within music and art. But I would be extremely happy to win a prize for something I’ve created, of course. It’s an honour to get a good response and positive reaction for your inner emotions written down to a piece of music.
14. Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV?
Yes, I perform and have been performing in many different ways. I’ve been singing in different music projects for a few years. I’ve performed with my class at my previous music school. We did several concerts a year.
I am now performing with my solo project. I’ve got a lot of plans and projects coming up. So stay tuned!
I am also a member of the band Armada Named Sound. We perform mainly in London. But we’re planning to tour in several European Cities in the near future.
I also compose and do live performances with the songwriter and producer Scott Thompson.
15. Do you play for dances? Step-dancers? Describe the differences.
No, I don’t play for any dances. But I might will sometime in the future. You never know..
16. How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
The older I get the better I am with embracing mistakes. I have heard that mistakes peel off the “too perfect” layers and brings out the nerve and charm. I must say that I agree.
If I make a mistake wether it’s live performance or recording, I don’t stop. I never stop. Every recording or take and every performance, is the one and only. Here and now.
17. Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
Of course I get nervous. It’s the best natural drug for bringing out your best.
No matter how nervous I get, I trust myself and believe I’ll use those nerves for a good, focused and present performance.
18. What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
You just have to do it, that is how you’ll learn how to get better and manage how to handle the nerves. After a while you’ll actually see those nerves as an important part of the performing process. Never fear to fail. Avoiding and not giving it a chance, is feeding the inner critic.
Trust me. I have done so many mistakes. Those mistakes really helped me getting closer to what is ‘me’.
19. Do you attend sessions? What makes a good session?
Yes I do. That is my day to day life. A good session is all about good teamwork, respect, letting go of your ego and being open minded – still being yourself of course, being able to receive constructive critique and being honest. It’s a balance between being extremely focused and let go, and being playful.
Another very important thing is to always have a deadline. The deadline makes a creative and dreaming mind being able to complete things.
20. How often and for how long do you practice?
It depends. If I gotta do a good intense performance with lots of chest voice, I practice a few hours a day. But honestly, most of the time I just get to know the song, go down to the core of the story and emotion. Then, when it’s within me, I naturally crave to sing it. Then I do that one take, as if I would have been on stage: the one and only take. Even if I do a mistake I don’t stop. Never stop. Intense, present and genuine can not be perfect. It has to be convincing. Like my vocal coach Vivake Hellström always told me when I started to doubt myself:
“No matter how hard you practice you have to really mean what you sing. Thats the one and most powerful thing you’ve got. Your heart.”
21. What do you practice – exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?
At the moment I am practicing songs from both the EP and Album by Armada Named Sound, for our upcoming gigs and shows. Here I work a lot with releasing the voice and making the songs more personal.
I get to know each song as a short story, I process it and see how I can find myself in each song whether it’s based in the now or in parts of my history. I synch with each song and make it meaningful and important to me. Then I retell the story with my voice and emotion. Of course always with Spiros Maus’ input and directions. He knows my vocals and range by heart, so he knows when to push me to achieve the best I possibly can.
Then it’s several projects and songs here and there, that I gotta learn and retell, through me and my voice.
I also practice my own songs for upcoming gigs. Here it’s more about being present and steady as I already feel the song and how I want to express it, since it’s written by me.
I have also started another project with a great producer and songwriter called: SDDx. So stay tuned!
I collaborate and perform with the songwriter and producer, Scott Thompson, that I mentioned earlier in the interview. We’ve also got a few releases comping up!
23. Do you teach music?
No, I don’t have the time I’d need to teach at the moment. A teacher who doesn’t have the time for being involved and enthusiastic with each individual student, is not a good teacher.
But maybe I will sometime in the future..
24. How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?
Deadlines and routines. I can’t create without inspiration. Inspiration, is the life I decide to live. I am my own employer, so I make my own timetable every week and I make sure I don’t mix up life and obligations.
That doesn’t mean my music companions aren’t also being very good friends of mine. I believe they’ve got the same mindset as me, that’s why we focus so well together and can also bring constructive critique without taking it personal, instead with respect and value.
An Exclusive Interview (Stay Connected): Marta
25. So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in Södermalm, in Stockholm. I don’t think I decided to become an artist. It’s more like, I just had to express myself and fulfill all my ideas and dreams that were boiling within. Without music I can’t be happy.
26. How did you come up with that name? What was your inspiration behind it?
My real name is Marta Einerstam Karis. But it’s too long, therefore I only kept Karis for my artist name.
What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
Being a freelance musician and artist is not easy if you’re not a superstar. So in that way I wish I could do something to support musicians just like me. But on the other hand I always believed that art, in all forms all over the world, should be free and for free. That’s the strongest human weapon in a crazy world like this.
27. Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Never believe that someone else gonna do it for you. If you want something you gotta work hard and throw out a thousand hooks. Then hopefully you’ll get something back.
This is not a negative hint. It’s the beauty and bittersweet thing about doing what you love. It is not easy, but it’s worth everything. You gotta be your own manager, employer, coach and promoter.
Think of who you are, what you want to represent, your goals and what inspires you. If you don’t know that, you can’t find the people, events, producers or platforms you’ll need or reach out to your future audience.
Never give up, (almost) never say no and don’t expect anyone to do anything for you.
28. Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Like I said earlier, of course I do. I stay steady and keep on singing. Every song is the one and only shot. I want to enjoy every second of it, including the mistakes, if some would appear. As long as I’m being 100% me.
29. Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Yes, at the moment I’m touring with Armada Named Sound. There are a few gigs coming up and there will be more.
There are also performances comping up with my solo project and Scott Thompson.
30. Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
I can be inspired by so many things. Movies, poems, live performances on youtube, youtube clip in general, old lullabies.. memories.. whether it’s a feeling left of a memory or a whole story. I am a very nostalgic person. I think a lot about time and changes, the past and the present. The longing. That you can hear in many of my songs.
I also get inspired by the people I meet in life. Other peoples’ stories and experiences.
The human way of understanding, reaching out to each other and learn from each other, through emotions. It’s fascinating and beautiful.
31. Do you have a band website? What online platforms do you use to share your music?
Yes, I’ve got my website: http://www.martakaris.com
So far I just share my music on soundcloud and youtube.
But in the near future you’ll be able to find me on Spotify and Bandcamp.
I will also release a few music videos with different music projects.
32. What are some really embarrassing songs that we might be surprised to notice on your mp3 player?
That would probably be some mumbling voice memo recordings, or garageband demos.
Still, that is what the musicians I work with gotta put up with all the time: mumbling vocals and made up words. I’m talking about the very first, basic idea of a song.
33.If you were given half a million dollars and a year o×, what would you do? How would you spend it?
I would buy a studio and spend my days creating, hopefully being able to produce and arrange everything myself although I love teamwork. The people I work and make music with are one of my biggest inspirations and source of motivation. Music and freelance can be the loneliest platform. Gigging with the band and recording with other musicians is one of the best things with being an artist. It’s actually one of the best things in life!
34. Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
There’s always something new coming up with Armada Named Sound, whether it’s a song, a cover or gigs.
There are also several collabs and sessions that will be recorded, as I mentioned before. I’m working on my solo EP and also the projects I have with SDDx and Scott Thompson.
There will also be lot’s of studio sessions and live performances coming up.
35. How do you invent ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
I always hear that I gotta promote myself better: share and upload more on social media etc. I will be more active on social media and most importantly, I hope I’ll be able to reach out to more listener and platforms for my music.
36. If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
I would love to sing a duet with Trent Reznor. He is one of my favorite male vocalists, songwriters and producers. He’s equality good at expressing vulnerability and intensive aggressive madness.
It would be nothing special.. Just vocals and an old piano. Clean and simple.
37. If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
I don’t want to ever have to chose something else instead of music. I would probably do anything that is as close to music as it can be.
For sure something within art: theater, dancing, drawing..
38. Do you remember buying your very first album? Who was it? What was going through your head?
My first bought album was with the Swedish artist Dilba. I loved her soothing flowing voice and melodies. I still do.
She made me get to know myself and understand myself better. The longing for understanding and completeness one can only find in music. I wanted to be able to express what I felt, being able to sing it. I think she moved me so strongly also because she was one of the first self chosen CD’s I bought and played.
39. How do you juggle the rest of your responsibilities while trying to stay ahead in your music life?
I don’t really know what to reply for that question. Every week is unpredictable in a way. I always seek new challenges and experiences. I don’t want to say no to meaningful projects. What makes me hold on and what makes me push myself harder, is the happiness and completeness I find in music.
40. What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
They should look forward to see me perform both with my solo project and Armada Named sound. They can expect hearing my voice both within the alternative ambient genre and electronic music. Maybe even more.. What will always stay the same, is me.