Interview: With Montreal Rockers Alexei Martov

Alexei Martov is a three piece rock band from Montreal consisting of Martin Bradstreet and brothers Matthew and Jonah Dorfman. I recently had a chance to chat with Martin and Matthew about their latest LP and Alexei Martov’s plans for the future.

Debra Heather (DH): First, the name of your band is really unique, can you describe the meaning of Alexei Martov and how you guys decided on it?

Martin Bradstreet (MB):
I used to play a lot of music by Russian composers like Scriabin and Rachmaninoff, and my mum would see my raging away sometimes and ask me who wrote this one or that one. At one point I was playing a very aggressive original piece but it felt a little weird to be like “Oh that’s one of mine” while I was head banging away, so I said Alexei Martov. Wrote it, figuring it was a convincing lie. When it came time to choose a band name, that story had a little history and seemed a lot more epic than the generic approach of picking two words people recognized and sticking them together. Described a bit about the music as well.


DH: What are some of your musical inspirations and influences?

MB: The transition between day and night was what I was exploring most in my guitar playing when we recorded this album. All the songs take place either at day or night, usually out in the desert (at least that’s how I visualize them) so I’ve tried to find tones that illustrate that concept. I’m also always trying to learn how to play everything I know on guitar, on piano, and vice versa, so I have a more unified voice between the instruments rather than flitting between a million styles, so that’s pretty much an ongoing thing. In terms of actual people, I am still sticking with the most intense people I can find, Coltrane, Hendrix, Jack White.


DH: Let’s talk about Way of the Crow, the first single from your self-titled debut LP, what can fans expect to hear off this LP?

MB: As a whole, the LP is more balanced, like I mentioned above there are some more atmospheric tracks that we wrote imagining isolation in the desert… More piano… We got a Hammond B3 going in a few of the tracks and turned it up to 11 which gave us some great tones too, and Steve whipped out the old Mellotron for one song, so we ended up with a broader variety of textures compared to our first recording. Since Matt’s playing upright as well as electric bass now we can do that stuff live as well which is a lot of fun (We’re a three man band with a string section, I tell myself). There’s one slow one in there on side B, but the rest of it is pretty full on.

MD: The track itself was recorded in a day at Hotel2Tango w/ Howard Bilerman, even though we already had time setup to record our full LP later that year at Electrical Audio, Chicago (with Steve Albini, who we recorded our first EP as well). It was just too much to keep a track like that in the bag; it was ready to go! We called up Howard to see if he had a day free in the next week and we put it to tape. The same day we recorded a freaked-out piano and synth based version of Hendrix’s Manic depression. It’s the B-side on the Way of the Crow 7” vinyl.


DH:Where do you see the band five years from now?

MB: Well we’re basically on a full-time mission to get to Fuji Rock Festival Japan before we’re all in the ground, so hopefully off eating Ramen on the road somewhere… probably with a few more records and probably a somewhat different sound.

DH: Describe Alexei Martov in three words.

MB: Acid, Matches, yard-fire.

You can check out Alexei Martov at Casa Del Popolo  4873 Boulevard St-Laurent) along with two other bands, The Octaves and Eagles and The Opera, on Saturday September 12. Doors at 9 PM. Show starts at 10 PM.  $5/$8 at the door.