Martin Pronn Takes A Long Journey To Plastik Lies
At 10, a young Martin Pronn found his father's guitar tucked away in the back of a closet. Fearlessly, he dragged the instrument from where it was hidden and from that moment on, Martin Pronn was a guitarist. "My father, he was pretty much happy with me playing his guitar," laughs Martin, recalling the event. "He had stopped playing it, so he was happy that I had found it."
A few short years later, after playing in a variety of bands, a 15-year-old Pronn was playing guitar in the Canadian metal band Haze and Shuffle, which was eventually signed to Arista Records. Haze and Shuffle released the critically acclaimed "Get Your Haze" before calling it quits, and Pronn struck out on his own. He released his solo debut in 1997, "Dead Man in a Band," and soon followed it with the recently-released "Unsuperficial Madness."
"I just woke up one morning, and bang! Plastik Lies," says Pronn of his new band. "That's where the name of the band came from. At first, I used it in a song, the second song on the album, but then I thought 'Well, this is my band name for sure.' That was the name of a band I wanted to be in, Plastik Lies. I think it represents really well our society now. So I stuck with it and I'm still sticking with it," he adds, laughing.
"The songs on 'Unsuperficial Madness' came together because I had a really bad breakup with the mother of my kids," says Pronn of the album. "I started writing all summer, the summer of 2001. I started writing songs and writing and writing, and I didn't know it was going, but pretty soon, I realized I had written a whole album."
The album reflects the turmoil that Pronn must have been dealing with at the time, as anger and frustration seem to be a driving force behind many of these songs. The melancholy guitar riffs behind the metal ballad, "Can I Fly?" perhaps best reflects the overall feeling of helplessness that the voice that sings, "You look at me as thought I'm a nobody," in the song.
But as dark as they get, the songs all carry a strong thread of hope through them, too, mostly through the power of the music. This is guitar rock at its best, with driving percussion and bombastic power chords, hearkening back to the days when music was recorded starkly and harshly and felt as raw as a new razor blade.
"I don't write happy songs, but that doesn't mean I'm not a happy guy," says Pronn. "I like emotions, and for me, emotions are in sad songs. It's sad to say, but it's really like that. I don't feel that it's angry music, but it's right there. I'm ready to burn. That's all I want to say about it.
"For me, music is a way of life," says Pronn. "Music is not just writing music. You've got to live it, and that's why it reflect in my music. When you hear my music, you see a guy that's lives his emotions. If you don't do that, just stay at home. That's my opinion.
"I know a lot of people are thinking like me these days. It's about time someone stands up and says, 'Hey, listen!'" He pauses for breath. "You've got to know how to write songs first of all, you know? And a lot of people write songs, and they think that because they've know a couple of chords , they can write a song, but no, that's not the way it works, man. You've got to live it, too. That's the first step in writing music, is to live it."
Despite, or perhaps because of, his experience dealing with a major record label in his previous bands, Pronn decided to release his own music on his own label, Secret Society Records. "These days, you don't have any choice, any freedom, when dealing with a major record label," says Pronn. "A major record label doesn't give you any choices, so if you want to do something your way, you've got to do all the work on it yourself, and that means everything—the recording, the distribution, setting up the tours—everything. If you don't do it like that, you stay at home. It's really sad, but what could we do?
"I would love to be discovered on a beach, like the Doors or something, but that's not the case these days. You've got to work your thing, and you've got to be sure what you do. It's got to reflect in your music. I don't know about the other bands, but for me, it was really essential to record the album myself, to have control over the product.
"I think the title of this album really reflects what's on it," he adds of 'Unsuperficial Madness'. "I didn't want nothing superficial on it, and nothing on that album is superficial. There's no tricky studio effects and all that, there's no double voice. Everything is really on one take. Music for me, it's like Zepplin used to do it, and Sabbath. It's one take, it's 'let's do it.' So that's what I tried to keep with this album.
"And that's the message behind this album," finishes Pronn. "Just, 'let's do it.' Do your own thing, and do it with heart."
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