As a chapter is closing, a new one is on the horizon for MarthaGunn as they prep for the release of their highly anticipated coming-of-age debut record Something Good Will Happen.
When it comes to creating a body of work that encapsulates what it means to come of age, MarthaGunn has done it perfectly with their debut record Something Good Will Happen. Over the past year or so, the Brighton-based band has done some growing up — all separately as individuals and as a band, as evidently shown in their striking sound that’s a perfect blend of HAIM and The Weeknd.
Introspective and a lyrical force, Something Good Will Happen is a record that truly embodies its title — it is a powerful debut that serves as a reminder that after all of the letdowns, heartbreak, and other setbacks, something good really will happen if you allow yourself the space to grow into who you’re meant to be. Using the backdrop of the members’ most formative years as inspiration, the record is tinged with heartbreak and nostalgia; songs about losing oneself in a relationship, realizing you are no longer someone’s ‘person,’ and other similar and deeply relatable themes are prevalent throughout the album.
1883 spoke with lead singer Abi and chats about Something Good Will Happen, using songwriting as a form of therapy, finding inspiration in Kate Bush, and more.
Your first EP was released in 2019 and now you’re about to release your debut record two years later. How would you say you’ve grown as a band since then?
I would say we’ve grown a lot. People always pigeonholed us into being a rock band, but our tastes far exceed just rock. We love rock music, obviously, but I think there was always this burning desire within us that we wanted to make music that we hadn’t made before. From that first release up to now, one of the biggest things that have probably changed is just experimenting with how we arrange our music and how we produce it. Humphrey in the band is like a whiz kid on just everything to do with production. Often I’ll write something and he’ll go off with it for a little while and come back with all these other ideas. Our sound is a bit more modern and our influences in pop and r&b have come through. We’re really happy with the journey we’ve been on. When you come and see us live, we’re very much still a rock band. We just needed to get into the studio and try new things.
Yeah, when I was listening to Holding The Fire it sounds like it could be on a HAIM record, but some of the other tracks on your debut has some Fleetwood Mac & 70s influence and even The Weeknd. Those are not genres you’d put all in one category, but you guys killed it. What was it like crafting your sound?
It took us a long time to land on a sound we liked. We would make something and think, Yeah, that sounds cool, that’s the direction we should go in. As we make every song, we try and get some influences in there from other music that we like, like The Weeknd — his production is insane. It’s definitely been a long journey but we arrived! [Laughs]
This period in music is exciting because there really are no genres anymore; you’re releasing a record at a time where no one expects you to stay in a box. It must be an empowering time for you guys as a band.
Yeah, definitely. People love to put limits on what you can do, like with people putting us in the rock category. I just kept thinking but I like writing pop music, so how is this going to work? It’s our job to break out of those boxes. That’s why I love the HAIM records so much. The first one is pretty rock-focused, but less so on the later ones. When you see them live, they are a rock band. You wouldn’t necessarily put them in that category when listening to their records, though. Stop putting people in boxes, guys! [Laughs]
I love the shirts you made with the birth chart of your album and your corresponding signs. Why does astrology resonate with you and the band?
Thank you! That was my idea. I am the classic stereotype — I love, love, love astrology.
What’s your star sign?
I’m a Gemini sun, Scorpio moon.
I have a Scorpio sun, Gemini moon. We are the most hated signs.
Yeah but people just have the wrong idea! [Laughs] With the shirts, we just thought birth charts would look so cool and have it relate to the album. I really wanted it to be the release date, but with the way vinyl making goes, it can be delayed quite easily. Instead, we went for when we announced the album. The star signs on the front are the five of us in the band.
I love it so much, what a cool idea. The record is called “Something Good Will Happen”. Where did you guys come up with that name?
It’s so weird, but I remember this conversation vividly. It was approaching rapidly that we had to think of a name for this album. We were waiting for that aha moment where it would just come to us in a dream…. It never did. I was driving around Brighton with Humphrey and we were talking about our names and he said “something good is going to happen.” Sometimes when you feel like you’re in a rut or you just want to make some magic happen, you can try to create your own. There’s that Kate Bush lyric in Cloudbusting — “I just know that something good is gonna happen” — we thought it would be a lovely nod to Kate Bush. It’s you trying to remind yourself that something good will happen.
What a lovely message to have after the last year we’ve had. It’s a nice nod to the future which is exciting. I know the songs on the record are all inspired by connection and, obviously, in the last year, we haven’t had a lot of that. I’m assuming the majority of the album was recorded last year when we were all starved for connection. What was it like navigating these themes?
It was written throughout a couple of years. We recorded it in the tiny slot last summer when people were allowed to move around again and we finished just before everyone got locked down again. I guess over a couple of years navigating all of those feelings was pretty easy because it was just something that I was going through. The songs were about several people and I just tried to be as honest as I could with what I was saying.
I loved your quote on not exactly reinventing love songs, but rephrasing them so it sounds new. I know you’re a lover of love like me, so I am wondering what it was like to constantly try to look at love from a new perspective?
Sometimes when you write a song, you don’t always know what it’s about. It comes full circle in the recording studio and I can look back and think, Okay, I know what that’s about. With a few of the songs on this record, there was a real breakthrough moment for me in terms of writing because I really just said it how I felt, instead of like in previous years of me trying to hone my skill as a writer. I just tried to be a bit too clever or to be cool, but instead, I just decided to say exactly what I thought.
Something I love about this record is that you were inspired by things that didn’t even happen to you, like in I Had To Let Go, which is a standout track for me on the record. What is it like to put yourself in the place of someone else when you’re writing? What does that tell you about your own vulnerability in those moments?
It was so refreshing. I was so tired of talking and writing about myself. I asked my friend Johnny what was going on with him and he told me and we wrote it down and finished the song in a few hours. It was one of those really special moments; I felt like we’d done something really exciting that day.
I feel like that’s such a bonding experience, too, because you’re both being vulnerable with one another.
Yeah, it’s not always easy. Sometimes friends of mine will tell me about things that they’re going through and I feel nothing. With what he was saying and the mood of the day — it was kind of rainy in London — and everything just felt right in that moment given what he was telling me. It just all came together and just made sense.
See You Again cut me to my core. I felt so seen in that song and it felt like a therapy session!
God, I feel like I’m going to cry when talking about it. This one absolutely kills me every time I listen to it because it’s about somebody that I really love who lived far away from me for quite a while when we broke up. It’s about that realization when he found someone new, which was quite a few years after we ended things, that I couldn’t call him anymore when I’ve got problems. I’m not your person anymore. That just hit me like a ton of bricks. I broke up the relationship and I never thought that it would hit me so hard, just not being able to call him. I had to fully let go of him and vice versa for him to give himself wholly to that relationship. That one for me is probably one of the most personal songs on the record that still hits me like a ton of bricks. It sounds like I’m still working through something! [Laughs]
I appreciate you being so open and honest with me. When I heard it, I thought about how I went through the exact same thing. You don’t realize when you break up with somebody, you really are losing your person. It’s a jarring realization.
It is! I dated other people, too. I never told him that because I didn’t need to; we didn’t live in the same place. Whenever he would call me I would pick up every time, probably because I wasn’t giving myself fully to those relationships. There was part of me that hadn’t found that in someone else yet. So, when he finally found someone that encompassed everything he needed, it was a shock to the system. I’d be shocked if you didn’t know this one was about him. There’s a line in it that says “It’s getting late, but it’s early where you are,” because he moved to Australia. So, I’ll be damned if he doesn’t know that’s about him!
There’s something to say about your relationship; you both impacted each other so much to the point where you felt all these things and you needed to get this out of your system and make it a bit tangible for you to kind of work through it.
It’s actually the only song on this record about this person and it was one of the last songs to be written. I’m so glad that it came to me when it did. It wraps up a whole chapter of relationships for me and without it, I think the album would feel incomplete. The ultimate penultimate song.
What does this body of work as a whole mean or represent to you?
It rounds off a chapter of all five of our lives as we embark upon the next chapter which is probably trying to get our shit together. We’re all sort of looking at each other and trying to just fucking get it together, whereas before we were just reckless and young. We’ve been through a lot together and we’ve been in each other’s pockets for seven years. The things that each of us individually have gone through and together as a band, it feels like we’re tying a little knot on that chapter and seeing what comes next.
This album is very much a representation of building yourself back up and growing up through that. With that in mind, after someone is done listening to this record, what do you hope they take away from it?
I really hope people listen to this and relate to it; I hope that they can hear their own stories and their own thoughts within the words. I also hope they find some strength to be who they are and to go after what they want and not be worried about what people think. I think there’s, there’s so much pressure on relationships, whether you’re in one or you’re not in one, someone’s always got something to say about it. I just hope people do what’s right for them — they don’t stay in relationships that are stagnant and they move on from them.
Interview by Kelsey Barnes
MarthaGunn’s new single Undone is out now & their debut album Something Good Will Happen is out Sept 17th.