Martina Edoff is coming to the UK next week for two exclusive shows held on the 14th April at The Robin 2 in Bilston, and the 15th April at Railway Venue, Bolton.
It's the first time she has visited the UK as a solo artist. Her second album 'Unity' was released in late 2015 and is packed full of high quality Nordic Melodic Rock.
MetalTalk caught up with Martina as she prepares to travel from Sweden, to get the lowdown on these dates, and catch up with recent happenings.
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Hi Martina – good news about you visiting the UK even though it is a bit of a flying visit. How did this come about?
We've been thinking a lot about coming to England for a while, and we were offered a gig at The Railway, Bolton - they said we are closing the venue so if you want to come you have to come now. All right then! So we had to settle everything so very quickly, but next time we promise that we will have more time in advance to put a longer tour together. We are very excited to be here for the first time.
It is your first time solo, but did you play here with The Poodles or previous bands?
Not with The Poodles, but I was there during the 90s with both E-Type and Dr Alban.
Of course, you went from hip hop to this wonderful Nordic Rock – performing-wise is your experience between the genres very dissimilar apart from the obvious musical differences?
Well from the bottom of my heart it's always been rock music closest to my heart, I've always said if I am going to go solo then it would be my kind of music which is rock. But I've been working as a freelance for so many years and I had to do everything, all the types and genres that I was offered.
It was huge, here in Sweden in the 90s to do this kind of hip hop, and everyone was asking can you sing that, can you do that, can you come here, can you go on tour – yes! I could do all of that because it gave me money to survive and I gained a lot of experience during that time, saw the whole world, everything that was going on from the inside and outside. I learned a lot during these years, but rock music was always my aim.
You've just completed a European support slot with the amazing Winery Dogs - tell me about that
That was really fascinating because I have been listening to Mr Big for many years and when I heard that Billy Sheehan was a member of the band I really wanted to go, and the other two guys [Richie Kotzen and Mike Portnoy] are just heroes. The audience were there just checking them out because they are so skilled. They were also such nice people, across the crew and the band and it was such a pleasure to go on tour with them.
And before that, you were on the big North American tour with Epica, Eluveitie and The Agonist, which is a completely different beast, although of course it was slightly smaller than intended as Epica had to withdraw shortly after the start, for family reasons. How was that experience?
We were invited by Epica but unfortunately we didn't meet them as regrettably they had to go home, so we were performing with Eluveitie and The Agonist. It's very different music to what we do, so I was a little sceptical from the beginning, as my album wasn't even released yet, so I asked my musicians, how is this going to go?
I was concerned because the audience were there to look at these other bands which I thought were a little bit too far away from my kind of music, but surprisingly they seemed to like what we did anyway, so it went really well, a lot of people came up afterwards and complemented us. During the shows they were interested and cheering us on, so at the end I could see that it was very very good to go on the tour, even though I doubted how well we would fit, but it was great.
You are hugely experienced on the road with all kinds of productions – do you have any survival tips for being on the road, how to preserve your sanity?
It was a lot easier when I was a lot younger when I was just one of the band, doing what I was told, everything just seemed to be easier, but these days I've been touring so much, so today it's very important to me when I go solo that it feels good. I'm more responsible for things these days and I think it's more important now I have my name above the door.
But I have a lot of experience of touring and the best way to survive is just to have fun. To have fun with the band members and everyone around, to have a laugh, and to feel that we have a good time together - that's the best thing.
Who are you bringing with you for the band, are they the musicians from the album?
It's a mix. I have had two very good musicians with me from the start, Nalle [Påhlsson] who is also in Therion, and I have a guitarist Stefan [Bergström] who plays in Skin Trade, and the other two guys this time are Crash and Jona Tee from the band H.E.A.T, and they also played on the album.
'Unity' is a great album, I've been listening to it again this morning, and it's noticeable that the album lyrics are very meaningful – is that something that is very important to you?
Yes it is. But sometimes it could be a song that is just shallow it doesn't mean anything, it could just be that I want you to feel good and just listen to the music. But most of the songs come from my heart and my thoughts so it is a vehicle to express what I have inside.
'Unity' is released on Into Records in the UK, but on your own label in Sweden, how have you found the advantages and challenges of going it alone compared with being signed to the majors?
Ever since starting work as a freelancer I had been struggling to get a record deal for years and I said to myself that if it didn't work out then one day it would have to be under an own label. Of course it would be a lot easier to have a record deal somewhere because all of the knowledge and all of the help and everything from all the people who work for the album. I have to do everything with my friend now, on our own, but on the other hand we have such freedom to do what we like and to just decide every little detail together so there both sides to it.
Without giving away too many spoilers are we going to be hearing all of the album live on these dates?
I'm going to be focusing on the new album mostly, but also including a few songs from the first album.
And what's coming for the rest of the year and beyond?
We are working on it right now, and I really really hope to come back and do a proper tour around more cities in your lovely country, and then I would like to go to some places in Europe. As I said before we are doing everything on our own so it takes a little time to get everything in the right place.
It would be wonderful to have other people to work for you but at the moment we are working all alone so hopefully we will go to Europe and then other countries as well.
Is there a country you haven't played in yet that you would love to go to?
I've never to been to Australia and I would love to, so one day maybe.
And do you prefer to play live or is studio work preferable?
I really love to perform live for sure, but when I'm in the studio working that's another experience which I love about the same, but to go out and meet the audience is something extra. It's really wonderful to see the people and hopefully one day the people will sing along with me and that would be wonderful in return.
We are really looking forward to seeing everyone and I promise that we will back in the near future.
Tickets for the shows are available from the venue's websites.
Thursday April 14th – The Robin 2, Bilston
Friday April 15th – Railway Venue, Bolton