Bassist Mariano Martos – Why Is Music Important (The Panel Experiment) by Brent-Anthony Johnson…
Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Mariano Martos, and I am an electric bass player, artistic producer and songwriter.
Who are your primary musical influences?
My grandfather, José, my father Lisandro, and friends including Omar Giammarco, Jorge Navone. My first teacher was Bucky Arcella, and he also influenced me a lot.
What are you listening to musically, in the past 12 months, that has enhanced the way you think about music and your craft?
I’m listening to bassists from around the world such Linley Marthe, Richard Bona (from Africa), Ney Conceição (from Brazil), Michel Alibo (France), Alain Perez (Cuba), Antonio Ramos and Manuel Nieto(Dpain), and Guillermo Vadalá and Daniel Maza (Argentina)!
I have a lot of musicians on my list who do not play the bass… and they are a great composers and musicians.
How does your personal musical voice directly relate to the function of the basses? Also, what are your main instruments?
My main instrument is the 4, 5, and 6-string electric fretted and fretless bass guitar. I also play the Spanish guitar and small percussion instruments: cajón, shakers,and caxixis.
My personal music voice is always in search of the best music that lives inside of me all the time! I think that the function of the basses changes in the different kind of music that I regularly play. So, I can play accompaniment, melodies and/or improvisations. I also enjoy playing the second voices, or the silence… if necessary. I enjoy playing silence as a sound.
Describe your musical composition process.
I play chords on the guitar and I try to listen the melody that is inside the chord. I sometimes sing the melody what suggest the harmony. Then, I discover the harmony I’m looking for through improvising and making mistakes. I always record my ideas. So, I often don’t write music when I am composing a tune.
When I compose specifically with the bass, the process is completely free, and I focus on the possibilities that the instrument can give me.
For example, my tune called “Romero” is a small tribute to Jaco Pastorius’ “Portrait of Tracy”. When I composed this tune, I was studying harmonics on the bass and mixed the flamenco rhythm called ”Bulería” with Jaco’s technique.
How does music affect your culture and immediate environment?
The music is my life, and music is part of me in my home and everywhere I go. I listen to different kinds of music besides the music genres that I usually play, which are Flamenco, Afro-Cuban, Jazz and Funk.
What would you be, if not a professional musician?
I don’t know… it is possible that I would like to be film director, like Alan Ball or Alejandro González Iñárritu. I would be an athlete, perhaps a great swimmer!
What is the greatest sacrifice you’ve ever made while in the practice of being a musician, and how did that sacrifice affect you?
I think that the greatest sacrifice was taking so many hours to study the instrument and the study of music in general!
Describe your standing practice regimen. Also, what technical (and musical) aspects of your playing are you currently working on?
I work every day! As I often have to record a difficult music, I use the music I’m recording to study the instrument – because I often need to resolve technical problems that the music creates. But, I usually start my practice regimen by playing easy composed musical parts I have written. I don’t regularly practice scales. But I did a lot of that in the past. I, sometimes, see scales as numbered notes that suggests a state of mind. You know, “the major scale is happy… the minor scale is sad”.
What does music, and being a musician, mean to you – at the deepest level of your being?
Music, to me, specifically Latin and African music means a lot. Even more so than that… the musicians who play certain types of music! !Wow! I don’t know… I have a lot of musicians in my heart! Jaco Pastorius, Carles Benavent, Pino Paladino, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Ruben Blades, Lenine, Djavan, Joao Bosco, Gilberto Gil, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Charly Garcia, Fito Paez, Piazzolla, and Atahualpa Yupanqui. All of these great musicians (and the music they have made) mean a lot to me.
How important is it to understand the Language of music?
The most important thing is it to understand the language of body and soul… and let it flow. All humans have a story to tell – something personal that is, often, removed from the musical schools we study from! The Language of music can teach us general things, but it does not delve into “personal aspects” for lack of time.
How do you collect the series of seemingly random influences and articulate them through music?
Wow! This is the great mystery! I think that each musician (or artist in general) must have their own, very personal search. The more personal the search of each musician… the more that journey will be inside of the music. It is an individual activity, much as life itself.
Can music ever truly become commercial? Why, or why not?
I think that the commercial music is an invention of some multinational office. All music can be commercial if it is played 24-hours every day on radios, television, or YouTube!Certain music gets into my heart and not others… But, it is not important to me if that music commercial or not.