There must be something in the water over there in Australia. They seem to be able to produce a neverending supply of high quality, hard-rocking bands. The bastard sons and daughters of AC/DC, our peers from the other hemisphere just can’t get enough of the riff.
The latest band to take a shot at these shores is the uniquely named, SMOKING MARTHA. Singer Tasha D explains the unusual moniker:
“Before forming SM I started doing karaoke comps to build confidence on stage and I actually won a comp singing ‘Total Control’ by Martha Davies from The Motels.
“I was so intrigued by her and the way she used to chain smoke while singing on stage, hence the name Smoking Martha, it just stuck.”
Hailing from Brisbane the band agree that the current scene in Australia is very strong right now, “we have a ton of awesome bands in every genre of rock,” singer Tasha D states “and everyone is really supportive.”
An indicator of both the scene’s strength and its solidarity is the fact that SMOKING MARTHA has been chosen as the support band for fast-rising Aussies Massive on their UK tour in November.
“This is our first UK tour and we are so pumped for it,” Tasha continues “we don't really know what to expect which makes it even more exciting!” And as for us in the crowd we can expect “lots of energy, lots of hair flicking and loud rock n roll,” which let’s face it sounds like a pretty good night out - although we hope it’s their own hair that they’re flicking, rather than some bizarre new form of audience interaction...
Along with the tour, SMOKING MARTHA’s debut album is also being released over here on the 9th November. According to the band, it’s a “dynamic and diverse blend of inventive rock songs written together over the past few years. Sultry, smoky, chunky and honest, everything you would want from a rock album” and while bands are notoriously bad at describing their own music, SMOKING MARTHA has got it pretty spot on here. They have big, bold rockers like ‘So Lonely’ and ‘Stranger Things’ and slower more reflective numbers like ‘Baby Let Me Go’, all of which are propelled by Tasha D’s powerful vocals.
Throughout the album, there is a raw honesty to the lyrics, something that grew out of their “organic” writing process -
“I feel true emotion is the most important element in making real music,“ Tasha elaborates, and in that respect ‘In Deep’ is already a resounding success, the emotion pours from each song, be it anger, heartbreak or grief. And yet it doesn’t become bogged down by it, there is a joy in the music too, so the overall feeling is more cathartic than oppressive.
Having played in their homeland with a diverse roster of “amazing artists” such as Wolfmother, Seether and Everclear, it seems SMOKING MARTHA’s star is on the rise and when Tasha D professes her respect for the aforementioned bands for having “gotten so far and to still be so prominent in this fast world of music we live in” you suspect that they too are in this industry for the long haul although they are certainly going into it with their eyes open. Having played with Cherie Currie of The Runaways - a true pioneer for females in rock - they acknowledge that the industry is better than those early days “but there is still definitely room for improvement”.
“In the last few years, women have really taken control and opened up about the sexist issues within the industry, which is really encouraging to all aspiring female artists”.
“I have definitely come across men who still don't take female rock vocalists seriously and even hate hearing a women's voice among loud guitars and heavy drums, but you know what if you don't like it don't listen to it.” It is an uncompromising and characteristically honest assessment and they certainly have the songs to back up the strong attitude.
Their work ethic is unquestionable too, the singer scoffing at the idea of kicking back and relaxing after the tour.
“No rest for the wicked” she says, “we’re currently working on our second album and are aiming to be back in the studio for the second lot of pre-production by the end of Jan!”
The only question is if they’re prepared for a winter tour in the UK, coming from the blazing Brisbane sunshine? In that they’re playing the Hard Rock Hell festival, are SMOKING MARTHA truly ready for November in North Wales?
“Hell yes,” Tasha laughs “I cannot wait. I love the cold weather, we might just all need to warm up for a bit longer before a set to get the hands working!”
It certainly sounds like they’ve got everything under control and you sense the British crowds won’t need much warming up when SMOKING MARTHA take the stage with their big- hearted, honest and unapologetic rock n roll. It’s certainly a far cry from Karaoke competitions.
Finally, though we couldn’t let Tasha D go without asking her the most burning question in all of rock music right now; who would win in a fight, a gorilla or a lion?
“A gorilla,” she states definitively. And frankly who are we to argue?
SMOKING MARTHA are:
Tasha D - Vocals
Mick Broome – Guitar
Matty Mulheran – Bass
Jordy Poynter - Drums
Debut album 'In Deep' is out on the 9th November 2018 and you can catch SMOKING MARTHA on their UK tour on the following dates:
9th Nov - The Wheatsheaf, Oxford
11th Nov - Waterloo Pub, Blackpool
15th Nov - The Railway, Ipswich
16th Nov - The Attic, Nottingham
17th Nov - The Globe, Glossip
18th Nov - The Patriot, Crumlin
21st Nov - Trillians, Newcastle
22nd Nov - Gullivers NQ, Manchester
24th Nov - Trash, Bradford
25th Nov - Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
29th Nov - The Flapper, Birmingham
30th Nov - The Black Heart, London
2nd Dec - Fiddlers Elbow, London
Follow the band here: