Traklife Interviews: Thomie
Based in San Antonio Texas, Thomie Martinez began music at a young age. Through the years that love and passion for music has yet to fade as he’s created the soulful, groovy, indie pop band “Thomie” consisting of himself and his partner Dany Escobar. Upon releasing their up beat and groovy album “Stroll Along” on October 2nd, Madison Everett sits down to speak with them more on the new album and how the year 2020 has affected them personally, and artistically.
Madison Everett: All right. Sweet . So I’m here with Thomie and his partner, Dany, otherwise known as Educacion here to talk about their new album, “Stroll Along.” So I just asked this for you guys, but how are you? And are you guys happy? That’s a deep kind of question, but I don’t know It’s something that I’ve been asking people lately and just kind of get where you guys are at with how everything’s going on and your new release.
Thomie Martinez: Yeah, I feel happy. I just feel like personally as a musician, since we can’t play live, I feel like we have to pivot a lot, so times feel uncertain, but I’m always, I’m always excited by change. So I feel pretty happy about the situation right now, but I think it’s just because I’m an optimist, so I tend to tend to look on the bright side of a lot of things. It’s kind of hard to be sad right now.
Madison Everett: Yeah, for sure. And then Dany, what about you?
Dany Escobar: I think I’m on the similar kind of wavelength there. Personally, I think I’m in a good spot. I know there’s a lot of darkness out there right now and confusion and stuff because of how the world is, but I think it’s times like this that allow people like Thomie and myself to kind of grow a little bit more and take a step back and kind of look at the overall picture, let’s keep driving through things, you know?
Madison Everett: Yeah. And I have a question that at some point I’m going to get into with how the album was made, especially within this time but during the album and not only working on it, but releasing it, were you guys living close to each other or you were in two separate places?
Thomie Martinez: Yeah, we were living pretty much across the street from each other in Austin.
Madison Everett: Oh, sweet. Okay.
Thomie Martinez: Yeah, he was living on the other side of the highway, I make it sound like he’s homeless or something.
Madison Everett: Yeah. He’s just like living on the side of the highway.
Thomie Martinez: No, so you cross like this main highway in Austin and then he was in an apartment on the other side and I was on the opposite side and I just kept going to his place, cause that’s where all the equipment is. I have a tiny setup at my apartment, so I would start an idea at my apartment and then bring it over to his and pretty much finish up everything over there.
Dany Escobar: I think the tracking portion, so the recording of the whole record was completed by the time Thomie left Austin. So after that, anything post production, so like any type of mixing and mastering or little parts like that were done after he was out. I mean he was gone so I was just kind of glad that we got the meat done before he left.
Madison Everett: Yeah. No for sure. Cause you left, Thomie when did you leave Austin? Cause that was this year.
Thomie Martinez: Yeah, that was end of July.
Madison Everett: Yeah and then you moved to the place that you are right now in San Antonio correct?
Thomie Martinez: Yep
Madison Everett: Okay and then Dany, are you still in Austin? Or did you move as well?
Dany Escobar: Yeah, I’m still there. I’m probably going to be there till next July. And then back to San Antonio.
Madison Everett: Okay. So this kind of gets into the album and I want to have you guys be able to break it down. So coming back to the question that I asked earlier, I had read somewhere that you said that it took over three years to make, and especially with how much the world has changed right now I can imagine going through it, it definitely changed as well. So I want to ask, not only as musicians, but as human beings, how is this album specifically different than Supply and how would you say yourselves as humans have grown through it?
Thomie Martinez: Um, I mean, ultimately I feel like we made the albums in the opposite order, because like, it seems like the world was seemingly brighter when we made Supply versus Stroll Along now and I say that because Supply is a much more downtempo kind of record. This time we kind of challenged ourselves as being in a dark time in the world, but trying to make the best of it and making faster and more upbeat songs. So I think that’s the biggest difference between the two albums.
Madison Everett: Yeah. And that’s what I had been listening to, an interview of you kind of mentioning that is…how they did have two different sounds to them. And this one was a lot more upbeat. So I guess correlating that with everything that’s going on, I mean, you guys must have been closer to the end when all of this kind of started, but how did going through, you know, lockdown and the pandemic kind of affect the project and how you guys work?
Thomie Martinez: It definitely sped up everything like, with our schedules, just in life and you know, just, just trying to get the record done in two different places. It takes a long time to kind of coordinate that. So with lock down and everything it was actually a good thing for us living so close in Austin that we can get it done even faster, you know, we don’t have to go anywhere. We’re stuck at home. So, you know, just sitting down and doing nothing, we just, we figured, you know, we might as well just lock ourselves in our apartments and finish this damn record.
Madison Everett: Yeah, no for sure. And yeah, I can imagine having the time to, as, I mean, for myself, through quarantine, it was honestly like I had my periods where I wasn’t creative and then I had my periods that I was, and it’s come out at the end that honestly I’ve enjoyed kind of having the time to myself and focusing on my craft. So with you guys, you know, having that time to yourself, how has that affected you guys just personally?
Thomie Martinez: Wait, sorry, you cut out for a second.
Madison Everett: Oh, it’s all good. Um, no, I was just saying that you know, towards the end, like I’ve loved this time, by myself and focusing on my craft. So with you guys, especially as you release the album and close it, how were you as people, you know what I mean? Doing this all?
Dany Escobar: Yeah. Very tired.
Madison Everett: Yeah.
Dany Escobar: I felt like, I mean, in the position that I’m in, I mean, it’s not to the point where you can say that the music situation is your main source of income yet, in the future. But, having, like you said, that time to kind of go in and it’s like, it’s kind of unfortunate for people, but then at the same time as music producers or mixers or whatever, it’s literally the dream because everything just stopped. So it’s like you can do any kind of thing you wanted to do or any project that you wanted to finish up, it was the time to do it. And so it’s super freeing to go in and complete that, you know, it’s focused.
Madison Everett: Yeah. And it’s been awesome, seeing how many artists have released things and also how personal they’ve been. Like, that’s a big thing this year that I’ve noticed is, you know, not only in music, but in a lot of different careers, people have been really coming out about how personal what they’ve released is, or the process with it and everything. So I guess Dany, and honestly, it’s a question for both of you, but on the production side of this, talk me through how you guys kind of found the sound and knew that it’s what you wanted for the final project.
Thomie Martinez: Yeah. I think just challenging ourselves with trying to write more uptempo stuff. That’s been something that, you know, we would finish a show and after the show we’d talk to each other, we’d go to like a diner that was open till 2:00 AM and talk to each other about “Hey, how do you think the show went?” Um, “what do you think could be improved?” “What what’s good about it?” And we’ve kind of just have a really disciplined review meeting after the show. So with that, we would always say “Hey, we need to write like maybe one to two more upbeat songs and I feel like the show would be like right there.” And with the album, it kind of felt like, well, let’s challenge ourselves to make as much upbeat stuff as, as we possibly can.
Madison Everett: Yeah, for sure. And then you had mentioned too, how, you know, it is different from Supply in the sense that it is more upbeat. What was the decision to kind of go that way? Was it always something that you wanted to do or was it just kind of happened naturally?
Thomie Martinez: Yeah, it was just like, for some reason it always came like second nature to me to write slower songs, I guess. Because I’m always the type of person that likes the ballads more on a record and I’ll really listen to those over and over. So it kind of came like second nature to write songs like that. And I just always have an appreciation for people that can write like more pop driven stuff. And I’ve always wanted to be one of those songwriters myself. So I just felt like that’s kind of just the logical place to go with this next record.
Madison Everett: Yeah, absolutely. Um, and then I guess, same kind of question, but in regards to the songwriting on the album, talk me through that, you know, without giving away too much. What was your writing process like throughout all of this and in this moment, in your life, where did you really pull from?
Thomie Martinez: Uh, I think a lot of like guitar bands and stuff, like going back to The Beatles and stuff like that. And I’m trying to figure out what are the best parts of that, that I can pull from without copying them too much, at least. And then, um, a lot of artists, like, you know, Michael Jackson and Prince that are always on the front of my mind that I’m always gonna try to emulate just cause it’s in my musical DNA. Um, yeah. And then just focusing on writing stuff, that’s going to feature more guitar. I just feel like I fell in love with guitar all over again and going back to Supply, that was a very synth driven record and very, um, it focusing more on texture than anything. Going into this record we focus more on the songwriting, focusing more on like pop arrangements and, and just focusing on just where can we add guitar? Like, is there like any little place that is missing or that we could add it?
Madison Everett: Yeah, no, I really, I enjoy that about the album too. Cause I definitely noticed that difference of the guitar in this one and the synth and the last one. Um, and no, it’s, it’s interesting cause you talk about Michael Jackson, you talk about Prince and it shows through your work and I love that. So yeah, I mean with you guys, Dany, especially, you know, how is it working yourself with the production of the album and away from personal projects for the time?
Dany Escobar: Uh, I think, I think there’s always like these, these short stints of growth periods where, um, some people have this, like niche to kind of stop making stuff and just listen the things for a long time and that’s what I do a lot of times, it’s even Thomie sometimes like, why don’t you just hit the record button? Cause it’s like, I’m making all this stuff all the time or making little loops or whatever, and he’s like, you never hit record. And that’s a big problem I have, I got to take care of that, but I think through right before we were starting to kind of get to the end stages of the album was where I had all of these sounds in my head and all these ideas that I had kind of acquired over time. During that period of not really recording or making anything of just listening and listening and listening. So it kind of was awesome to just let all of those things bloom. And so, for example, we have a song on the record that, uh, is maybe almost over three years old. It’s the last one Merge, and I heard like a billion different renditions of that song, we played a billion different renditions of it live. And it wasn’t until the last stages where I was like, no, all these sounds in my head, I want to lay them down here because this is what I’ve been hearing this whole time, I just didn’t have the skillset to be able to take what I’m hearing in my head and make them with my hands.
Madison Everett: Yeah.
Dany Escobar: So that three year period to finally build those skills to finally like, oh, my brain is not connecting to my hands, these tactile things that I can now make these sounds. And so a lot, not only just Merge, a lot of the rest of the remaining tracks on the record are products of that. So, you know.
Madison Everett: Yeah, no, that’s so interesting though. And I always admire that, is being able to bring a sound, a thought and emotion to life, you know, with you guys, how you write and how you do this process, do you guys put down the music first or you are someone who writes first and then you kind of figure out like, what would sound good with this later?
Thomie Martinez: It’s a hundred percent, the instrumental comes first. And then just finding the, i’ll even like, record, like a demo track that I won’t show anybody not even Dany of just like gibberish, and try to find the words that will fit that gibberish because it’s kinda, I don’t know if you’ve heard, like in jazz where people scat, you know, they just say, random stuff.
Madison Everett: Yeah. Yeah.
Thomie Martinez: So it’s just like, I just write and record those ideas really, really fast. And it’s just absolute nonsense, and then after I’ll go back, I’ll loop the song over and over again, and I’ll find the words to try to decode some type of meaning. You know, I just kind of have like the, what is it like an archeologist? Like find a rock and I have to like dust it off.
Madison Everett: Oh yeah. I know what you’re talking about I can’t think of the name though.
Thomie Martinez: Essentially just dust it off and find lyrics. Within all that mess.
Madison Everett: Yeah, no that’s so interesting, and for the two of you, I mean, I’m sure you’ve answered this question so many times, but you know, where did you both start within music?
Dany Escobar: Go first, I don’t remember what I did.
Thomie Martinez: Um, well, I’ve always had an interest in music. My dad always tells stories about how my mom has an irregular heartbeat and I would always like, I guess in her, in her womb, I would always like repeat the heartbeat back through her stomach and was just like, “I always knew you were going to do something in music specifically in drums” cause I would like play the rhythm back to him and he was listening. But I think my first instrument was actually an accordion that he bought because he thought that I would like it for some reason. Um, and he bought that like at a flea market that we went to every Sunday here in San Antonio and I had zero interest in that I don’t, I don’t care for the instrument at all.
Madison Everett: An accordion, that’s so random.
Thomie Martinez: So yeah.
Dany Rodriguez: The next record is all accordion.
Madison Everett: Just accordion instrumentals.
Thomie Martinez: The whole record. Yeah. Um, but yeah, I just, I never had an interest so like a week later, I guess not really having the vocabulary to tell him like, “Hey, I don’t really like this thing you bought me.” I just started to bring out the pots and pans in my parents’ cabinets and just started playing on them as if they were drums and then they figured like, “Okay, this kid wants a drum set.” So I didn’t officially get my drums, that was like around age three and I didn’t officially get my drum set until like age seven. So I, started, I would say like, I officially started playing music at seven.
Madison Everett: Sweet. Sweet. And then Dany, do you remember any of it? I love how Thomie went all the way back, he was like in the womb.
Dany Escobar: Um, I don’t think I remember that part, but, uh, no, I, I just remember as a, as a little kid, um, my dad always had, well, my dad was always a striving classical guitar player, my dad and my grandpa. So they had lthe old, like Spanish nylon string guitars. And that’s the stuff that they would play. Not very good. If my dad ever sees this he’s going to be really mad that I just said that. But, um, he taught me the basics on a guitar that my grandpa got me on my eighth birthday. And it was, it was like a $50 guitar from like Walmart. So that morning of my eighth birthday, my grandpa went to Walmart, got me the guitar. I started picking it up. And then I think two or three years later, my grandpa went to, when I was living in Houston, there was a store called H and H Music and he bought me this really cheap electric guitar. And then my dad got so mad cause he was like, “This kid is going to go off the rails he’s going to be into metal. He’s going to start wearing makeup” and like whatever. So I started playing electric guitar a little more and that primarily, well, guitar was my only instrument pretty much. And then eventually at the end of high school is whenever I joined my first band, which was where I met Thomie.
Madison Everett: Yeah, I was gonna ask to, that was another question was like how you guys met. Cause I had again, read something that you guys had been working together almost since like 2010. Correct? So you guys met, I guess kind of explain that story and how it became, cause you guys started with Parallelelephants, like that was the original group that you guys had before you went solo. Right?
Thomie Martinez: Yeah. I mean, it’s still like the same project. It’s just a changed name, but like same people are involved in this one that’s in Parallelelephants. It’s the same exact formatting for the band we just changed the name. Just cause it’s easier to spell.
Madison Everett: Yeah. Yeah. So how did you guys meet and get to the point where you’re at now of, of being collaborators?
Thomie Martinez: Um, we met in high school. I was, I think I was a sophomore. Yeah. Yeah. He’s a year ahead of me. So we met through a mutual friend who was also in the band at the time, he’s a bass player. And then just, you know, being in high school, everyone’s in a band for like two weeks and then they kind of move on to another band or, you know, get serious about their life cause their parents tell them to, and there’s like always a few stragglers that are really serious about music and actually want to do it. And you know, through that, we just met through mutual friends in high school and then just started playing music in a bunch of pop punk bands that aren’t around anymore.
Madison Everett: No. Yeah. That’s really interesting. And it’s so cool to see where you guys are at now because you know, the growth, especially like a lot of bands as you see where they start and what they released and what they’re doing now and how personal it is to them. Um, so kind of going back around to, you know, growing up, the album art is you when you were younger. So how did you come to find like the aesthetic of the album, whether that was the title Stroll Along or the album art itself?
Thomie Martinez: Yeah. I was just literally digging through my mom’s like she has a giant clear tub of photos that are just completely torn up and there’s no reason to keep them, but I was like, maybe I could find something cool in here just not really thinking with the intention of finding an album art. And I was just curious and I opened it up maybe about a year ago. And then I found that picture, like at the very bottom, I was just like, It just like immediately was like, oh, this has to be it you know, and on the side of it is a Christmas photo. So on the side of it, at the very right corner there’s like a toy that they had gotten my sister that Christmas and it says stroll along on it. So I was just like, this is just kind of working itself out.
Madison Everett: Yeah. I was literally gonna ask that because when I was looking at the album and the art itself, I had saw that it was there and I didn’t know it was something that you photo-shopped in or if it was a legit, like toy or object in the picture so that’s really cool.
Thomie Martinez: That’s exactly what I wanted the people to think.
Madison Everett: Yeah. Yeah cause I literally, I looked at it and I was like, “is this an edit? Or like, is this something that he just had?” So that’s really interesting. Um, and do you guys have any favorite tracks off the album or ones that you really focused on throughout all of this?
Dany Escobar: That’s hard.
Thomie Martinez: I want to say Automatic and Changes because those are like the last two we really finished up, but you know, I’m always biased to the most recent tracks, like whatever is the last thing we released or worked on that’s my favorite thing. That’s just how I work.
Madison Everett: Yeah. Especially cause it wraps up the project before you release it.
Dany Escobar: Um, I really like, I really like Automatic a lot. That one was a toughie. I remember the day, that one has a story to it. So we had to turn in the album and I think we had, like, I think I had like, no, it was the next day, right? That we had to give it to Terrible? And so, uh, Automatic was done being tracked so all the, all the recorded parts were finished. Um, but we had not mixed it or mastered it. And we had to turn it in at 24 hours. So the day before, I woke up, I spent pretty much 17 hours, like pulling, pushing out mixes and sending it to Thomie and be like, “what do you think? What do you think?” And it took us the whole day and I would be on the fourth rendition and then he would be like, “Nope, that’s not it go back fix this. This is all ain’t it.” And it wasn’t until like 11:30, almost midnight when we, when I finally did the car test to check that it was the final version and that was super tiring.
Madison Everett: Yeah. Grueling process for sure. Um, yeah so now that the album is out, and obviously you know, take that in and everything. What can we expect from you guys next? Cause I know right now, I’ve asked so many artists that, especially with the college radio that we had, you know, this past month and you know, with what we’re going through in the pandemic, it’s hard as artists and a lot of them had so many different answers. So with you guys, you know, what are your next steps? Are you just immediately going back to working on music or talking about doing some kind of show?
Thomie Martinez: Yeah. I mean, like I was saying earlier, as an artist in this time, I feel like you constantly have to pivot and our plans keep changing. Like for example, the way the record was supposed to come out was totally not how it happened. You know, things happen how they’re supposed to, I think, but ultimately what I’d like to do is get into some type of live stream thing I mean, cause we can’t tour obviously right now for awhile for the foreseeable future so I’d like to do some type of live stream series or maybe like a one off thing. And as far as recording, yeah, we’re jumping right back into recording the next project today, actually. Yeah.
Madison Everett: That’s awesome. That’s good to hear.
Dany Escobar: You have like a whole, I have a whole notes in my phone and I think we can pretty much almost have enough material to build almost a second record. Not complete a track list but they’re initial baby ideas. Once you jump on that, pick up and run, run with it then.
Madison Everett: Yeah, dude, that’s awesome. That’s awesome that you guys are just getting right back into it too, because you know, I’m so excited to hear the next project as well, but you know, with what you guys have released so far, it’s fantastic. I loved Supply and I remember coming into your music, you know, when you and Katherine got together and I was just like, “Oh, his stuff is so good.” So to see how you’ve grown from then, until now, and to see the product that you guys just produced is great and I’ve loved it. And, um, I still love listening to it. So yeah, I mean, I really appreciate you guys coming on today and talking. I’ll keep you updated on when this airs and, um, we’ll go from there.
Thomie Martinez: Awesome. Thank you.
Dany Escobar: Thanks.
Madison Everett: Yeah. Yeah.
Dany Escobar: Thanks you guys.
Madison Everett: You are so welcome. All right. Enjoy your day.