Thursday Thoughts with Composer Martin Gohary
Hey Marty, thanks for taking some time to chat! In terms of your current music projects, what are some exciting things you've been rehearsing or working on?
I've been working on a couple things with my friend Lee Canales. We started a songwriting/production duo called WLDFLWR - which I'm super stoked about. Lee and I have worked together on and off for the last 4-5 yrs and we always joked about how we needed to make music together more often because it was always seamless, with no pressure or ego. Due to COVID-19, I'm back in Massachusetts for the unforeseen future. We can work a lot faster now that we live 35 minutes apart instead of 3 hours.
You and I go way back. I've seen you improve a lot and it's always inspiring. For piano players or other musicians who are starting out and want to get better, do you have some advice on how you learned and improved over time?
Man I wished I knew this advice back when I first started but the key to efficient practice is to have a clear goal written out on a piece of paper before even touching the instrument, preferably not even in the same room. This way you can really think what you want to do without the pressure or desire to just jump into your practice session. When I write down what I want to accomplish it gives me the big picture of what I need to be doing. With work and all my other pursuits, some days I have only 30 mins to practice, so I want to make sure I use that 30 mins to tackle something I'm working on or work through some technical exercises.
Regarding the current state of the music industry, where do you feel artists can find new opportunities and how do you navigate where to put your energy?
I think we're all still figuring it out. I know some artists are teaching Zoom lessons, some set up Ampled pages, etc. Personally, I'm in a space where I'm heavily focused on working on my craft as a composer. I really can't speak to this question directly because everyone is different. Some people need to work to survive, some are just using this time to take a break, others are still hustling hard as if there was no pandemic.
Let's get to the sonic goodies. Where can people listen to your music?
My music is available on all streaming platforms and for purchase on my Bandcamp. Also, visit my website: www.martingohary.com (work in progress, hoping to be done by Sept 1st)
Why do you prefer Bandcamp as an independent artist?
I think Bandcamp is a great platform and a true leader in music distribution especially during the pandemic. In March, they recognized right away with cancellation of gigs that a lot of musicians' income went straight to $0 for an unknown time. They decided to waive all fees so all purchases would go straight to the musician. In just four days, fans put more than $20 million directly into the pockets of artists and labels (https://daily.bandcamp.com/features/update-on-bandcamp-fridays) That's incredible!
What did Spotify do? Apple Music? At least Bandcamp is looking out for artists and according to that article, they are continuing to hold Bandcamp Fridays on the first Friday of every month until the end of the year. I am mulling over the decision to pull my music from the big streaming services or leave a couple tracks and then release new music exclusively through Bandcamp.
Are there other new digital platforms in the music or tech world that you're interested in exploring or learning more about?
I recently discovered this platform called Ampled. From my understanding its like a mix of Patreon and Kickstarter, but better. There are no tiers or anything like that, it's super transparent, only $3 a month or more for your artists you support. I've thought about signing up for my piano work and being able to offer something that is more tangible than just streaming music. I think if musicians can continue to be tech savvy, there are a lot of avenues to work in music. With the pandemic and no gigs, I'm starting to think outside the box on how to gain new fans without being able to perform live in front of them.
What are some songs you've had on repeat lately? Any upcoming releases you're excited about?
I've been listening to a lot House and Deep House music, my friend Jason Sugars who runs The Nonsemble puts out great curated shows of that new new in the world of Jazz/Not Jazz. He has a great ear and really puts solid shows together, it should really be syndicated worldwide. I put it up there with Gilles Peterson's show. Check out the newest mix below.