Kate Martin is about to hit the road, travelling the east coast of Australia in support of her sophomore album, Hand Me My Bow and Arrow, which was released last month. The new album features a significant shift in her sound, but it has been met with very positive responses from the industry and, after months of recording and rehearsing, Martin is excited to be bringing her new songs to an audience.

Hand Me My Bow and Arrow features a fuller sound and more complex arrangements than her semi-acoustic debut and Martin explains that expanding her live shows to incorporate a band has been a major contributor to the new sound. “I really enjoy playing with a band,” she says.

“I enjoy playing solo as well, but I found that as I got used to what was possible with a band, once I learnt to take advantage of that, I found it was possible to take advantage of that in recording as well. It lets me create a sort of more lush instrumentation and a different sound and still know that I can reproduce it on stage.”

To record the new album Martin returned to Love Hz Studio in order to work with Michael Carpenter who produced her previous release Synthetic Shoes, Leather Boots. “I have everything written before I go down to do the recording and have a lot of the post-production ideas complete as well, but Michael makes it all very easy and relaxed and adds in some great ideas of his own,” Martin comments.

After the recording process and the preparation though, Martin can’t wait to start the tour. “I’m very excited,” she says. “It’s suddenly starting to feel real now. A little while ago it was ‘oh there’s six months until the tour, there’s heaps of time to prepare’, but now it’s almost here. It’s great though. We had band rehearsal yesterday and everything felt like it was working really well.”

“A lot of the vocals on the album are double-tracked and a good friend of mine is up from Sydney to play keyboards with us and harmonise with me live, so it’s really nice to be able to recreate that effect.”

This is the biggest tour Martin has undertaken, and the first major tour since her debut launch, and she’s looking forward to getting outside of the major cities. “It’s about getting to as many places as possible, and also experiencing the culture and just experiencing Australia,” she enthuses. “I’ve never been to Wollongong before, or Canberra. Or even Newcastle, I think. The last tour it was just the major cities, so it will be good to see these places.”

“Being from Townsville, you’d always appreciate it when a band put Townsville on the map and actually made the trip, so it’s nice to be able to do that. This is the biggest tour I’ve done; it’s something like 13 dates over 17 days, so I’d imagine there will be some interesting stories at the end of it.”

Martin is moving down to Melbourne soon after the tour and she sees a lot of advantages in the move. “My management is down in Melbourne,” she comments, “so a lot of the potential gigs and supports that they can arrange are down that way, and being in Townsville it’s not really easy or affordable to do all of them, so there’s been a few great offers I haven’t been able to take up.”

“Being down there will make that a lot easier, and there is last minute offers that you really have to be in the city to be able to take advantage of. Also it will let me get involved in the music culture down there, which is a lot bigger.”

“My drummer is coming down with me,” Martin responds, when asked if the whole band is moving, “and my management is already down there, so there’s a small group heading down. A lot of my other band-mates have kids and responsibilities up here, so they can’t come, but it’s really great playing with them and I’m really glad they can come on the tours.”

It’s not all recording and touring though. Martin has released a couple of lovely film-clips to accompany the lead singles off Hand Me My Bow and Arrow, ‘Apples’ and ‘Candle Burnin’, Wax Drippin’’, but says it’s an aspect of the job that she’s still coming to grips with. “It’s not something I hate, but it’s not something I love either,” Martin states.

“I suppose I just see it as a necessity. I’m not entirely comfortable in front of the camera – I don’t think it’s that easy unless you’re a model – but all of the photos for the album and the press photos were taken in a single session and the photographer is a good friend of mine, so she was able to make me feel comfortable with the whole thing. I guess, as a girl, it’s a chance to get in touch with your feminine side.”

— By Sky Kirkham