When you’ve been in the industry long enough, you make lots of friends and sit on lots of ideas for long stretches of time, and then sometimes, you come up with a solo effort as wonderful as Martin Schofield’s I’m With the Singer. You may be very familiar with Schofield, thanks to his wonderful tenure as guitarist of the South African alternative rock mainstay WONDERboom, now over 25 years into a glorious recording career. But it has taken him this long to properly issue a solo debut, a collaborative effort between him and many of his friends that really reinvented his already highly impressive career as a musician.
Recorded at his home studio, with some further assistance from producer Matthew Fink at Atomic Studios in Johannesburg, the album features Schofield working with some exemplary South African musicians, such as Sannie Fox, Andre Kriel of Black Cat Bones, Dirk Bisschoff of Prime Circle, Nic Rush of Watershed, in addition to Theo Crous of Springbok Nude Girls, Robin Gallagher, and many more.
In reference to his approach to the album, Schofield states:
“Working with so many musical personalities was tough and rewarding, I’m With The Singer feels like a fresh take on a guitar based album, with an eye on melody and song, so cool to have publications like V13 showing an interest in this kind of music.”
Like many of his musical comrades, Schofield was looking for a creative challenge during the pandemic lockdowns, which was the initial inspiration for this record. His initial idea was to create and record music completely uninhibited and with whoever was interested in working with him. The guitarist really tried to immerse himself within these collaborations and not dwell so much on how he feels a particular song with a particular collaborator should sound.
Guitar was the driving force behind the recording of these songs, but just making music during a particularly difficult time was really all the motivation or framework anyone really needed. That approach has bred something that sounds very free, unrestrained, and adventurous.