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Meet the much-loved YouTube guitarist who finally gets to indulge his progressive temptations
Put Leipzig-born guitarist Martin Miller’s first album side by side with his second and you wouldn’t believe it was the same artist. But a lot has changed in the ten years since //The Other End//. Namely, Miller has spent a decade honing his craft with his covers band on YouTube. 222 posts, ranging from 26 minute long 80s medleys to teaming up with Paul Gilbert for a romp through Stevie Wonder’s //Superstition//, have garnered him over 700,000 subscribers and tens of millions of views. For Miller, it was a way to distance himself from that debut record.
“With that album,” he says, “I felt there was an unspoken peer pressure to prove myself as a guitarist. There was disconnect between the music I was writing and the music I was listening to.”
Immersing himself within a different kind of content creation provided Miller with a fresh avenue for musical exploration. It’s those experiences which have refined his sonic palette and instilled the confidence to write its greatly matured follow-up, //Maze Of My Mind//.
“The YouTube channel has been a really interesting learning experience for me,” Miller expands. “It’s a great opportunity to study the music that I love so deeply, as guitarist, producer and songwriter. That played a massive role in creating this record.”
In spite of what his YouTube covers may signify, Miller is a progger at heart. With //Maze Of My Mind//, he is able to show that. 90s pop sensibilities weave through winding song structures that take in knitted, prog metal riffwork and huge, accessible melodies. Now, guitars are one ingredient in well-balanced, song-orientated dish. With these songs, Miller is proving to be a songwriter with a colourful, panoramic vision.
“I want my music to have a temporal progression,” he reveals. “I like when a song starts at one place and ends at another. It feels like a well-crafted experience, almost like a like a ghost train ride.”
On how he approached creating this album differently to its predecessor, Miller says: “I‘ve found the key is to be truly honest with myself with what I want to express. If I try to sing or play like someone else, I’m not playing to my strengths. The first record was a guitar player trying to find his voice. There’s been so much growth since then. I want to continue to go down the path I’ve created with //Maze of My Mind//. I myself as a musician have never been happier than I am making this music.
“I think the record is cohesive, but the songs themselves are very distinct from one another. They all have a different mission statement. //Something New// was Toto on steroids, //Fragments// was inspired by Michael Jackson and //Compass// is a tribute to 80s Genesis. But they’re my takes on those styles. I find it very liberating that I can write what I want, and now I get to find out whether I’ve got away with it or not.”
Line-up: Martin Miller (guitars, vocals, keyboards, bass) Sebastian Lanser (drums)
Sounds like: Dream Theater covering 90s pop with Phil Collins watching on gleefully
Latest release: //Maze of My Mind// is out now and is self-released
— Phil WellerFrom "Limelight - Martin Miller" Prog Issue 141 Reprinted with permission.