Battle of the Bands 2021 Q&A: RJ Martin

By Kwase Lane

[Photo Courtesy of Bandcamp]

Q&A with  RJ Martin

How did you feel about your set? 

RJ: Easily the best one I’ve played in a while. Not just my playing, I was proud of that, but the crowd, the interactions, all of it. I’ve played a couple of shows at The Union since live music officially started coming back, but this one was by far the most energetic and fun to play so far. There’s no feeling quite like going to an ACRN show, and this time I was lucky enough to be playing one. 

How has your relationship with your music changed since you started putting it on streaming services?

RJ: I actually think I developed a bit of a complex about releasing music after I first put my stuff on streaming. I started worrying that there was some kind of “secret formula” to it, like what day of the week you do it on or how long you wait to announce/release. I was like… is there a way to do this where suddenly I’ll become famous? But the answer is of course no. I saw some A&R rep on Twitter say recently that any indie artist should “stop waiting to drop music,” because “no one else is waiting” and that kind of freed my mind and perceptions a bit, and I’m looking forward to just, releasing stuff when I want to. 

What’s your favorite venue you’ve ever played?

RJ: I’ve definitely got to say The Union. Places like Red Brick have been fun for nothing else than the juxtaposition of playing DIY music at a bar ,that’s usually blasting top 40, while freshman with dubious IDs are trying to chill on a Tuesday, but nothing beats The Union. It’s my favorite place to see shows, and with the amount of care they put into booking good artists, getting to play there, and even headline a show there seems like I’ve “made it” in a way. 

Do you think this is your last ACRN Battle of the Bands? If so, how does that feel? 

RJ: It very well may be! I would hope it’s because I’m selling out stadiums this time next year (or at least a bar in Columbus), but that’s probably not likely. Either way… this may be my last BOTB in Athens, but we’ll see where the future takes me. 

What’s next for you?

RJ: I’m just hoping to keep making and releasing music, and reach a lot of people. There’s a good chance I’ll be relocating to Columbus next year, and I can only hope my notoriety will continue to grow. For now, I’m enjoying my time in the town I love, and playing as many shows as I can.

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