Martyn Heyne

The guitarist and producer Martyn Heyne is a founding member of Trygghet and the Levenmuster Collective, with which he developed the album “Two View” as well as the DVD “Sensing City”. During the last few years, he has worked with the likes of Nils Frahm, The National, Orcas, Peter Broderick, and many more for recordings, concerts and at his Lichte Studio in Berlin. In 2011, he supported Nils Frahm with his solo show; recently, he was on tour with the Danish band Efterklang.


Every note is a pillow.
In collaboration with the Geneva Perfume Company I created the fragrance L’odeur du feu de camp dans nos pulls (The smell of campfire in our sweaters).
The most beautiful red in the kitchen is Espelette pepper, the most beautiful green is Swiss chard.


What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I’d be guessing really. I don’t get musically inspired by experiences directly. Instead, I try to create the right circumstances and boundaries to lure inspiration in. On some other level my judgement of that inspiration is probably fairly related to experiences though.

How and when did you get into making music?
I have a photo of myself at two years old in my dad’s garden, playing a canoe paddle like a guitar, and shortly after that a Ukulele. So I was in it even without sound, who can say that? Beethoven can.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
A well phrased question.
The Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Broadcasting from Home
Miles Davis – Workin’
Portishead – Dummy
Tied & Tickled Trio – Observing Systems
Nina Simone – Let it be me

What do you associate with Berlin?
Home. Severe Winters. Severe kick drums.

What’s your favourite place in your town?
My backyard, formerly known as Airport Tempelhof. It’s the biggest piece of sky in town.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Create music! What an opportunity. Or else start a restaurant with Francesco.

What was the last record you bought?
King Ayisoba, a Ghanaian musician. I went to Ghana with Greg Haines in January and have been getting into some music from there. While in Accra, we actually saw Tony Allen play outside a bar! Good times.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I have recently started a collaboration with the Swiss clarinetist Claudio Puntin of whom I’ve been a fan for a long time, and couldn’t be happier! We play in a place that feels like a real match, yet is outside of where I would otherwise go. Gotta choose him!

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
No idea but here’s a story: While on tour with Efterklang in China we drank at a nice whiskey bar in Beijing and there was a curious instrument case in the corner of the room. I had orbited it like a cat long enough for a kind Chinese man to tell me I could take a peek inside. It hosted a Mongolian two string Cello that’s known as a Horse Head Fiddle. When I told the guy I had seen one before, earlier that year at Roskilde Festival in Denmark, the man guessed that surely I must’ve seen this one played by his friend. Indeed, 15 minutes later that same musician joined us at the bar. Incredibly, with 1.3 billion people in china we had accidentally run into the one musician we knew of. He gave an unforgettable performance with the fiddle and throat-singing for us there and then.

How important is technology to your creative process?
It’s a great help because technology is limited, often in interesting ways. I like to use the direction that is implied by a set of limitations of a piece of equipment as a starting point. Later on you can check if the ideas that appeared are still valid without the piece of technology. If: true, Then = you have something.

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I have two older brothers that both played the drums thus forcing me to opt for the only louder alternative: The guitar amplifier. They have been very supportive and influential, especially while I was growing up.

Our Favourites:

Live in Frankfurt

The Group

Links: | Interview with Martyn Heyne by Digital in Berlin