Interview with Ben Martin of North Atlantic Oscillation

With their new album ‘The Third Day’, Edinburgh’s North Atlantic Oscillation have created a flow of energy deserving of their meteorological namesake. At a time when music is increasingly cut down into single segments for easy digestion, the record – the first they’ve produced entirely themselves – is woven together as a whole, beautiful body of work, the tracks entwined around each other with no dead space in between.

The band, made up of Sam Healy (vocals, guitars & keyboard), Ben Martin (drums, programming) and Chris Howard (bass), formed in 2005, and quickly became known for their intricate, progressive take on rock and electronica, their 2010 debut ‘Grappling Hooks’ and follow-up ‘Fog Electric’ gaining them critical praise and plenty of fans with a taste for delicately intelligent music. While ‘The Third Day’ is not a concept album like its predecessor, that continuous flow is something Healy intended. We had an interesting chat with Martin on the occasion of their new album launch.

Q: Why the name “North Atlantic Oscillation”?
A: I think we where thinking of something that fitted with our style of half electronic and half analogue. That name seemed to fit. Also I guess fans would need to be dedicated enough to trouble themselves remembering the name.

Q: How do your songs come to life?
A: At the moment Sam writes everything to the point of almost being a complete song then any drums and live instruments that are needed are added to fill out the sound.

Q: Any particular artist you take inspiration from?
A: While this album was being made I listened to allot of heavy hard hitting drummers. I wanted to simplify my drumming but keep the creativity, spontanious and improvised feel. Dave Grohl was an obvious choice for that reason.


Q: What kind of emotions would you like your audience to feel when they listen to your music?
A: The thought of controlling peoples emotions with music has always been a bit uncomfortable to me. Hopefully the music amplifies existing positive feelings.


Q: Which do you like most, life in the studio or on tour?
A: I love the process of recording and preparing to record. There is a fine balance between over rehearsing for recording and doing too much preparation to the point of the recording being stale. I am really happy with how the drums have turned out on this recording.

Q: Name the one thing an artist/musician should never forget in their career.
A: Don’t write songs for the sake of writing. Each song should come from somewhere where it has a meaning to you that enables you to perform it rather than just play it.

Q: And, as usual, our last question: pick 3 albums you would take with you on a desert island.
A: Spirit of Eden – Talk Talk, Amnesiac – Radiohead, Arial – Kate Bush


Get “The Third Day” here >



Gessica Puglielli
Visual/Web Designer, Digital Marketing Strategist born in Lecce (Italy), I currently live in London. Between 1998 and 2005 I collaborated with Michael Jackson’s staff and in 2000 I had a meeting with the man himself. I founded Rebel Rebel in 2013 and so far it has been an exciting journey. Some of my favourite artists include Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Skunk Anansie, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Archive, Kraftwerk, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Anthony & The Johnsons, Gazpacho, The Maccabees, Led Zeppelin, Brian Eno, Beethoven, Bjork, Steve Wonder and many others. I feel a deep connection to animals and Mother Nature, which led me to choose a vegan lifestyle. I like playing electric guitar, photography, cinema, art, entertainment, travelling, playing tennis and browsing London.