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A Love Affair with the Moon 

Profit Drama's latest album, "Luna," was inspired while under the night sky in Joshua Tree

At the beginning of April, Trevor Martell of Profit Drama arrived at the Rancho De La Luna recording studio in Joshua Tree. Many big names have spent time there to record or get inspiration— Arctic Monkeys, Snow Patrol, Foo Fighters, Kurt Vile and many more. Martell, currently living on a farm in Ashwood, Oregon, found himself there to play bass for a recording session and tour stop with a band named Vela. After finding out where the session was, Martell couldn't pass up the opportunity and brought along his own mobile recording kit to Joshua Tree.

click to enlarge Sometimes you find inspiration in the craziest places. Other times you just have to look up. - COURTESY TREVOR MARTELL
  • Courtesy Trevor Martell
  • Sometimes you find inspiration in the craziest places. Other times you just have to look up.

After the first day of tracking, Martell was waiting outside his cabin, staring up at the moon, when the idea and concept of falling in love with the moon came to him. On day two, Martell continued to explore this feeling and burst of creativity.

"During break, I set up on the front porch of the studio and the owner came out, curious to what was happening. I showed him what I was working on and he started handing me all these crazy analog synths and fully embraced my project!," recalls Martell. "The first wild thing he had behind the drum kit was the original LinnDrum machine that is all over Prince's catalog and lots of great 80s records. One night he let me take this '70s analog synth back to the cabin, called the Pro-One, that makes unique bass frequencies. There are multiple songs that feature odd sounds from this box called Critter & Guitari that seem to never generate the same sound twice."

At first Martell found the history flowing through the studio overwhelming, but as soon as studio owner David Catching greeted him with bare feet in the sand, any worries were out the window.

"He has a way of opening up someone's artistic energy without stepping on your feet. I once said, 'What're we doing, summoning demons here?' and he whispers, 'We call them angels here,' with a grin on his face."

With the atmosphere and support from Catching, that project Martell started would end up becoming the latest Profit Drama album, the appropriately titled "Luna."

"Each day, he'd (Catching) hand me new instruments to try out. I barely slept during the five days. We finished Vela's record and after arriving at home, I finished the 10 songs all started in Joshua Tree; and voila! A full love/breakup story about falling in love with the moon."

A 10-track-album that doesn't follow any rules, "Luna" will shoot glitchy-rock-lasers at you one minute ("Star Child"), then mellow out with Martell's country-esque "Desperado." In theory, all of these elements make sense when you think of the inspiration—the moon is a different world, and space is so vast with all of its mysteries. Martell pulls inspiration from every corner possible as if he was scanning every inch of the night sky to find what he needed. Whether it's hip-hop, punk, or electronic-based, Martell makes listening to "Luna" a fun experience as no two songs sound too similar.

"I tend to enjoy eclectic albums that grow and breathe, like humans. I always change my mind and, like, trying things outside of comfort, different vocal characters. Consider it a schizophrenic album!" says Martell.

Ultimately, the experience of recording in Joshua Tree and creating "Luna" has helped Martell's creativity grow in a new way.

"I do feel opened up creatively by it, for sure. I like the idea of taking a word or term and putting multiple meanings to it to tell a story, which by the end is up to interpretation. Not that you have to dig into narrative to enjoy music. But, it's there for people who do," he says. "Does the character die by the end? If so, from what, heartbreak from Luna? Who knows! Check out the next album to find out."

Listen to "Luna" now on Apple Music, Spotify, and Bandcamp.

About The Author

Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...
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