February 2021 - Steven M. Martin (part 2)

The February 2021 episode of the Theremin 30 Podcast features music from Germany, England, Japan, and France. Rick Reid concludes his interview with filmmaker Steven M. Martin, director of Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey.

▶️ Listen to this episode on Spotify.


  • "LEV" - Gilda Razani and Hans Wanning (Germany)
  • "Psalm" - Matteo Ciminari (London, England, UK)
  • "Sun Down" - Macoto Kikuchi (Kawabe-gun, Hyogo, Japan)
  • "Don't Bury Your Dead" -  Human Toys (Paris, France)

    *The full-length recordings featured in this show were used with the knowledge and permission of the artists and composers. Please support the artists by visiting their websites, purchasing their recordings, and attending their performances. 







Copyright 2021 Rick Reid 



Please note: This is a machine-generated transcript that has not been manually edited. There will be numerous errors. Check back soon for a corrected version.

Unknown Speaker  0:04  
This is Theremin 30, 30 minutes of Theremin music news events and interviews with a new episode about every 30 days. Now here's your host from Denver, Colorado, USA, Rick Reid.

Rick Reid  0:19  
Hello and welcome to Theremin 30 the more or less monthly Theremin music podcast. This is episode number 22 for February of 2021. This month I've got Theremin music from Germany, England, Japan and France. And I'll play part two of my recent interview with Steven M. Martin, the writer director, producer of the 1994 documentary, Theremin and electronic Odyssey. In just a few minutes I've got a track from Matteo seminaries brand new album, but first to get the show started here is a lovely track released this past December by the German duo of thereminist Gilda rosani and pianist Tom's vanning. It's called lev LTV, and it's dedicated to Professor Leon Theremin who was of course also known by his Russian name level 10 of men

Rick Reid  7:52  
We started this show with love by Gilda rosani and Hans vaunting. I've added the wonderful music video for that track to the Theremin 30 playlist on YouTube. After that you heard a jazzy tune from the London based multi talented multi instrumentalist Matteo Chim Inari. That track is called some and it's on his brand new album fried hippocampus. He recorded the album remotely in the UK and Italy during the pandemic lockdown and it was inspired by his love of both food and the limbic system. To learn more about both of these artists, just go to this month's show notes at Theremin thirty.com and click on their names. Let's take a quick look now at the calendar of Theremin events. On February 26, Yoko ohnishi hosts her monthly RCA Theremin evening on YouTube. On February 27, and 28th. The New York Theremin society hosts online Theremin and moac there are many workshops. February 28 is the anniversary of the day that Theremin was patented in the USA. March 5 is another band camp Friday. So that's a great day to purchase music from artists that have been featured in this podcast. March 9 is the 110th anniversary of Clara rockmore his birth, and on March 16th saw od Koji ma teaches beginning Theremin class in Kyoto, Japan. For details on links to these events and more you can check out the calendar anytime at Theremin thirty.com. And as always, send me a message if you have an event you'd like me to post on the calendar. later in the show playing a tune inspired by zombie film director George Romero. And I've got a new release from Makoto Kikuchi one half of the Japanese duo and ma but before all of that it's part two of my conversation with filmmaker Steven M. Martin, so stick around.

Rick Reid  9:55  
Early last month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Steven M. Martin, the filmmaker behind documentary Theremin and electronic Odyssey. This month we pick up part two with my question about one of the challenges of making such an ambitious documentary way back then. This was at a time when the World Wide Web was not around. So you couldn't just do some research from home on your computer. How were we able to even find people to interview?

Steven M. Martin  10:23  
Well, a lot of it was by word of mouth. Clara told me about a lot of things, one person would lead to another, I was given a tip to talk to this guy named Nicholas wilensky, who I had heard of, but didn't know anything about because I'm not a musicologist. He was a revelation. I knew that I wanted to talk to Brian Wilson. And I wanted to interview Nicholas Rosa. But he had had a stroke. His son was very nice. And well, they were glad we were doing it. But Nicholas Rosa didn't want to appear on camera. And I was completely thrilled and surprised to find myself getting to know Bob mug, who was a great guy and who I admired. I think every guy did, like, Wow, what a cool guy invented the synthesizer. But I never imagined that our paths would cross.

Rick Reid  11:14  
When you worked with Bob Moog on your film, did you have any plans of making any more therapists?

Steven M. Martin  11:19  
No, no, no, no. When I met Bob, I said, you should start making pheromones again. And he said, Steve, do you really think there's a market for the Famine? And I said, Yeah, especially when my film comes out, there will be? And he said, Yeah, we'll see about that. And once the film came out, and I was taking it around the world, wherever I showed the film, people always even up at Sundance, if you were in the big screening at Sundance, someone in the audience said, Where can I get a Theremin? And I would give out Bob mugs, home phone number, and say, call Bob mode, tell him that I said the call and ask him to build you a Theremin. And that led directly to him introducing the ether wave for a very reasonable price. So that now there are 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of Theremin players around the world. So do

Rick Reid  12:11  
you think that difference that explosion of interest was due in large part to your film?

Steven M. Martin  12:16  
Well, actually, I do. But I have to be careful because I don't want to sound like an egomaniac. But yeah, Yes, I do. It was shown in every major film festival around the world. It was nominated for a British Academy Award and International Emmy. So it got a lot of press and exposure in that way, which got people talking about it about the instrument and the man again.

Rick Reid  12:40  
What has your connection or relationship been with the people that you met while making the film? Are you still in touch with people that were involved?

Steven M. Martin  12:49  
I'm still friends with Bob mug family. I saw Michelle mug Jesus probably a couple of years ago at this point.

Rick Reid  12:58  
And then you're still in touch with Lydia cabinet. Oh,

Steven M. Martin  13:00  
yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, we spoke recently. She's great. She live in in England. Now.

Rick Reid  13:06  
Eric Ross, I know was not in your film. But he was involved in the making of it. And he talks about you and giving him the opportunity to meet with Professor Theremin.

Steven M. Martin  13:15  
Oh, yeah. In fact, I just was looking at some footage of Eric and love Sergei image. Eric brought up this little like pocket sized them and then was showing it to professor's them and then the two of them were talking about it and I have some footage of that. I'm not sure if I have the sound that goes with it. Professor Sarum and died the night The film was first scene, which was on British television. Bob mo is gone. Clara's gone barrel Campbell, Sookie Bader Henry Solomonoff. They're gone. I was very fortunate to have captured all of these people at the right time.

Rick Reid  13:51  
What was it like for you to meet Theremin as an elderly man having learned about his early success and popularity in New York and all those kinds of things, I thought, seeing him as a young man in the film, and then in his 90s, I felt a little sad for him.

Steven M. Martin  14:09  
Well, he is a cruel mistress. When I met him, I had not seen the archival footage yet. So I had written him which had to be hand delivered sort of secretly, because it was a Soviet Union and when Robert stone, the acclaimed filmmaker who agreed to come along with me as my cinematographer, and of course I wouldn't be the sound man when we went to the Soviet Union. And it was there's so much effort going into just getting that getting the permission, getting the visas, getting the equipment there, getting the film stock back that was stolen at the airport, when I got to the chairman's house, and met him to his apartment for the first time. I was really overwhelmed because suddenly it was real and here's this guy, and he had this aura of work. Aliens around him. It was really exciting. And he couldn't have been more cordial. And he was totally cool. What I learned from Clara and her friend Mildred traube talking to them was no matter what I had done that I thought was cool in New York and Los Angeles wherever. Clara and Mildred had done the same thing 50 years earlier, but in a more interesting way, and with a more interesting group of people. These were real, super cool people in their youth. And it really changed the way I looked at old people in general, they realize, Oh, my God, they were all young ones too. And we're running around town. So I wasn't sad. When I met Theremin I was unhappy that the Soviet Union wasn't in great shape. And he wasn't living in wealth. But it didn't make me sad to see him I was thrilled. And I felt this was an important story to tell. And that loves her gave its wasn't getting the credit that he so deserved, for starting the entire electronic music genre. I mean, literally, everywhere he went, a homegrown version of his clean sheet of paper designed, followed. So when he went to France, presto, there's the own Martin Oh, I went to Germany, presto, there's the truck, Tony,

Rick Reid  16:31  
how has making their money and electronic Odyssey set the course of your life since then? Or has it?

Steven M. Martin  16:38  
Well, it's completely changed everything. I went from being, you know, one of millions of struggling filmmakers to suddenly getting a claim around the world. In a way it was like, you know, a dream come true. It was a complete surprise to find myself being referred to as a documentary filmmaker, because I never thought of myself as a documentary filmmaker. But I got to meet all the best documentary filmmakers around I became friends with da Pennebaker, which was like meeting God Himself. He and his wife couldn't have been nicer and more supportive of me, I traveled the world with the film, you know, it was life changing the flag, if you're a musician, and you suddenly have a hit record and you go on tour, it was a bit like that. I did find that people were suddenly saying, Well, how do we know you can do a feature film? You're a documentary filmmaker? And it's like, No, no, no, I'm a filmmaker who made a documentary. Don't take that tack. I prepared a script for a dramatic version of the film that would have I don't know, maybe it would be too expensive. But Sony decided not to make it mula schwarmann. Wanted to direct it. You know, in the old days in filmmaking, you would take a book that you liked, or that you thought was interesting. And the challenge was to take that 250 page 300 400 page novel and distill it down to 120. screenplay pages. How can you tell this entire story in two hours right when it took you 10 hours to read the book? And now the opposite has taken place where they take a short story and turn it into a 10 hour series? Oh, yeah. Right. So So instead of distilling it, now it's been expanded. So I think the story of my film essentially would make a great six hour series, because it's essentially the whole century of music.

Rick Reid  18:38  
A lot of the people I know that are Theremin enthusiasts and who actually listened to this podcast, haven't had a chance to see the movie because the DVD releases available have the region coding and they can't see it in their country, when or where can they get that opportunity?

Steven M. Martin  18:54  
Right now I'm preparing to get the negative rescanned again in 4k, so that it's high def. It'll still have the Dolby soundtrack, but it'll be high def. And I hope to get that out this year, and then get it distributed. But the whole way films are distributed as changed. It was on Amazon Prime in North America for a while but now it's not MGM has a distribution rights. I mean, I own the film, they have the distribution rights for a couple of more years. So I hope to get it on to a worldwide streaming platform soon so that everyone that wants to see it can see it.

Rick Reid  19:35  
Well, I want to thank you for being on the show with me. And on behalf of a lot of the listeners and other people that I've met over the years. We want to thank you for the wonderful catalysts that your film has been for many of us both in our musical lives and in our personal lives. I mean, I have dozens and dozens of friends that I never would have met if it weren't for your film. And you know, the list goes on and on. So you know, we're really grateful Go for what you've done for the Theremin and for us.

Steven M. Martin  20:03  
Oh, well, thank you. You're being very kind. I'm happy about that. And I'm proud of it all. I can't tell you how many people have said to me either personally or via email or in a Facebook comment while your film changed my life, which is a really sort of heavy thing to realize, and it's so flattering to have that sort of impact. So I'm thrilled by it. You know, I think everyone should have a Theremin.

Rick Reid  20:31  
I'll be sure to let you know when that 4k release of Stephens film becomes available. In the meantime, you may still be able to find the DVD for sale online, and lots of public libraries and university libraries have it available to borrow. I've added a link to a library database in this month's show notes and you can watch the movies trailer on our YouTube playlist. Don't go anywhere. We're not finished yet. I've got more Theremin music coming up. So stay tuned.

Rick Reid  21:17  
We have just enough time to squeeze in two more Theremin songs. First we'll hear a track called sundown from the new album airflow by Makoto Kikuchi

Rick Reid  25:34  
That was sundown by Makoto Kikuchi Makoto will be appearing live with his other project and demo at the Kobe, Big Apple on March 21. Right now I'm going to wrap up the festivities with Parisian punk from human toys with their catchy tune about exterminating zombies called don't Bury Your Dead. It only has just a little bit of Theremin in it, but fortunately, there's no minimum Theremin requirement to be on this show.

Rick Reid  28:25  
That was don't Bury Your Dead by human toys. The duo includes poupee mechanik on vocals and Theremin and john Vaughan on everything else. The song is from their 2020 album spin to win available with a name your own price deal on Bandcamp the hilarious but gory music video is on our YouTube playlist. The PlayList also includes an early version of the previous song I played at sundown by Makoto Kikuchi. There's a link to the playlist on the Theremin 30 website. Many thanks, of course to Gilda rosani and Han spawning Matteo chimi Nari, Makoto Kikuchi and human toys for sharing their music, and Steven m Martin for visiting with me about Theremin and electronic Odyssey. Coming up in the March episode, my guest will be Yoko ohnishi. She owns one of the three registered RCA, Theremin 's and all of Japan. And l spin new Theremin music from Kevin senate Dr. G, the banter experience and maybe you please show some love to all the musicians who have appeared on this show over the last couple of years by in purchasing their music, attending their streaming gigs and eventually their concerts when we can get back to that. And if you'd like to support my efforts, there's a virtual tip jar on the website. Until next time, I'm your host, Rick Reid, stay safe and we'll see you soon. If not in person then somewhere in the ether.

Unknown Speaker  29:47  
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