Martinez emphasizes that even if you’re just making music on your own, it’s still important to get feedback from people who are close to you.
“You can put something out regardless of whether people like it or not, but since I want people to appreciate what I’m doing, I always look out for any movement they may make when they’re listening to it or how they’re vibing to it because that’s what I’m trying to do,” Martinez said. “I’m trying to make people move. I’m trying to make people feel something.”
There’s something powerful in being the sole producer of songs, tracks, or albums, according to Martinez, because you are totally in control of making people feel a certain way when they listen to your music.
“I’m really just trying to make my music my vibe. And for me it’s important to have that outlet as a person, and especially as a musician. You want people to be able to feel you,” Martinez said. Obviously with music being the best platform for expressing yourself and who you are, if you have your own platform to do what you do, then there’s nothing better than that. It’s actually very satisfying to be able to put out my own music and to do my own thing.”
He also acknowledges that being a lead singer of a band while also working on solo stuff puts him in a strange position, leaving fans of Chicano Batman speculating at times.
“We are still pushing forward together, but it’s a different relationship,” Martinez said. “I know when I’m working with Chicano Batman, and my three other brothers in the band, I still bring songs to the band that I write, but I know that they will interpret what I’m doing in different way. They’re also going to bring something beautiful to the table to these songs that I wouldn’t bring to the table to a particular song. It’s just a different way of making music, that’s all it is.”
Two other members of Chicano Batman, including bassist Eduardo Arenas and drummer Gabriel Villa, also have musical side projects of their own. The band openly discusses these ventures and understands they actually create connections rather than chasms.
“Making music with other people is just like making music with different communities. Every community is its own vibe, and being a part of one community should not exclude you from being a part of another community. If anything, music is the best way of connecting all these communities.”
Martinez’s music, whether it’s Chicano Batman or his solo work, incorporates many different styles. Crediting an array of influences from salsa queen Celia Cruz to Mexican balladeer Leo Dan to rock ‘n’ roll legends The Beatles, Martinez insists that it’s actually quite easy to find synergistic combinations with different styles of music.
“The thing about styles and genres is that —whether you’re listening to something from the U.S. like some soul music, or you’re listening to some ‘70s music from Latin America— people think that they’re separate, but they’re actually very similar,” Martinez said.
“People perceive genres as [being] limited. People still have these paradigms that they connect with styles. Like if you do hip-hop then you’re black; if you’re doing cumbia then you have to be this or that. The reality is that these rhythms, etcetera, and styles are more alike than you think.”