Efrain Martinez, alias Sweatcult, is an American musician. At just seventeen years old, the Southern California-based artist has more than one string to his bow. He talked to Esthète about his music-making process, inspirations, and his strong support system.
When did you begin making music?
Making music was always something I was interested in doing. I vividly remember picking up my dad’s iPhone 4 in second grade and messing around on GarageBand just making the most random things. I eventually learned how to work it and through that, I acquired basic production skills. I loved changing my name all the time, the idea of being a musician was surreal to me and I wanted to reach for it. I created so many things but never put them out, until my first song ever to the public, ‘Widower’ I think it was a little over two years ago.
Where did you draw inspiration to compose ‘Silverline’? How was the song-making process?
Silverline… Well, that song has so many heavy influences that are very evident throughout the track. Those Quentin Tarantino soundtracks from countless of his movies with fast riffs and almost like a Spanish feel to them, old Caifanes songs that I grew up listening to were bouncing all around my head as I sat there and tried to think of something to play on my guitar, and then boom, the song was born. I made that song in my room, as well as everything else I make. After the chords were established I just started singing lines and writing down the ones I liked and the lines that connected to the subject matter. I never think about the melody too much because if I think about it, it never comes out natural and it makes the song sound fabricated.
Musically, who are your biggest influences and who are your favorite musicians?
This is a tough question for me. Mainly because I have so many musicians I look up to very much. I’m not sure if they influenced me one-hundred percent but I would say a huge percentage came from Joy Division and The Smiths. Both Ian Curtis’ and Morrisey’s writing styles are so awesome to me, the way they projected ideas and self-reflection in their songs really inspired what I create. The skippy drums Joy Division songs tended to have sounded so cool to me, especially Unknown Pleasures, every song on that record is so memorable and I still come back and listen to it every now and then. I also have more current artists I love to listen to like, Surf Curse, Levitation Room, Ariel Pink, there are so many others but the list would be far too long.
How would you describe your style?
My style in music is always fluctuating and changing all the time, but I think many of the songs have Post-Punk and Surf-Rock elements within them. I just love the fuzz and lo-fi sound guitars give off sometimes and I unintentionally made my music that style. Drums are essential for a song to sound “surf.” I mentioned Joy Division before, the way they have that skippy sound to them is a real drum pattern that I use a lot and that is used often throughout surf rock. Look at the song ’Disorder’ by Joy Division for example. In terms of lyrics, however, they usually revolve around personal experiences and my take on social issues.
What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in a year?
Life is so weird, the most unexpected things happen so it’s really hard to tell where I’ll be. The whole music thing started as just a hobby and then out of the blue, my life changed because of social media. So many things can happen in a year but, I can definitely say I’ll be working really hard on doing what I love and take advantage of every opportunity I get.
What’s one thing we should remember about you?
I don’t know, I just want to let people that listen to my music know that it is the most honest thing I do, and I do it out of love. I never think of making music out of business or a job or even out of fame, because then it ruins my inspiration and then it isn’t pure anymore. I can spend months just enjoying my social life and family, and then randomly I’ll come back into my room for hours just working on my art.
Anything else you want to add?
I just want to thank my family for being so supportive, as usual, especially my mom for just sticking with me and putting me on the right path, thank you mom, I love you. Also, I want to thank everybody that listens to my music, it really drives me and motivates me, I love seeing people enjoy what I create it’s the most heartwarming thing ever. Thank you guys as well, for taking interest and wanting to know about me, huge shoutout to everyone at Esthète, you guys are awesome.