We have the pleasure of sitting down with Ade Martin, a rising star in the music scene whose passion and dedication to her craft have propelled her on an exciting journey of self-discovery and artistic growth.
Former member of Hinds, with two EPs under her belt and a desire to make a lasting impact, Ade Martin is ready to expose herself, both musically and personally, to the world.
Ade reflects on her journey, creative autonomy, being a solo artist, and taking the initial steps towards the spotlight under the name of Shanghai Baby.
“Well, I mean, I think it was in November. Yes, in November I finished my second EP” says the 31 years old from Madrid, “ I released the first EP as Shanghai Baby last year, in May, a year ago. Straight after I went into the studio again and recorded a second EP.” For Ade Martin, composting is a continuous process that knows no bounds, and she finds himself constantly honing her craft. “I don’t really stop composing,” she tells, “as soon as I released my first project I was already working on the second one.”
From the moment Ade Martin set foot in the studio to begin recording her second EP, she knew she was embarking on a different artistic journey. Unlike her first EP, which flowed organically from her thoughts, this project was more calculated and intentional. Ade had a clear vision for sound and production, bringing a heightened level of thoughtfulness to her work. “Working on my new EP I realised that I wanted to finish the songs in the studio, that I wanted to take the ideas with me, to give it more freedom, and this shows in the end result. There are so many more calculated elements. There are a lot of things there that didn’t happen in the first one because the songs were much more closed. In the second one… A lot more things happen lots. And I think it’s more indie.”
Her debut EP exuded a DIY grunge vibe, while the second EP draws inspiration from the indie music scene of the 2000s and early 2010s. Artists like Phoenix and The Strokes left an indelible mark on Ade’s musical palette during that period, and she sought to reflect that influence in this project, “The melodies in the first EP were much calmer, and the way of singing too, the guitars, it was all a bit gentler.” She explains, “And this second one has a lot more rage in the guitars, in the vocals, in everything, there’s a lot of screaming, it’s a much more angry record. I was very angry, and this kind of aggressive music started to get to me a lot. I wanted to have that attitude myself, that rage.”
Ade’s lyrics offer a window into her emotional landscape rather than recounting specific experiences. The first EP emerged from a period of grappling with depression, serving as a musical journey toward recovery. In contrast, the second EP captures a different emotional trajectory – a feeling of being overwhelmed and lacking control over one’s life. “They’re not very specific [the lyrics], not about something particular that happens to me, they’re feelings that I’m having. I’ve had a year of feeling that I wasn’t making decisions for myself, like I wasn’t being the owner of my decisions and my life and my days and my hours” she opens up, “I didn’t feel in control of myself. And that has been a great burden for me in the last few years. And I think that’s what I’ve unconsciously expressed.”
The now-solo artist articulates a yearning to reclaim agency, her journey as an artist unfolded over eight years as part of a band, Hinds. While the experience brought moments of joy and accomplishment, it also came with its fair share of challenges.
Ade is now making her presence felt on the live music scene as a solo artist, particularly in her home country of Spain, “Now I’m playing a lot in Spain, I’m very much into preparing well for the live show, so that everything sounds good, the way I want it to sound, with a band that I’m comfortable with. I’m really focusing on everything that goes around the songs, the image and the way the EP is presented” she continues, “ I’m starting to kind of expose myself a bit more. In fact, that’s what I’m playing at the Great Escape in Brighton now in May. I’m starting to get more into the global industry and so on, because the first EP was more unpretentious. And with this one, I really want to try to make things work, ultimately I want to play more”.
Beyond the music itself, Martin is actively involved in every facet of her project, immersing herself in the creative process of shaping her image through photography, videography, and album artwork. Her commitment to embracing the entirety of her musical journey is evident, “For me, it always goes together, the music and the visuals. The first EP, all the videos, everything was much more laid back. There was some stuff that was a bit more aggressive, but not that much. And now I’m like, I’m telling you, since the LP has been based a lot on that, I’m trying to take everything that way. I mean, the video clip I’m releasing now, next week, is a bit stifling, and aggressive, there are worms, there’s dirt, it’s a bit disgusting and stifling. And it’s a bit like what I got out of making the EP. And that, on an aesthetic level, I kind of like that, like a more grungy, aggressive thing, you know? More than that, a calmer thing.”
While fashion holds a special place in Martin’s creative vision, she approaches it with a preference for comfort and a personal touch. “I find it very difficult to wear something that I haven’t chosen or that someone I trust has chosen, you know? Someone who knows me. I mean, I don’t like to dress up.” Thrifted clothing pieces dominate her wardrobe, complemented by bold accessories and punk-inspired elements like safety pins. The grunge aesthetic aligns with her musical style and embodies the same authentic, unpretentious spirit she wants to convey. “for me it is very important that fashion transmits the same way my music does. I know what I want to express with my choices”
Dreaming of performing in renowned music hubs like New York and London, she sees these markets as the ideal platforms for her English-sung, Anglo-Saxon-inspired sound to flourish. With ambitions to secure a label that not only believes in her talent but also actively promotes her internationally, Martin envisions her music resonating with audiences on a global scale. “New York or London is the goal right now. To get a gig in London… Or even opening for someone and touring.”
Ade Martin’s music draws comparisons to acclaimed bands such as Pixies, The Strokes, and LCD Soundsystem. Her distinct blend of influences creates a captivating sonic experience that will appeal to fans of alternative rock and post-punk.