Martin Green is a musician, Ivor Novello Award-winning composer and podcaster who’s best known as the accordionist with award-winning Scottish folk supergroup Lau, a collaboration between himself, guitarist Kris Drever and fiddle player Aidan O’Rourke.

His latest audio drama, Keli, is based on his 2022 series for BBC Radio 4, Love, Spit And Valve Oil, and explores the world of brass bands. It stars James Cosmo and Anna Russell-Martin. Split The Air, his new album, is an associated work which celebrated community and collective action and draws on the talents of the famous Whitburn brass band. It will be performed at Glasgow’s Tramway on February 3 as part of the Celtic Connections festival.

What’s the last book you read?

I read two books at the same time, one quite dry and one quite light. They were: A Dominant Character: The Radical Science And Restless Politics Of JBS Haldane, who was an interesting person, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – which had been bought with our daughter in mind, but she wasn’t reading it.

What’s the last film you saw in a cinema?

Ainslie Henderson’s very beautiful film Shackle.

What music are you currently listening to a lot?

Dan Gurney’s Irish Music On The Button Accordion. I love his style and pacing and there are no tricks. It is, quite simply Irish music on the button accordion. Love it.

What musical instrument do you wish you could play?

Electric bass, specifically of the Motown/James Jamerson/Nathan Watts variety. Why? Because bass playing like that is a whole bit of music in itself, but also an integral part of this incredible rhythm machine. And it’s cool. As an accordion player I sometimes daydream about being cool. I think that’s fair enough.

Recommend a podcast …

Rule Of Three, the podcast about making comedy. It’s probably only good if you are someone that likes to see how sausage gets made. It’s comedy actors as guests, choosing a favourite bit of comedy (film, series, episode, person) and discussing it with two comedy writers. They pull the back off how comedy is made and I like that. I’m a bit interested in how anything gets made, this podcast maybe just has more gags in it than ones on how industrial farm machinery gets made, so maybe I just gravitated to it. After a while you get used to the people and voices on podcasts and they become little safe spaces to return to.

The Herald: The White LotusThe White Lotus (Image: free)

And a TV box-set …

White Lotus, especially Season 1, because I think it addresses some big points about colonialism and the acting is impeccable, the music is absolutely brilliant and mixed bravely loud, it is very funny and it’s complex. It doesn’t pretend to hold answers, just a load of questions, some of which I hadn’t really thought about before.

What have you seen recently that you think was completely over-rated?

It wasn’t that recent but I took our son to see Cats – the touring version and felt like I’d been mugged. Why did I think it was over-rated? It struck me as a very, very thin piece of work, there is no dramaturgy, no drama, it elicited no investment from me, so in short, as an audience member I didn’t care. It didn’t provide its ticket price in entertainment, and the music was shallow.

What has been your most formative cultural experience?

I’m going to say going to traditional Irish music sessions as a teenager, and realising there was a whole way of life that involved sitting around with other people (both strangers and friends) and playing music. I found it (still find it) hugely meaningful. What it made me want to do was play music all the time forever, and that led to a lot of practice and eventually a career in folk music. Twenty-five years later I saw Théätre Complicité’s The Encounter and it made me want to tell theatrical stories. That was also a big one.

What haven’t you managed to get around to yet but will when you have the time?

True Detective – I think I may be a decade late, but I’ll get there one day.

What was the most memorable recent theatre show you saw?

Gunter at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Fringe this year. It was about witches and football and toxic sexism. It was genuinely unusual, I would go as far as unique.

The acting was brilliant, it was funny and weird and made me think and the physicality of the performers was astonishing.

Favourite comedian?

Favourite comic writer would be Tina Fey – cos it’s so clever, 30 Rock still very solid in my opinion, and asks a few questions. Stand up, Stewart Lee.

The Herald: Tina Fey in Mean Girls, the musicalTina Fey in Mean Girls, the musical (Image: free)

Favourite musician?

Of all time? Stevie Wonder – of a particular period – Talking Book/Innervisions. Why? It’s Stevie Wonder. Is there something we need to discuss?

Favourite film?

Fargo – because I decided about 20 years ago that was the answer to that question, and actually trying to ascertain my favourite film on a day to day basis is an exhausting prospect.

It’s a great film though eh?

Recommend an album …

Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’Brien’s Solas An Lae (The Light Of The Day). Heart-breaking singing, beautiful fiddle playing, soul and depth and sorrow and joy.

And a band …

This Is The Kit, because Kate Stables and her band are rocking and beautiful and it will make you happy.

Irvine Welsh or Robert Louis Stevenson?

I want both grit and adventure so I’m not picking.

Trombone or French horn?


Vinyl or MP3?