Interview With Marten Kuningas


Hi there! It's been awhile since I last wrote an article on christianreeve.com. I decided that since this was a particularly special occasion, I would like to take the opportunity to write about my experience interviewing a hero of mine - Estonian musician, Marten Kuningas.

I contacted Marten randomly online with the thought in my mind 'why not? who knows? maybe he'll say yes?'. Then perhaps a week or so later, I received a message from Marten, and I wondered if I was dreaming. I recall jumping up and down in the room I was in, with sheer excitement and happiness.

Perhaps 3-4 days later, the day came and we sat down to do the interview. I had honestly thought that Marten had changed his mind, because he did not immediately say yes in the days between our first messages, and the day of the podcast.

I remember sitting at my computer after having played basketball intensely that day, I was not prepared at all to do an interview (from a technical standpoint), and then suddenly! I received a messaged from Marten. He informed me that he had some time, and I jumped at the opportunity, knocking all of my equipment over in the process.

I am very proud of this interview, and I did my very best to present everything that's great about Marten Kuningas and his band, Miljardid. As I state within the interview, I genuinely consider estonian music to be highly underrated, as there are many excellent musicians that sincerely deserve more international recognition, and at the forefront of that list is Marten Kuningas & Miljardid.

My Interview With Marten Kuningas

It was an absolute pleasure for me to interview Marten. He couldn't have been more accommodating, and was a real gentleman throughout. I must say, I've met many celebrities throughout my life, but rarely are they this nice, genuine, and approachable.

You can listen to my interview with Marten either via the video provided below, or you can stream it for free via the following links:

The Christian Reeve Podcast | Full Interview With Marten Kuningas

Who is Marten Kuningas?

Marten Kuningas is the frontman of indie, alternative rock outfit, Miljardid, and has been playing music in some capacity all of his life. However, his decision to become a full-time musician came about through several factors in his life.

Marten was inspired by his brother to study a degree at Tartu University, and experience the university life that comes with it. Marten graduated from Tartu University with a degree in journalism and public relations, but during this time he would regularly attend his brother's concerts, with his band 'Dahling'.

It was during this time that Marten was inspired to pursue his career in music, having been so inspired by his brother's band. Soon after Marten would enter 'Eesti Otsib Superstaari' (the Estonian Idol television show), reaching the quarter finals of the show.

Soon after Marten released a highly experimental album with 'Leegitsev Sidrun', titled 'Laulev Revolutsioon' in 2010, followed by his first solo album, 'Janu', in 2012. It is arguably during this period and onwards that Marten began to craft his unique songwriting style, but with his 2014 album 'Praktiline Mees', and the release of the special single 'Targurpidi Vaal', the transition to his band 'Miljardid' was fully realised.

Tagurpidi Vaal was the first song written by Marten Kuningas and his songwriting partner and fellow Miljardid bandmate, Raul Ojamaa. Continuing the trend of this particular song being special, it was also the first occasion that Miljardid's band members all played together on a track. In 2015, Miljardid was officially born.

Miljardid

Miljardid is comprised of: Marten Kuningas, Raul Ojamaa, Peedu Kass, and Kristjan Kallas. Before releasing an EP or full length album, Miljardid opted to tour together for two years, playing a mixture of Marten's older music, together with new tracks that Miljardid planned to release in the future.

In 2015 and 2016 respectively, Miljardid released two singles titled 'Mister Please' and 'Allan', which provided a clear indication of where the band's sound was headed, and potentially what fans could expect to hear in a future full length release.

Kunagi Läänes

In 2017, Miljardid finally released their debut album - Kunagi Läänes (Once A Upon A Time I The West or Ever In The West). The band essentially built on what they had achieved with their previous track 'Tagurpidi Vaal' in regards to the sound of their music, creating an excellent album that still contained the experiment style of Marten, but which also possessed more of a coherent sound throughout.

The album in its entirety was excellent (in my personal opinion), but did have particular singles that received a lot of radio play including: 'Olendid' and 'Pseudoprobleem'. In 2018, the band would go on to win three awards for this album at the Estonian Music Awards show, including:

  • Debut Album Of The Year

  • Best Rock Album

  • Album Of The Year

Imeline

In 2019, Miljardid released 'Imeline', a four track EP that was recorded when they were recording Kunagi Läänes. The songs were simply omitted from the album to keep it concise, but they follow a similar sound to the album and include some great riffs. The single 'Imeline' was a particularly great track, receiving lots of radio play in Estonia.

Ma Luban, Et Ma Muutun

On June 19th, 2020, Miljardid released their single 'Ma Luban, Et Ma Muutun' (which translates to 'I promise, I'll change). This will also be the name of their upcoming album, which is reportedly due to be released in Autumn 2020.

This album's theme explores themes of recovery, self reflection, and the contemplation and understanding of one's purpose in their life, and in relation to those around them. During my interview with Marten, he also confirmed that the sound will actually be even more experimental - so expect to be surprised!

The band's Facebook page defines their overall sound as being ''Alternative Indie'' (which I personally think doesn't really get across their sound, as it is highly experimental and very unique). When I asked Marten about this, he joked that they had created their own genre, and sometimes refer to their sound as being like 'Esoteric Rock or EsoRock'.

Support & Listen To Miljardid & Marten Kuningas

I could talk to you all day about why you need Miljardid & Marten Kuningas in your life, but don't take my word for it, let the music speak for itself! You can find all of their music and some useful links for regular updates in the links below:

Listen to ''Ma luban, et ma muutun'' - the latest single by Miljardid: https://open.spotify.com/track/3yr2cNx0qbZexg2XFSR8Ue?si=PyTg3AfRSUq1PLmrGVTfRg

Listen to Miljardid's latest releases on spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1w3secWf4xJZLtJY6DdL97?si=AYLMAm5-R_WMtqyJJUBZiA

Purchase Miljardid merchandise here: https://www.311.ee/miljardid

Listen to Marten Kuningas' older releases on spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3Nad4Q4qZi6CwcrRzVWoOW?si=I8RALqEWR9Kf70k6HAlHcQ

Listen to Doktor Normal (Marten's rap side project): https://open.spotify.com/artist/0ViYRUHEVANm4SPXnWCOMf?si=BQtwSojcTku9wKKSqaA7SA

Get the latest updates from Miljardid on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/miljardid/

Follow Miljardid on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miljardidband/

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