Martin Rossiter is a singer songwriter based in Brighton. Having been away from the music business for the past 6 years, Martin is brim full of new songs just aching to be put to tape, and is spending the next 6 month writing and recording 10 pieces comprising vocals and piano with producer Russ Keffert.
Martin was formerly the lead singer and song writer in the band Gene. Formed in the summer of 1993, quickly melding a waspish chemistry from the base components of Steve Mason (guitar), Martin Rossiter (vocals), Kevin Miles (bass) and Matt James (drums). Writing songs together and honing their live profile, their influences were culled from bands such as The Jam, The Clash and the Small Faces. Their debut release, the double a-side “For The Dead”/”Child’s Body”, released on the fledgling Costermonger label in May 1994, set out a distinct musical agenda. Single Of The Week and Month awards followed from New Musical Express and Select magazines, with the limited 1,994 pressing selling out within two days after it was play-listed by BBC Radio 1. A strong reaction was also gained as support to Pulp at London’s Forum, where Rossiter’s stage presence illuminated Gene’s performance. August brought a second single, this time promoted as a “triple a-side”, featuring “Be My Light, Be My Guide”, “This Is Not My Crime” and “I Can’t Help Myself”. Gaining pole position in the UK independent poll, and reaching number 54 in the UK charts proper, the band set out on their first headlining UK tour.
Following further positive press, the band signed a major label recording contract with Polydor Records. A third single, “Sleep Well Tonight’, followed an appearance at the Reading Festival, and the band also played mainland Europe for the first time with Elastica and Oasis. Select”s description of the single, “ace crooning and rock and roll iridescence”, came closest to cornering Gene’s appeal. It saw them break the UK Top 40, as they featured highly in various end of year polls for brightest newcomers. The release of “Haunted By You” in February 1995 prefigured a debut album proper, produced by Phil Vinall. With less direct, even nebulous material sandwiching the energy of the singles, there was much for critics to reflect on. Eschewing the self-consciously fey approach of Suede, the uncouth voyeurism of Pulp or the “new lad” abrasiveness of Oasis, Rossiter’s songs were dominated instead by a wholly unromantic cast of characters inhabiting a down-at-heel, broken world with little hope of redemption.
The 1996 release To See The Lights compiled b-sides and live recordings, acting as a stop-gap for the accomplished Drawn To The Deep End, released in early 1997, with the band displaying a greater musical diversity to back-up Rossiter’s lyrical dramas. Revelations was another occasionally inspired collection, although critics bemoaned the fact that Gene still seemed unable to successfully translate their excellent live sound onto record. The band was released from its Polydor contract at the end of the year. The following summer they recorded a live album at Hollywood’s legendary Troubadour club called Rising For Sunset. Their last studio album, Libertine, was released in October 2001 and after many more tours the band split in 2004.