Lee Martin

Develops websites for rock and roll bands and gets paid in sex and drugs.

Page 4

Bloc Party Four


Four is the magic number

Bloc Party are back from hiatus [1] and are preparing to release their fourth record, appropriately titled “Four,” next week on August 20th. In addition to this being the band’s fourth release, it also represents them getting back to their musical roots, as it was only the four of them in the studio. Listen to the lead single “Octopus” to hear what I mean.

This theme of simplicity is carried onto how the record is represented visually as well. The cover displays four olympic colored rings on a black background. Within the linear notes you’ll find four similarly colored images of each band member, leaving us to believe that the rings must represent each of the members.

Oh, and a quick aside while I’m on the topic of visuals: both the band logo and linear notes are set in default web fonts! I guess their logo was always set in “Gill Sans,” but the italicized...

Continue reading →

I ♥ Electronic Mail

Images are not displayed, dude

Maybe I’ve lost my mind…

but I really like designing and developing for email. Yes, email. There’s something about the rigid structure of tables and inline CSS that makes me feel nostalgic, and I like being challenged to do something interesting within those confines.

I hadn’t coded an email in quite some time until two weeks ago when I had to relaunch my career and personal brand as a freelancer. For the past two years, I’ve been doing these plain text music business newsletters while at SoundCloud to keep my colleagues up to date with all the apps I was developing, and I knew I really wanted to port that into my personal work life in the format of HTML.

One Editor to Rule Them All

After shopping around for the right email fulfillment product, I settled on Campaign Monitor. I’ve always been a huge fan of how they shared deep knowledge on the subject of email design and development...

Continue reading →

The Keywork Clock

It’s been less than two weeks since I resurrected myself as a freelancer, and I’ve been busy building faders, re-envisioning old apps, taking some calls, and writing a library of proposals. One of the first projects I signed on to help with was the hyping and announcing of Coheed and Cambria’s new double album, The Afterman.

The timeline on this was aggressive so I tried to keep things simple by focusing on accessibility. And what better way to do that than utilizing a Kid of Heaven’s Fence [1] most exciting moment and biggest fear:

The Countdown

According to the band’s manager, these fans have had a few run-ins with countdowns over the years. Hell, some of their countdowns lead to more countdowns… After sketching out a few boring standard “00:00:00” countdown clocks, I decided if I was going to take this on, I needed to give this diabolical marketing technique a fresh new look.


Continue reading →

Sharing Music on Twitter

Van Halen and Twitter

Are you coming from twt.fm? I’ve shut down the site and provided you with a more practical alternative below. The TWT.FM brand will live on as an entirely different idea. Stay tuned.

In 2009

In February of 2009, I created a simple little app that allowed you to share music on Twitter called twt.fm. [1] Once logged in, you simply provided a search query for a particular song and the app generated a basic page which was automatically linked to via a short url (e.g. twt.fm/123) within a newly drafted tweet.

At the time it worked nicely, but it was more or less a bandaid for Twitter’s non-existent rich media strategy. Hell, at that time they didn’t even seem that worried about photos and there seemed to be a shortening service for everything.

However, things have changed and Twitter has made it much easier to include music in your tweets by simply linking to a few 3rd party services...

Continue reading →

Here Goes Something

Grand Re-Opening

After two incredibly inspiring and amazing years at SoundCloud, I’ve decided to depart and return to the world of freelance web development.

The Last Two Years

In June of 2010, I left SAM with a purpose: I wanted to become a better programmer. I knew my best chance of doing that was to surround myself with great developers. So I put the word out that I was looking to join a technology company, and soon after was offered a job with SoundCloud as their Experimental Developer and first US employee. I was stoked.

Initially, I worked alongside Dave Haynes and his content team to assist in our music relations. Dave and I had this sort of “Good Cop, Developer Cop” technique when we pitched labels. He would speak wisely about the benefits of our product and I would Don Draper some new ideas utilizing our platform and that particular label’s artists.

I developed some custom SoundCloud...

Continue reading →

De-veloped in The Comatorium

Lee Martin and Cedric Bixler-Zavala

An origin story about forums, donations, and death.

At the end of my senior year at South Terrebonne High School in 2003, I was inspired by Mr. Boudreax’s Programming 101 class to develop a website. It just so happened that my buddy Brady and I were getting into At The Drive-In at the time. A band that recently split up into two bands, Sparta and The Mars Volta, at the height of their career. ATDI wouldn’t reunite for another nine years, so we had to make due with the side projects.

I chose Sparta initially because “Cut Your Ribbon” seemed to sound a bit more hardcore and at this angsty part of my life, I required it. I remember catching them at the Shim Sham Club in New Orleans in 2002 with my sister Maria. They were rad. However, their record Wiretap Scars had been released a year earlier whereas TMV had yet to release a full length. I decided that TMV was ripe for a website.



Continue reading →

Point No. 02, Love Where You Are From


Aaron Draplin is a lot of things: large, beardy, michiganian. But I prefer, inspirational. I recently came across his 50 Point Plan To Ruin Yer Career and he had me at Point No. 02:

Love Where You Are From

I’m from the great state of Louisiana. Terrebonne parish to be exact. Home of Mardi Gras, the Saints, and a history of nasty hurricanes - not to mention drinking openly on the street which makes the last three things even better.

I love it.

I moved to Los Angeles four years ago to make it in music… web development. It’s different. But I’ve done everything I can to bring that Louisiana feeling here:

  • Dating someone (in LA) from Louisiana. Hey, Maggie.
  • Turning all my LA friends into Saints fans and winning the Superbowl. Coat-Tail riders!
  • And learning how to cook the food I grew up with: Cajun.

Tonight I’ll be live-blogging my Mom’s (or maybe it was her Mom’s, I’ll check)...

Continue reading →

Waveforms, Let’s Talk About Them


I’ve worked at SoundCloud for over two years now, and if there’s one thing I do a lot, it’s color waveforms. Tons of them. And, I’ve done it several different ways. Today, Johannes and I are pumped to announce a new JavaScript library called Waveform.js that will assist you in your coloring efforts. But first, let’s take some time to look back and learn from past techniques.

Element Stacking

If you’ve used our API before, you’ll know that each track resource contains a waveform_url that points to a 1800 x 280 pixel PNG of that particular sound. The classic way of coloring this image was to not color it at all. Instead, you would simply stack it on top of two or three absolutely positioned DIVs whose size was adjusted given the loading or playing state of that sound.


So, what’s wrong with this technique? Well, you can’t adjust the outer color of the waveform image. So unless the...

Continue reading →



View →

On Smashing Pumpkins, My Sister, and SoundCloud Premiere

Bullet with Butterfly Wings

For best results, stream the new record “Oceania” while reading.

Smashing Pumpkins represent three “firsts” for me:

  1. My first concert. November 27, 1996 at the Gulfcoast Coliseum in Biloxi, MS. Garbage opened.

  2. My first contact high. (See above)

  3. But most importantly, the first time my sister Maria [1] and I bonded over music.

I remember watching this music video on MTV in our family’s living room. I was in awe and Maria caught me. She, being an early worshiper of the Church of Billy, reluctantly took me through the entire discography. A few weeks later, we were dueting “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” on the way to church. (Sorry mom)

Now, Maria refuses to admit she was “goth” in high school, but at the very least she was “alternative.” And, I can say for certain that looking up to her edginess was one of the factors that helped prepare and shape me for the music business.

Love you...

Continue reading →