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Transcribing the life and times of Kevin Martin

TAGs: audio interview, Kevin Martin

Lee Davy sits down with the beehive that is Kevin Martin to talk about his life on the radio, Twitch and how he would teach his kids about God.

Transcribing the life and times of Kevin Martin Audio

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I have a secret to tell.

I want to tell you about the part of my job that makes me want to shove cotton candy in my mouth and greet the bees who open the front door of the hive with a great big smile.

Transcribing the life and times of Kevin MartinI hate transcribing interviews.

I love interviewing people. I like turning the final transcript into something more palatable. But I don’t like transcribing; a task made even more intolerable when you question someone like Kevin Martin.

It’s not his fault, bless him. Martin has an epileptic energy about him that would power all the wind turbines that stand on the top of my boy’s valley making the place a little like Holland.

Fast.

Furious.

Funny.

I can see why PokerStars signed him.

Rewind.

Play.

Rewind.

Play.

And he was this excited after busting out of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event, only the second $10k in his life, and with pocket kings.

I didn’t know Kevin until this chat.

I won’t forget him. 

“I am a “D’ list celebrity,” jokes Martin when I suggest he is famous. “Poker started for me three years ago. Very recreationally. Played live poker a lot, did well, was very careful, wrote down how much I bought in with and cashed out and pretty soon I was earning more money than in my radio job. I was obsessed with it, studying during my commercial breaks in radio where I would look up hands. I fell in love with the game. I began Twitch streaming and switched from live poker to online poker where we play small, medium and some high stakes games. I think I run a stream that’s good for new players.” 

Radio?

Tell me more.

“I used to work at Rock 106 Today’s Best Rock and Killer Classics. We played a lot of Nickelback, Metallica, some old school stuff,” says Martin sounding like he’s still in the booth. “I did the late night show when not many people were listening. It was a great job. I was 20-years-old; had a lot of freedom. As soon as my radio job ended at 10 pm, I would play the $1/$2 local game until 3 am. That was my job, eight hours of radio, six hours of poker; sleep.” 

How does someone jump straight into ‘D’ list celebrity status? Isn’t there a rhyme and reasons to Stardust? Aren’t you supposed, to begin with, a ‘Z’ list celebrity berth and work your way North?

“Coming out of radio college it’s tough. To get a job the media industry is difficult,” Martin tells me when I ask how he got his radio break. “I worked for them for free for three months as an internship, and then they hired me. One time I shut the radio off by accident, went to the washroom, and the engineer called me to say, “Kevin, there is dead air, what’s going on?” 

“I was going to be a dentist, but a career counsellor told me I would go crazy. “You have to do something with people,” and radio came along. Now with Twitch and YouTube, it’s a combination of both my old jobs: poker and the radio.” 

I was 35-years of age when I discovered my meaning & purpose. Before that, a million webs hid my auto-pilot switch. A tarantula was guarding it with its life. Where is Martin on this voyage of discovery? 

“I have just turned 25, and that’s a big birthday for me,” says Martin. “Life is short and precious. If you’re investing time and effort in a job, you’re not happy about that’s a huge percentage of your life your wasting. You have to find what you’re passionate about and pursue it whether that’s art, music – poker is up there as well. I have a lot of 18 and 19 years old that reach out to me. I tell them that if this is what you want then have a backup plan and pursue your dreams. What’s the point working in jobs that you don’t like, it’s sad.” 

The point?

There is no point.

It’s fear.

Kids, eyes moist with pain and sorrow, carrying guitar cases containing nothing but dreams. Hell, there might as well be a Tommy Gun sleeping inside. Martin looks confident, but I’m sure the same fear that sees dogs cowering in the corner lives inside of him. 

“I have gone with what I have wanted to do in life,” Martin tells me. “Take reality TV. To go into a house with a lot of cameras and no privacy is scary but I thrived and did well. Poker is the same; it’s risky. It’s a job without a guaranteed income. Take precautions, have back up plans, don’t put yourself in bad situations – go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail. Pick yourself up and try again. Don’t allow failure to prevent you from achieving things.” 

Back in my day, heroes emerged from the TV screens. Today, there is nothing but decaying bones in those sets of tubes. The Internet is where it’s at, and people like Kevin Martin are the new saviours. Our children look up to them, listen to them, want to be them.

Pressure?

“When you get a platform, whether its Reality TV, Twitch or YouTube youngsters are very impressionable so I try to give good vibes and good morals,” says Martin with seriousness to his voice for the first time. “It’s a massive responsibility. There are some 22-year-olds I look up to. Be careful who you choose as your role models. There are a lot of people who can give up certain personas on social media, so you have to be careful with that.” 

The first time I realised that things had shifted in a big way was when my boy needed stitches after laughing so hard his ribs punctured his young pink flesh. Pewdie Pie was to blame. Is a man, who plays video games for a living, a role model? 

“In a weird way, yes or no,” says a thoughtful Martin. “He is self-made. How many hundreds of millions of hours of his content have people watched? You have to respect him. He is the most popular person playing video games on the Internet. That’s some feat.” 

Who inspires Martin? 

“Jason Somerville, Lex Veldhuis, my buddy Jaime {Staples} got me into this space,” says Martin. “Away from that, Pewdie Pie is sick. Jordan Peterson is eloquent with his views on life; he is a professor at Toronto. The Joe Rogan Podcast I love it. So much good information.” 

I’m beginning to get a fix on Martin’s location. I think I am ready to beam him up. I know enough. I’ve spent five minutes with him, and given that your values, beliefs and morals are primarily fixed by the time you blow out seven candles, he must have had great parents.

Yes.

No.

Sort of. 

“My parents brought me up in a very different life,” says Martin. “They raised me to be very conservative and religious. I got a lot of good morals from them but don’t believe everything they taught me. A lot of information came to me from the Internet. I was listening to podcasts, reading books on atheism, whatever. We are the guinea pigs for growing in this era. Bringing that all full circle I did have wonderful parents.” 

Hang on.Transcribing the life and times of Kevin Martin

Conservative-religious parents and you end up reading books on atheism.

Fill in the blanks, Kevin.

I’m studying the form, and I can’t pick a winner.

“My parents were conservative-Christians who believed in the one true Jesus, and they are going to teach their children that,” Martin explains. “They taught me that 5+5= 10, but they also taught me that Jesus came and died for my sins – they taught me that as fact. That’s very dangerous. To teach a child a certain religion and if you don’t believe, you go to hell, that’s very dangerous. So when I was 18, I went to college and didn’t even know what an atheist was. But to be opened up to other belief systems was very good for me.” 

It’s a dilemma for sure.

I have a 15-month-old daughter. I don’t want to pick her faith. I want her to do what feels right. But I can’t see past her parent’s influence as atheists. I don’t have any answers. Maybe, Martin does? 

“In my life, whenever I face a problem, I do research and study. Like poker,” says Martin. “With parenting, I will be the same way. I will load up on books and learn to be the greatest Dad.” 

I’m not so sure you will find advice on heaven and hell in those books, Kevin. 

“Difficult questions of death? I would leave it open and say I don’t know. Share my viewpoint and then allow them to do what they need to do and show that I will support them.” 

We know how religion makes Martin feel, but what about poker? 

“Poker makes me feel happy,” says Martin. “Poker makes me feel excited. I go to work when I want. People can watch me and learn from me. Poker is hope. Poker is justice. I could write a love poem about poker. Sometimes people can abuse it and have bad experiences with poker. Please don’t do that. If you approach the game right, it can be a beautiful thing.” 

Poker can also create arthritis in your fingers when transcribing interviews for a living, but when they’re as entertaining as this one, then it’s well worth it.

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