Justin Martin has been plundering our dance floors since 2003 with his debut smash ‘The Sad Piano’ which dropped via Ben Watts Buzzin Fly. Since then he has played an intrinsically key role in the creation and longevity of Dirtybird Records, initially appearing on the labels first 4 releases and most recently reinvigorating the label with his 2010 smash Mr. Spock and booty shaking Lezgo in 2011. He is also known for his work with his brother Christian as The Martin Brothers, producing one of our all time top tracks ‘Rocket Surgery’.
“Music journalists typically describe Justin’s sound as ‘melodic and tough’ with his music encapsulating both melody and emotional depth yet always with enough undeniable ass shaking properties to translate to the floor” (Dirtybird Records 2012). Justin Martin’s legacy on the dancefloor is undeniable and with his much anticipated debut album ‘Ghettos & Gardens’ out now he popped over to the BBB Garden to answer a few questions and drop off a load of album related goodies for you to win.
Good afternoon Justin Martin.
BBB: – There is a quote on your Dirtybird biography that states “life is too important to be taken seriously”, how has this ethos influenced you as a musician over the years.
Justin Martin: – I have always tried to enjoy life to its fullest. I love laughing, and having a good time. I mean, who doesn’t? When I first started creating electronic music and trying to find my own voice within the dance music scene, I wanted my personality to shine through with everything I did. I always strive to make music from the heart, and my heart just happens to be jolly 95% of the time. The philosophy is simple; when people go out they are usually trying to escape their troubles and worries. I want my dancefloor to be filled with happy smiling people shaking their asses, so that’s the type of music I try and bring to the table.
BBB: – Having read an interview with RA in 2007 they asked what was the first record you ever played out, which Im sure was a blurry memory long forgotten, however what records do you remember playing before you started writing your own music, did your older brother Christian have a good record collection?
Justin Martin: – I played a ton of Intelligent Drum and Bass. I have a very nice collection of Metalheadz, Moving Shadow, and Good Looking records. Those are the 3 labels that definitely stood out to me. My favorite producer was Seba for a long long time. His stuff was always the most emotional. “So Long/ Sonic Winds” on Good Looking still is one of my favorite records of all time.
…..any records you cant believe you bought, bad or guilty pleasures?
Justin Martin: – I once bought a Traci Lords record because it was in the techno bin. I was 15 or 16 and I didn’t even know she was a pornstar. Oh ya, when I first started djing I also bought Robert Miles “Children”… both of those records are long gone… lol!
BBB: – Since your debut in 2003 you have developed quite a distinctive sound for yourself, what would you pin point as key influencing factors behind your music. Is it your surroundings, other producers, the records you mentioned above etc.
Justin Martin: – It’s a little bit of everything. Drum & Bass definitely had a big influence on my sound from the very beginning. I loved music that had beautiful melodies that would mesmerize you right into earth shattering basslines. The label Metalheadz was always good at doing that, but I noticed there wasn’t a lot of house music doing that. It was always one thing or another with house music; soulful or hard, deep or commercial… there wasn’t any music straddling the line, and that’s what I wanted to make. I wanted to blur lines between genres. I tried to take all of my musical influences, from hip hop to classical, and put them into house form. Once one track caught on it gave me the confidence to move on and produce something even more experimental. Being part of such a talented music collective such as dirtybird was also extremely inspiring. The music Claude and my brother would make just challenged me to get better and better, and gave me the confidence to be different.
BBB: – As would be producers ourselves we are always interested to discuss the music writing process. When entering the studio do you have an idea of what you want to make before you start or is it more a case of experimentation?
Justin Martin: – I almost always start with an idea or a concept… whether it be inspired by another song, a sample I have always wanted to use, or just some funny hook I thought up when I was drunk. I very rarely go to work without some direction of what it is that I want to make. Sometimes that happens with remixes, but even then I at least have the song I am remixing as a guide.
BBB: – When in the studio whats the first thing you tend do, we generally get up make a coffee and check twitter.
Justin Martin: – I usually listen to some inspiring music, and then start collecting my samples for the track.
BBB: – We’re loving the new album, however recording an electronic album can be a tricky balance between a cohesive work whilst remaining club relevant. What was the overall objective when writing this record?
Justin Martin: – I wanted to make an album you could listen to over and over from beginning to end, but comprised of tracks that individually work on the dancefloor. That has always been one of my goals with the tracks I make. I want to make music that you can listen to in your headphones on the bus on a rainy day… but music that also can rattle a club soundsystem and get people moving. It’s the whole ‘tough meets tender’ philosophy I tried to adhere to with this album. It was a challenge making a whole album that works in both settings but I am happy with the result.
BBB: – In the last couple of years we have seen a number of talented new producers and DJs breaking through to inspire a generation, who has stood out for you from the current crop?
Justin Martin: – There are so many! Eats Everything has been one of my favorite producers to watch and listen to over the last year. He has a nice balance of Bass and depth to his music, which I really like. Catz n Dogz have always been a favorite of mine and they are really at the top of their game right now. Other favorites are Disclosure, Tanner Ross, Dusky, Nick Monaco, Kill Frenzy, Danny Daze, Maceo Plex, and of course my doods I got to collaborate with on the album: PillowTalk, Ardalan, and Leroy Peppers. So much good music happening at the moment! The list could go on and on!
BBB: – Generally to get somewhere these days you need to be both DJ & Producer, however one skill doesn’t necessarily transfer to the other, in your opinion whats the secret to being accomplished at both arts.
Justin Martin: – Passion! I have been in love with both djing and producing long before I found any kind of success at it… and I stuck to it, practiced, and just worked my ass off to be the best I could be. It’s all about being passionate, creative, and working hard.
BBB: – With the album about out, what have you got planned in the coming months that we should know about?
Justin Martin: – I am just gonna be touring like crazy, doing as much music as I can in-between. I am playing a 40 city tour that will take me through the fall, but hopefully after that I will have a little bit of time off to lock myself away in the studio and start working on album number 2.
BBB: – Finally, if you could DJ at any time in the history of club land where and when would it be, and who would be headlining?
Justin Martin: – I would be djing with the whole dirtybird crew at Woodstock, right after Hendrix… im sure that would be a wild experience
Thanks for talking to us, and good luck with tour.
COMPETITION: Details coming in the next post……………