Martin Swanstein, better known as Martinez is one of few Scandinavian artists to stamp their mark on house music and techno. The Danish/Swedish producer has built a highly reputable catalogue through a variety of releases on labels including his own imprint, Concealed Sounds, Moon Harbour, Cadenza and Love Letters from Oslo. With four full length albums under his belt, plus an internationally acclaimed DJ reputation, through appearances at Cocoon in Frankfurt, Panorama Bar in Berlin and Amneisa in Ibiza, just to name the tip of the iceberg, Martinez isn’t one to watch, he is one to try and keep up with…We got the chance to speak with him about the birth of his career, his label and more.
Hi Martinez, how are you today?
Very good thank you! 🙂
Great! What are you currently working on?
I’m doing a two weeks tour in the US next, so I’m currently packing and preparing my record bags for that.
How does playing in America compare to playing in Europe?
I’d say it always depends more on the promoter, club/venue, party atmosphere, crowd and sound system, rather then it depends on where in the world you are playing.
What was the first event that you ever played, and what was the experience like?
I think the first ever DJ gig I ever played was when I was 17 years old on a beach in Helsingborg, Sweden. Some buddies (that where also DJ beginners) and I set up a free party on this special little place. We rented some speakers, took our own turntables and mixer there, then played all day and night with our friends around. It was extremely exciting at the time and I still smile when thinking back on those uncomplicated times.
How have you seen DJ equipment change and progress since the start of your career?
It has changed a lot throughout the years, but what I really noticed is that nothing beats the Technics 1210 even after all the years of playing.
What is your current studio set up?
I never change a system that works… so I’m still using an insanely old but very stabile and loyal version of Cubase on a G5 Mac, with a very good mixer that I record through. Though I have added a few machines lately, like a Vermona DRM1 and some Eventide effect boxes. Its mostly hardware that I record sequences from, which I then edit and program into tracks.
What is the longest amount of time you have spent in your studio?
hmm… don’t remember, but I think I did around 48 hours once!
Do you have any routines when producing music?
No, I just do what feels right and sounds good!
With your ‘Undertones EP’ releasing soon, what particular style of music can we expect to hear from it?
I don’t know what to call it, maybe some kind of experimental, minimalistic, modern House Music… 😉
How influential is Concealed Sounds with regard to the electronic music scene in Denmark?
Concealed Sounds is my platform for releasing what ever I want and like, its not territorial at all.
How has Concealed Sounds assisted you with the production of your music?
The label started as a platform where I could put out music that I love, but felt that I couldn’t find the right place for it to be released. I think more it gave me a playground where I could experiment and do just what I wanted.
How did you approach your ‘O-Pen’ album, in comparison to approaching the production of an EP?
“O-Pen” was produced over more then 2 years. I made tracks as well as a lot of loops or grooves of ideas and melodies etc… then after a year of collecting all of these I started building them into new and more fuller tracks. Maybe the process is not that different from when you make an EP to be honest. In the end you collect tracks that compliment each other and together tell a story in there own unique way, but with an album it just more extensive.
Which record hasn’t left your bag recently?
Moodymann – “Picture This” has been in there for a long time.
What inspired you to become a professional DJ?
I never decided to become a professional DJ, it kind of just happened as a result of unconditional love for music and not feeling that strongly about anything else.
How would you describe your style of music to someone unfamiliar with electronic music?
Its full of rhythm, groove and weird unidentifiable sounds… or something.
How has your sound developed since the start of your career?
It constantly develops. For me it is one of the most important aspects of music, to keep it fresh and interesting. But in general, I think it has developed from more “musical” and melody based stuff to something more abstract and experimental, perhaps. But then again that is a very vast description…
What has been the most exciting experience of your career so far?
Releasing my latest album, and playing daytime set’s at Panorama Bar.
Are there any particular artists that you enjoy working with? If so, why?
All the guys on my label and handful more. I like working with down to earth people that make music for the right reason and spend more time in the studio then on Facebook.
What do you hope to achieve by 2016?
Nirvana…. but let’s be realistic.
By Sam Quilter
Martinez plays for MODU:LAR, Saturday 1st August, for tickets click here