From tribal rhythms, broken beat and spaced-out ‘cosmic house’ to Chicago-influenced house and the minimalist of tech, for over a decade Martinez has gone through countless house music styles and labels, incrementally evolving and finding new genres, sounds, and instruments to play with. Born Martin Swanstein, the Danish producer has become a household name for his unique interpretations of these different sounds, and in the process has been snapped up by the likes of Cadenza, Dessous, Cinematic, Moon Harbour, Inmotion Music, Lomidhigh, VIVA and the list goes on and on. When he’s perhaps needed an ulterior platform to push his ever-changing styles, he has founded his own labels, Out of Orbit and Re:connected, which have in their own right garnered massive support and industry respect. Dancefloors across the world are laced with his productions, as well as the man himself; expect to see him even more this year, especially with his Cocoon residencies at Ibiza’s Amnesia and elsewhere. Ahead of his upcoming set in London alongside DJ W!ld, we caught up with him for a brief chat about exploring even MORE new musical territory, why he switched back to vinyl and his love of hardware.
Hey Martin, where in the world are you right now? What are you up to?
Hello…right now I am in Copenhagen where I live, working in my studio.
Where did you grow up? What was the first genre of music that you started to collect? Do you think it still influences your taste?
I was born and raised in the south of Sweden, in a town called, Helsingborg. The first music I collected was UK alternative and indie rock; I was really into bands like The Cure and Joy Division. Later I got more into Depeche Mode as well, before I discovered electronic music and was hooked on that. I am sure all that music still influences me somehow today, but I can’t really pinpoint how or draw direct lines. Though it definitely laid down the foundation for my musical perception.
Your last album on Moon Harbour – ‘The Paradigm Shift’ in 2011 really helped to put you on the global map. How important do you think it is to be able to express yourself over 10-12 tracks? Is there a follow up album in the pipeline?
Yeah, I think that something that comes naturally with time for any artist is that you want to present a full story, go deeper into your sound, and not only make tracks for the dance floor. I am currently working on material for a new album, though I have no idea when it will see the light of day in the form of a release. Hopefully something by the end of the year!
Since ‘The Paradigm Shift’ you have released many EPs and LPs on labels such as VIVa, Etruria, Cadenza, Memoria and most recently on Superfiction. How do you feel your sound has changed since 2011? It seems to have gone much darker, would you agree? Why do you think this is?
Yes, absolutely. I think it’s important to develop your sound and try new things all the time. It would be so boring otherwise. Imagine making the exact same kind of sound and music for 13 years…
Do you pay attention to current trends in dance music?
Is your production technique mainly hardware? You mentioned playing some drum sounds with an Irish Bodhran drum. Have you experimented with any other live instruments recently?
Yes, I use a great deal of hardware equipment. I like to work with real machines and I get more inspired by that. I am a musician and play lots of instruments too, so I often use instruments like drums, guitar, bass and piano when I record, though one of my “things” is to record for example a guitar and make it sound like something completely different. I use instruments as sound sources, but I like to modify them more or less beyond recognition. That was always what I loved about electronic music, the mystique of the sounds.
What is your DJ setup? CD? Vinyl? Traktor? Explain why.
For almost a year now I’ve been back on vinyl records only. I’ve always liked to play on turntables and with vinyl records…this is how I learned to DJ and so where I come from. In 2006, I started travelling more and more, so I decided to use Traktor Scratch with control vinyl, as it was easier for travelling but still allowed me the feeling of playing with vinyl records. But I got really sick of bring a laptop on stage and always having to connect wires and stuff like that. Also the way you choose music for a vinyl set is much better for me, I find far more interesting music and put much more effort into the selection. With Traktor I got lost in those long playlists of the latest promos, which just got longer and longer every week. So I play vinyl and I love the feeling of bringing my records to the club. I feel much more inspired playing music this way.
You have played in London a handful of times over the year, if you had to choose where to go for a night out (without your records) where would it be and why? What makes London different to other cities in the world?
I’d probably go for a nice dinner at one of my many favorite restaurants in the city, have some drinks with friends in east London. I’d probably hit some good clubs and just dance!
Check out the event on Facebook here.