Martin Landsky Talks Perfect DJ Sets, Morning Caffeine, and Sweaty Walls
Berlin-based DJ and producer Martin Landsky will jumpstart the new shindig this Friday with some groovy house and techno that'll make the walls sweat. Landsky, a veteran of Steve Bug's Poker Flat Recordings and Anja Schneider's mobilee Records, clued Crossfade in on what makes a night memorable, his big break into the industry, and he even granted us a track request for Friday.
Crossfade: What do you consider a great DJ set?
Martin Landsky: Sometimes these magic moments happen when everything seems to click together: the room, the sound, the music, the crowd, and the DJ. These are the situations where DJing becomes totally subliminal. I don't think anymore about what to play or how to play it. It happens automatically. It's like the music takes control of itself. The crowd is 100 percent on the same level and follows the music even through the strangest and most sophisticated songs. This is what I'd call a perfect DJ set -- a night to remember.
What should we expect from your set on Friday at Treehouse?
It's my first time playing at Treehouse. But I have played a couple of parties for LINK already. I have to say, every single event rocked like hell. Recently, I've heard many good things about the Treehouse parties from friends and other DJs. And hey, it's the opening party for the Friday series as far as I know. I bet it's going to be hot, hot, hot!
What does playing in Miami mean to you in terms of music and the party, and how does our sound differ to that of everywhere else?
I think I've only played twice or so off WMC week. Most of the experiences I've had were during WMC, and during that time everything is a bit different.
Honestly these days the differences in terms of music are not too big in the different parts of the world, at least not in the clubs I usually play. Sure, in Miami, you have lots of these poshy R&B clubs too. But I rarely go there.
Even our scene, the so-called underground dance music, is kind of globalized. In the past years, a lot of European DJs played in Miami and left their footprints as well. But it is still a very special place with special weather conditions and lots of people going there for holidays and partying. That provides its own atmosphere, and it's reflected in the music of course. I've got the feeling that I hear more traditional American house records in the clubs than in the other cities.
How does it compare to the music scene in Berlin?
Berlin is very special on its own. You can't really compare it. Clubbing has a different history there. Back in the days, it all started with tons of illegal parties in very underground locations. After the wall broke down, there were tons of ruins, old warehouses and stuff. This is where techno took place, and most of the promoters were non-professional guys that just liked to party. Sure, the scene has grown up these days, and we have lots of proper professional, and even poshy clubs here but there is still this anarchistic vibe among the scene. Or at least it feels like that sometimes. That leads to different policies at the doors, entrance fees, costs for drinks, the way the clubs look like, etc.
Also this city is so overpopulated with DJs, producers, and artists of all kind. That's the reason for that certain vibe that is unique to Berlin, I think.
You've been exposed to dance music almost all your life. What would you consider your first break into the dance music industry?
It took many small steps to get where I am. There were several important stages I would consider breakthroughs: (1) My residency at the legendary Front club in Hamburg in the early '90s, which was a big step as a young DJ for me; (2) My first release in 1997 on McProjects, which introduced me as a producer; (3) Definitely my first album "In Between" on Poker Flat in 2001, which drew a lot of international attention.
You produce everything, from tech house to techno to deep house. Do you predetermine the subgenre before you start a production? Or is that just something that comes along the way?
As my music is an form of expression of my mind, my emotions, it's mostly really along the way. It also changes a lot during the production process. Sometimes I start with an idea of a "genre." And in the end, it turns out to be the opposite.
I think it's a vital part of my sound that I try to combine certain elements as metaphors from different styles. I like dynamics and surprises in tracks, for instance, a track that starts off as a dark twisted techno looptrack and then turns into this deep organ house style. That makes me say, "Wow."
You recently released, Morning Caffeine, an EP on Mobilee Records. What has the response to the EP been like from crowds and other artists?
A man's praise in his own mouth stinks. But I have to say that I'm really happy with the responses. I received a lot of nice words upon the release. And yeah, it kind of works pretty OK on the floors.
What do you have coming up for the rest of 2011 as far as productions? Any remixes or collaborations we should know about?
A new special podcast for Poker Flat has just been released, and right now I'm working on a new twelve-inch for them. A remix for Hive Audio from Zurich is finished and should be released soon.
I will work on some more remixes too. One for Baalsaal and a couple of others I'm not allowed to talk about yet. And a new Mobilee track will see its light this year probably.
Your remix of John Tejada's "Sweat on the Walls" was one of my favorite tracks in the last year. Can you please play it on Friday?
If I am being asked so nicely, I certainly will.
Martin Landsky with LINK residents. Friday, August 19. Treehouse, 323 23rd St., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. Call 305-674-4478 or visit treehousemiami.com.
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