Justin Martin on Dirtybird and New Album: "Always Been About Bass and Ass-Clapping"
Maybe it's the San Francisco DJ-producer's penchant for the kind of booty-clapping bass music the 305 holds so dear. Or maybe it's his boundless charisma behind the decks -- a fun-loving happy-go-lucky personality that shines through in his energetic DJ sets and gets any party started.
Either way, Martin's Miami fans have certainly had plenty to rave about since last month's release of his debut long player, Ghettos & Gardens, on Dirtybird, the beloved bass-centric imprint he co-owns with Claude VonStroke.
"It has been a longtime goal of mine to do a full artist album," Martin tells Crossfade. "But it wasn't until the fall of 2010, I think, I had really found the discipline to be able to do it. I wanted to make an album that you could listen to from start to finish in the headphones, but with tracks that still could hold their own on the dancefloor.
"My goal was to accomplish this by making music that has both grit and grace. I have always liked music that has an internal juxtaposition of feeling -- music that is tough yet tender at the same time, with a balanced amount of beauty and bass to make it work in any situation.
"When I first started listening to dance music in 1995, I was captivated by the way that a lot of drum 'n' bass tracks of this era were able to have some of the most beautiful and hypnotizing soundscapes that led you straight into some of the most devastating bass drops. This concept has always been on my mind when creating my music, and I really wanted to capture that vibe within my first artist album."
"It's definitely a big challenge writing an entire album," he adds. "I am on the road quite a bit, so just finding the time alone was not easy. But the hardest part was definitely making an album that flows from beginning to end. There are a lot of tracks and unfinished ideas that didn't make the cut because they just didn't fit with the overall vibe, in the end.
"I definitely learned a lot from the whole process, though, and I think that having a strong theme is important when writing an album. Otherwise, you just end up with a bunch of club tracks mashed together. I found myself writing music with more feeling towards the end of the album process, because I wasn't as concerned with the dance floor as I was with how the song would fit in with the other songs on the album."
But make no mistake, the tuneage offered up on Ghettos & Gardens will definitely make you bounce like rubber on the floor. "If there is one thing we have always been about with Dirtybird, since the beginning, it's bass, fun, and ass-clapping," exclaims Martin. It's nice to see music being made that doesn't need to bash people over the heads to move them. The 808 bass sound is one of the most amazing sounds on this planet. You can have just an 808 bass note and a clap alone and you have a beat that can shake an entire dancefloor into a frenzy."
Expect just that on Friday, when Martin brings his Ghettos & Gardens World Tour to the Electric Pickle. "I love playing at the Pickle because it's one of the few places in the U.S. that I get to play a long set," Martin explains. "I get to play a little bit of everything that I love, and really take the dancefloor on a journey with me.
"Expect genre-blurrin', booty-shakin', speaker-rattlin', panty-droppin' tech house bliss. I love to see people smiling and dancing all night long. So I am gonna do my best to make sure that happens!"
Justin Martin. Friday June 22. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $20 plus fees via residentadvisor.net. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.
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