As the late Oscar Wilde once said: “life is too important to be taken seriously”, an ethos that Justin Martin is sticking with despite achieving soaring success over the last six years as a producer and international DJ.
Justin initially pricked the ears of the electronic music community in 2003 with his first record ‘The Sad Piano’ on Ben Watt’s Buzzin’ Fly label. Everyone in the electronic music food chain got involved, from the A list DJs like Derrick Carter and Pete Tong that were playing the track, to the international music press that were raving about it. It even translated to the German underground, with Poker Flat licensing it for Steve Bug’s ‘Bugnology’ compilation. Like someone that goes bowling for the first time and gets five strikes and a turkey, Justin couldn’t really have hoped for a better entrance.
Feeding off the energy of the San Francisco underground and mentored by fellow super producer Claude VonStroke, Justin was intrinsically involved with the development of dirtybird records, appearing on its first four releases. Justin was soon ready to take flight, releasing a string of solo EPs which flaunted a very unique sound and garnered still more respect among fellow DJS and heavyweight’s of the scene.
In 2010, such respect prompted an invitation for Justin to DJ mix Pete Tong’s infamous “Essential Mix” series and also landed his felicitous placement on the front cover of DJ Magazine. Justin continued to roll out two further killer EPs on dirtybird, which were collaborations with his protégée Ardalan. “Mr Spock” earned recognition from major digital news outlet NPR as “surrounding sounds with tactful little details: the hissing white noise; that chubby, wet bass kick. This is music that doesn’t need to be heard on the dance floor, though it does work awfully well there”. What followed was “Lezgo”, which knocked down the genre walls and pretty much remained a firm fixture in every DJ’s box throughout 2011.
As well as his formidable arsenal of original productions, Justin is now equally known for his collaborations with his brother Christian as The Martin Brothers, producing such hip-hop influenced hits as ‘Duckface’, ‘Stoopit’, ‘Dum’. Justin has also made his mark remixing such bona fide classics as Radiohead’s ‘Nude’, Marshall Jefferson’s ‘Mushrooms’, TG’s ‘Revox’ and remixes for labels such as Fools Gold and Greco Roman, firmly establishing himself as the man to make big tracks even bigger.
2011 found Justin in the perfect position to work on his boldest project to date, his debut artist album and he couldn’t be more enthusiastically happy with the results. “Ghettos & Gardens” long player will be released on dirtybird late spring 2012, with a string of stunning singles to support the release.
Demand for Justin’s skills behind the decks has skyrocketed with his bookings schedule constantly crammed to capacity. With dates everywhere from Panorama Bar (Berlin), Fabric (London), Space (Ibiza) and a full album tour for summer and fall 2o12, its no wonder Justin’s diary is reading like the dreams of a professional raver. Stateside he continues to be a regular fixture at the dirtybird events in San Francisco and beyond.
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.
“I’m always trying to find music for my DJ sets that rattles sound systems, but still has enough melody and interesting texture to expand your mind even if you’re sitting at home on a snowy or rainy day.”
He remains as enthusiastic as ever to be involved in the scene. When recently questioned by Resident Advisor on what he’d be doing if he wasn’t a DJ or dance music producer he just replied: “Wishing I was a DJ or music producer.”
By all accounts it’s hard to tell him to wipe that smile off his face.