On The Record: Christian Martin
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Christian Martin will never bypass an opportunity to get bass-faced.
The heralded DJ and producer’s love for booming sound systems and subwoofers that quake always tend to put him into a happy state. That’s what living life above the 140 beats per minute threshold is all about.
“When it’s a physical force vibrating through your whole body, tickling your nostrils and making hairs stand up on your neck, that’s the best thing,” he said.
One of the original four members of San Francisco’s Dirtybird Records, Martin and crew have held quite a tight grip on American tech house tunage soon after the label took flight in 2005.
Martin’s aggressive, far from cautionary style will be on display at The Fix on Saturday, Oct. 12, where he is scheduled to perform a special two-hour set.
Sometimes his house-loving persona gives way to a crazed mad man named Leroy Peppers, Martin’s more edgy alter-ego. The transformation further pushes him to the limit with the heaviest influxes of filthy funk, best played at high volumes.
“I first started going out to clubs to get my mind blown by drum and bass, so I try to tap into those original primal feelings of musical discovery when I play as Leroy,” he explained. “(Christian Martin), in a nutshell, (is) a music obsessed traveler who can’t get enough bass.
“Leroy is similar, just on turbo boost, jumping around to drum and bass like the floor is on fire.”
Martin first took classical piano lessons at 5 years old, then played the clarinet before dropping it in high school for jazz theory. He also played in a number of bands while attending Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
“I was absorbing musical information long before I could think of it in a positive or negative way,” he said. “All that information has helped me the most as I started producing my own music.”
For Martin, his expectations are rigidly defined by a go-for-broke attitude. He said he has the luxury of being related to one of his biggest influences, brother and labelmate Justin Martin, one of the phenoms in the game today.
“He has almost a sixth sense for what makes a killer track, so his musical advice is so spot on it’s scary,” he said.
Following the face-melting proceedings at Fort Street Mall in Chinatown this weekend, Martin will make the short trek over to Maui where his parents have owned a house in Wailea for 10 years. He said working on music, snorkeling and kicking it on the Valley Isle’s south shore will make up the bulk of his stay.
Martin said his underground route to success was a blessing, describing the current mainstream EDM scene “fickle and very volatile.”
“Little kids OD’ing is the worst part of the EDM landscape,” he said. “All-ages shows are a huge contributing factor. Electronic music events should be 18 and over at the minimum, but there is too much money to be made from underage kids, so the problems will continue.”
Despite the changes, Martin’s quest to influence electronic music circles will always remain rooted in the realm of originality and pure enthusiasm for his craft.
“To claim ‘out of the box’ thinking is easy, but very different than actually delivering something truly original,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a diss, but it is presumptuous and almost never accurate if you’re walking around claiming ‘out the box’ thinking. Show me, don’t tell me.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.