Martyn Interview

Approaching critical mass
Over the last year Martyn reached critical mass - the Dutchman’s beautifully subtle take on modern bass music having made him a regular darling of the trend press for the last few years.

After considerable time in the game, he’s content. “I’ve just been enjoying what I do and making as much music possible and doing as many gigs as I can. I must say I’m very happy.”

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This is an excerpt from an article that appears in the February issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from January 11th.

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His debut album ‘Great Lengths’ saw him crafting a dense palette of sounds, dipping gracefully in and out of a number of micro genres. It would be lazy to label Martyn as a purist of any scene, that’s his appeal; the subtleties of his music come from his open-minded nature. But, if we must tag, it would be dubstep and Fabric have commissioned him for number fifty in their mix series. “It’s always a joy to play there. Fabric is obviously a one-of-a-kind sound system; it’s really powerful and crystal clear and very, very loud.”

The mix sees 2562’s crisp, skippy two-step rhythms rub shoulders with South London gal Cooly G’s dubbed out, bass-heavy groove. There’s grinding Berlin techno, an infectious Martyn dub punk remix and the wonky, delightful synth showers of Zomby. It’s a diverse selection that manages to retain a heavy, cohesive groove throughout. “Through the night in Room 1 (Fabric) you’re hearing techno and tech house. I kept it four to the floor but as long as you keep the tempo, you can do a lot of different stuff. For me, it’s much more of a challenge to use that crisp sound to open people’s minds a little to new sounds.”

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Martyn - Brilliant Orange (illum sphere's no 14 mix)

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Lush bass and choppy chords frequent much of Martyn’s music, his influences carved out of his varied musical past. “In drum and bass, I’m definitely a big Metalheadz, Photek sort of guy. People like D-bridge, Marcus Intalex, Calibre, stuff like that. Not so much Bukem, that was a bit too dreamy for me. Around early 2000 in Holland, the same time as the drum and bass nights, we had a residency at a very small club, the heyday of broken beat and UK garage. I bought a lot of that stuff, especially the Locked On label and Wookie. Broken Beat wise, it was labels like Goya music (influential West London label). When the residency was over, I lost touch completely and went back to playing and making drum and bass.”

“So, I did miss the transition from two-step to dubstep,” he admits. “I picked that up again when I heard Burial, Kode 9 and the DMZ and things like that. DMZ are absolutely an influence, they were real interesting because I said, ‘Hold on, I know where this is coming from!’” Of late, Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint and concept nights receive rapturous praise, so do Four Tet and Kevin Martin’s (The Bug) new project, King Midas Sound: “It’s very mellow, very dubbed out, weird poetry, I don’t know what it is but it’s wonderful.”

Words by Joel Harris


Big Chill Festival 2010

Martyn is performing at this year's Big Chill festival. Join Clash on the road to the Big Chill Festival with news, interviews and features. Visit ClashMusic's Big Chill hub for all the latest news on the festival HERE.

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