DJ Justin Martin, at Avalon Tonight, Says West Coast is Best Coast
The West Coast was a shining beacon for American dance music. It was where Kaskade, Miguel Migs, Mark Farina, DJ Dan, Doc Martin, Donald Glaude, Marques Wyatt, Hardkiss and so many others fostered a special sound.
While this is still the place to be for massive festivals like Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival, the West Coast sound is a thing of the past, absorbed by an international conspiracy to take electronic dance music mainstream.
There are still stalwarts, however, and San Francisco's cantankerous, funk-loving house music label dirtybird is chief among them. Its first release seven years ago was by a guy named Justin Martin and, after blowing the roof off Miami's annual DJs' retreat with "Sad Piano," he's become a marquee name in clubland. Tonight Avalon celebrates the release of his forthcoming dirtybird album Ghettos & Gardens, a pie made from the dough of well-worked dubstep bass lines and a sublime sauce of urban melodics. We caught up with Martin to ask him a few questions:
On Ghettos & Gardens you tap into some twisted, dubstep bass without going full dubstep. Will that be dubstep's contribution to dance music -- production techniques?
Martin: Actually, to be quite honest ... it was more inspired by drum and bass than anything. People forget that drum and bass has been around forever in the midst of the recent massive popularity explosion of dubstep. That being said I definitely don't mind if I turn the heads of some dubstep peeps. One of the goals of my music has always been to blur lines between genres. There is no denying the power of dubstep in EDM at the moment and there are some really talented producers out there but I wasn't trying to make a dubstep track. I just really like nasty twisted bass.
They used to say breaks were hard to dance to, so DJs gave them up even though they liked them. Is it hard for you to play breaks at a club, or do people embrace them?
Haha ... I am definitely not a breakbeat DJ. We refer to it as booty bass ... And I usually find that people embrace it ... However there is a time and a place for everything. I'll only venture away from 4/4 territory when it feels right.
"Sad Piano"! All-time track.