Justin Martin is a San Francisco-based house DJ and producer as well as a co-founder of the Dirtybird crew. His new remix album, Hello Clouds Remixes, includes some really stellar remixes of Hello Clouds from people like Redlight, DJ Marky, Jakwob, Doorly, Kyle Watson, Soul Clap and more. We caught up with him to find out what makes him tick...
AskAudio: Hi Justin. Can you tell us about how you got started making music? What were your inspirations and first steps?
Justin Martin: I started playing piano and saxophone from a very young age. During my childhood years I was heavily into jazz music and played in quite a few bands. It wasnt until I turned 16 that I got into dance music after listening to Goldie’s “Timeless” album. Dj'ing became a hobby and I started producing a few years later.
What about your studio gear? What are you using?
I have become a bit of an analogue fan recently. When I first started I mostly worked with samples but now I have built up a studio with lots of fun toys. Some of my favorite and most used pieces of hardware are my Roland TB-303, my Moogs (Sub 37 and Minimoog Voyager), and my Prophet 12. I run everything through a Speck x.sum line mixer and a Portico II master bus processor and then into my Fireface UFX audio interface.
I stopped taking remixes purely for money a long time ago because if the original song doesn't inspire you then the end result usually sucks.
And which DAW and plugins do you rely on?
I use Ableton Live. The list of plugins is massive and always changing but I love to experiment so I am constantly downloading new ones.
I’ve been listening to your new remix album, Hello Cloud Remixes, and was struck by how diverse some of the music styles are. Can you tell us about how you approached creating the different styles?
I am always trying to push my creativity with the music I make. I listen to and appreciate so many different styles and genres of music so it's fun to try and encapsulate a variety of influences into my sound. The ultimate goal is to make music that is timeless, regardless of the style or genre.
What tips can you give producers starting out for remixing a track?
First of all, only remix music that speaks to you. I stopped taking remixes purely for money a long time ago because if the original song doesn't inspire you then the end result usually sucks. Second of all, I try and only use the parts of the song that are necessary… I don’t want to just take the song stems and re-order them. I try and be as creative as possible and really put my own signature sound into the remix. The key is creativity.
I try and be as creative as possible and really put my own signature sound into the remix.
What are you working on now?
Funnily enough I am now working on my own top secret remix project. It's kind of in its early stages right now so I really can’t say much more just yet… but if all goes well then a lot of the unreleased music that you hear me playing in my live DJ sets will be on there. Very exciting stuff, and I can’t wait to unleash it later this year!