[TMN Exclusive Interview/Denver Giveaway] TMN Catches Up With Club-Land’s Hottest Duo: The Martinez Brothers

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Green Velvet
Bigger Than Prince (Martinez Brothers Remix)

Chris and Steve Martinez or The Martinez Brothers as they’re known to the rest of the world, although looked upon by much of mainstream music media stateside as relative new comers to the powerplay pantheon of house DJ’s and producers, have been infusing the club scene with some of its most defining tunes and adorning magazine covers since they were barely teenagers. On the heels of an incredible 2013 which saw them author their first Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1, a globally viral remix of Green Velvet’s “Bigger Than Prince” (which you can stream below) and hold down one of Europe’s hottest club residencies at Ibiza’s Circoloco; we had a chance to chat up the hottest duo in club land about their current American tour, future hip-hop productions, their recent monster Coachella performance and working with Seth Troxler. Read the full transcript below, and for our friends in the Green state of Colorado we have a very special treat. The Martinez Brothers bring their show this Saturday to Club Vinyl in Denver and we’ve teamed up with our friends at TheHundred Presents to give you Ninjas a chance to get in on the action. Hit the jump after the interview for official details on how to enter!

The Music Ninja (TMN): Thanks so much for taking a second to answer a couple of questions for The Music Ninja. We know you guys are being pulled in a thousand directions every day, so let’s get right to it. A lot of people, in North America especially, seem to think the two of you appeared out of thin air and don’t realize you’ve been holding down residencies at some of the most cutthroat club nights in Europe since you were in high school. Has it been a bit overwhelming to have been plying your craft for so long, but having this avalanche of hype form behind you basically within the last two years?

The Martinez Brothers (TMB): The schedule has definitely picked up a lot in the U.S. for sure.  We played a lot in New York since since we started playing and and also in Miami where we have been residents at Space for a while now.  Chicago has been good for us for a while too. Even though, we’re from New York, we are for sure more known in Europe and it’s been great to see how artists like us who have a foundation in European clubs are getting more attention in the U.S. now.  We’re looking forward to hitting Denver too this time round.

TMN: You guys have been in the midst of an American tour which included some of the states’ biggest events including Ultra/WMC and Coachella, as well as some amazing club dates at Spybar in Chicago and of course this weekend at Vinyl. How do you feel your reception has been in the U.S. this year?, especially compared to your extended stays in Europe where you guys are kind of like the hottest thing since sliced bread over there right now.

TMB: The reception has been really strong and we’re happy that we can get to stay more in the US now.  We had an amazing Ultra / WMC this year.  It was our first time playing Ultra Music Festival.  We played a sunset set.  It was dope.  We also started a label and lifestyle brand with Seth Troxler and we did a party with him at WMC on the terrace at Space.  In general we love playing with Seth as we have many of the same cultural references. We always love playing Spy Bar and that was good as usual. Would have to say playing Coachella was definitely pretty special. We loved the Yuma tent and being part of a big festival like that with all kinds of music is always eye-opening.

TMN: 2013 must have been an insane year for you two. Between having an incredible residency at Circoloco, one of Ibiza’s most amazing clubs and playing your first Martinez Brothers Essential Mix for the almighty Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1. Have things been slowing down a bit through the first quarter of 2014, or have your production and travel schedules seemed to become even more hectic?

We took a month off at the beginning of the year and have been taking weeks here and there.  We also work alot on the road.  We produced two sound tracks for Givenchy fashion shows in Paris already this year.   We’re about to launch our label  Cuttin’ Headz which is a vinyl only label.  The first release is by us.  The jacket is a drawing done by us and will be screen printed and released as a limited edition.  We are also working with some other New York artists on followup releases – Destination Void (phil moffa, brendon modeler, DJ spider).  Those guys are making some ill techno and they’re from New York.   We’re also working with our boys Jesse Calosso and Filsonik.    Then there’s Tuskegee with Seth and that collaboration that is pure magic.  We got a lot done and now the travel is about to get crazy for the summer touring schedule.

TMN: Not that the two of you can be pinned down to just house music of course. Your last mixtape, Warhol*Basquiat* 2, mostly eschews house in favor of lush, jazz- and funk-fueled rhythms. Where does your guys’ rich and diverse music background stem from?

Alongside our house music productions we’ve been working on building our hip hop sound.  Warhol*Basquiat was our first mixtape.  We’re working on a Bodega Bamz mix tape now that will feature people like Raekwon and Asap Ferg.   We have our dad to thank for our love of music mostly.   He went to the Garage back in the days and he shared the love with us.  He also introduced us to Timmy Regisford and MAW sets and those guys pretty much gave us our first introduction to house.

TMN: Well thanks so much for answering all of the usual stuff, but now it’s time for the lightning round. Just a few fun questions to round us out.

TMN: You guys have been tagged as cratediggers from an early age. What has been your favorite record store in the history of time regardless of if it’s still in operation?

The first record stores we ever went to were Vinyl Mania and Dance Tracks when they were still open, and those definitely hold a place in our heart. We bought alot of our “foundational” records there, not to mention alot of friends and artists that we met just by being there. Glad we were able to catch the tail end of that era in NYC, we miss it alot!

TMN: What was the last piece of music you purchased?

Last vinyl that came in the mail was an album by Joe Zawinul called “Dialect”. Some world and even electronic sounds from one of the founders of Weather Report.  Good Stuff!

TMN: Last great live concert experience regardless of genre?

We’ve just seen Little Dragon recently and they really blew the roof off. They got into some techno at the end which no one expected. Her voice is amazing and  really distinct, and it carries really well live!

TMN: Okay guys, once again thank you so much for taking the time for The Music Ninja, and we cannot wait for your Denver debut at Club Vinyl this weekend. We honestly can’t remember the last time a club show has had this much buzz behind it in Denver, and are so thrilled for a chance to be a part of what will no doubt end up being a gigantic 2014.

Read on for official details on our ticket giveaway for The Martinez Brothers’ show in Denver this Saturday!

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[TMN Resident Artist] Elephante on when his love of music started, remixes, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch

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The Chainsmokers
#SELFIE (Elephante Remix)

I got to sit down with our wonderful resident artist Elephante and pick his brain a bit about his musical background, all these crazy remixes he produces, and how his music dream only really became a reality a little over a year ago.

TMN: This month we have the pleasure of having Elephante as our resident artist. Tim, thank you so much for joining the ninja family this month!

E: Thank you for having me! It’s an honor :)

TMN: Let’s start at the beginning when you were just a young kid from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tell us when you began taking music lessons and how that progressed from your early age all the way through college?

E: Well I started taking piano lessons when I was 8, but according to my mom, I was super into Fantasia when I was a baby, and would sit 3 feet in front of the TV and watch it on repeat, so I guess Mickey Mouse and that broom thing were sorta my first teachers. Took some guitar lessons in high school, but was mostly self-taught, pretty much through learning all of “Room for Squares” by John Mayer. Seriously that album is amazing. Anyway, I dabbled with hip-hop and messed around with Fruity Loops, but got mostly into writing my own stuff and singing. Loved like Jimi Hendrix and [Eric] Clapton, so it was like blues influenced pop stuff.

TMN: Was there a time you wanted to quit playing music? You know kids, they go through phases and also get busier the older they get, some activities have to give usually. Was music ever part of that or was that an activity you wouldn’t let go of?

E: There was a little bit in high school, but it was more from wanting to be one of the “cool kids” and not from falling out of love with music. Luckily I never committed fully to being a Mean Girl, and didn’t have to give it up. Plus, I figured John Mayer was getting tons of girls, so playing music was probably okay.

TMN: You said that in high school you performed blues influenced acoustic pop songs. Talk to us about where you would perform and how it was being a music kid in high school. Were you involved in your school music programs or were you more a solo music kid who did his own thing?

E: I never really did the school programs like band or orchestra, partly because I was more interested in making my own music and partly because I was terrified of other people thinking I sucked. I did play a few coffeehouse and bar shows, and got the courage to beg my friends to come see, which I am eternally grateful for, because honestly I probably wasn’t that good.

TMN: And you graduated from Harvard a few years back, did you go there for anything musically related? If not, what did you study at school?

E: I did, which I find harder and harder to believe as time goes on. Like, I really went to class and took tests and stuff? I’d get OWNED if I had to do that now. I did do as much music stuff as possible, minored in Music, ran the campus studio, was in a band, interned at a recording studio in Boston, etc.

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Sick Individuals Talk Miami, Music, and Babies [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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Not too long ago, we had the opportunity to do a spontaneous Q&A with Jim from Sick Individuals while they were out in Miami for Miami Music Week. We learned a lot in this 10 minute interview about their life on tour, their new release, and Jim’s burning desire to know how many children Ray wants to have one day.

TMN: Hey Jim! Thanks for giving us a few minutes of your time to talk with us! I can tell you’re definitely somewhere fun. How’s the Miami scene treating you so far?

J: No problem! Ray and I are having a lot of fun over here. We have been meeting a lot of our close producer friends and having a blast. This place is crazy – have you ever been?

TMN: That sounds like absolute madness. Personally, no, I have never been to Miami, but it sounds like the place to be! I’ll be out there for sure next year to experience the chaos firsthand – but we’ll all have to get a beer first. 

J: (Laughs) Sounds like a great plan to us!

TMN: (Giggles) Speaking of you and Ray, how did you guys link up?

J: We met back at the School of Arts back home and realized that we worked really well together so we started producing back in 2010. Ray and I have the same goals as far as music goes, so we thought we’d try it out and we think it has been the right decision (laughs).

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[Exclusive Interview] TMN Sits Down With option4, Keepers. and Need & Necessity at Snowball

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Elizabeth Rose
The Good Life (option4 Remix)
Keepers
Hello (Original Mix)
Lemme See (Original Mix) **FREE DOWNLOAD**

This past weekend at Snowball Music Festival, we were treated to a wonderful palate of eclectic artists, all in the heart of Denver Broncos territory at Sports Authority Field. From major acts like Busta Rhymes, Pretty Lights, Yeasayer, Twin Shadow, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Griz, Knife Party and MiMOSA to the amazingly well represented house tent with names including MK, J. Phlip, Graff, Justin Jay, Maxxi Soundsystem and The Juan Mclean; it was safe to say our tastes for all different genres of music were well satiated. We also had the chance to catch up with some of our absolute favorite up and coming house artists option4, as well as the duos of Keepers. and Need & Necessity round-table style in their home city to talk about their burgeoning record label Night Supply, their drinks of choice, spirit animals, Miley Cyrus and a whole lot more. And who better than these three entities to give us a little insight into the climate of dance music in their own state? Check out the full transcript below.

The Music Ninja (TMN): Alright, The Music Ninja here at Snowball Music Festival with option4, Keepers. and Need & Necessity. First things first, I know we can be a bit intimidating so how about a round of Fireball shots? [five minute pause from interview] Okay, let’s get the ball rolling!

TMN: Now, we’re obviously here in your guys’ back yard of Denver. A lot of people don’t realize this, but all of you have been throwing and curating proper house music events in the city for over three years as TheHundred and have built relationships with most every dance artist on the festival. With this year being so heavy on house music, what has it been like to see your collective work begin to take a bit of a hold through more mainstream outlets like a Snowball Music Festival? Let’s start with option4.

option4: Man it’s been awesome to see so many people that might not normally be into this style of music fully support and accept it. For example, last night MK was killer, J. Phlip was killer and all those people choosing to be in the house tent as opposed to some of the other stages. That was something that felt very tangible, very real. It was kind of a weird stage to begin with because nobody could really hear the music outside of the tent and it was a little bit tucked away, but that thing was still absolutely packed.  It seemed like there were a lot of people there for that style of music, so it was nice to see house music have a real footing at an American festival.

Read the rest of our interview with option4, Keepers. and Need & Necessity after the jump!

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Joel Fletcher on Melbourne Bounce, Nike’s, & The Juicy Wiggle [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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Last Thursday night was easily one of the greatest shows I’ve ever attended at the Yost Theater. I have been attending HAVOC Thurdays for quite some time now and that night, by far, topped them all. With the line-up tailoring to everyone’s musical desires, I knew that it was going to be absurd beyond belief. Before I was able to get down to some funky Melbourne beats and upbeat progressive house music, I first had to have a one-on-one conversation with one of Australia’s finest Melbourne Bounce producers, Joel Fletcher, to get the dish on what the music scene is like down under.

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Swing (Original Mix) OUT NOW!

TMN: Hey Joel! Nice to finally meet you. Welcome to the States! How was the flight from Australia?

JF: Thanks! Nice to meet you as well. It was an easy flight. I didn’t go to bed when I left Melbourne so I just crashed on the plane for 10 hours. I’m not really jet lagged so it’s great!

TMN: So, now that you’re finally in the U.S., tell me what you are most excited about regarding this tour?

JF:  It’s obviously my first trip out here and the scene is really starting to blow up so I’m really looking forward to see how everyone reacts. I believe I have 15 shows on this tour, so I’m just as excited for the 8th show as I am for all of the other shows. But, I’m really looking forward to going shopping!

TMN: Shopping? What do you want to buy out here?

JF: Shoes. Definitely shoes.

TMN: What kind of shoes are we talking about?

JF: Nike’s – as you can see. I have about 20-25 pairs of them back home.

TMN: You beat me on that one because I don’t even own a pair of Nike’s…

JF: (Laughs) Really? I’ll get you a pair.

TMN: You’re the best. Any who, let’s get back on track about music. Did you play any instruments growing up?

JF: Ah, yes. I started playing the drums when I was about 8 years old and stopped when I turned 14 which was about the time I started DJing. There were actually a pair of DJs where I grew up called the Electro Rockers, and they played a lot of progressive house and I guess you can say they really inspired me to start mixing. Continue reading

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Get to know: LAXX [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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LAXX
Step Two [Preview]

LAXX is most definitely one to keep your eye on. Having signed with the renowned bass family Never Say Die last year, LAXX dropped his explosive debut EP for them in February and is now unleashing his second on April 7th. A follow up from ‘Step One’, ‘Step Two’ is another display of his self-coined “Twitch” music, packed with jittery synths and intense rhythmical progressions – not to mention a frenzied remix from label mate MUST DIE! The iconic and wonderfully simplistic ‘Step One’ is given a more dynamic and atmospheric twist, whilst maintaining that earth shattering drop impact of the original. I particularly enjoy ‘The Limit’ with its blend of vocal outbreaks and sustained pulse throughout, and LAXX’s sense of musical identity resonates here. I had the opportunity to to grill LAXX on ‘Step Two’ and what we can expect to see from him in the future.

TMN: Did you approach making ‘Step Two’ differently to ‘Step One’? Did ‘Step Two’ feel more like you were experimenting with a new set of sounds?

LAXX: ‘Step One’ was hard to follow, but I had a vibe in my mind already and knew what sort of thing I wanted to hear. It took a while, I named so many projects ‘Step Two’ and had about 5 different tracks which I was going to go back in on, but none of them were what I wanted. When I’m writing I know when I’ve got it, and a lot of the time I just start again because it’s not working for me. As soon as I got the basic vibe of it, I must’ve known, because I named it ‘Definitely Step Two’. But yeah, I wanted a similar vibe but a different musical palette.

TMN: Which track on this EP are you most proud of and why?

LAXX: Like all of them for different reasons. ‘Brainbug’ took the longest to finish, but I’m still as into ‘The Limit’ as I was when I first wrote it. I’ve always tried to create something simple, which has as much impact as something overproduced. But in all, I’m proud of all of them, and they all took weeks of back and forth to finish.

TMN: Where does the term “Twitch” music come from?

LAXX: “Twitch” is a term I created just because I didn’t feel what I was doing was fitting into categories I was listening to. To me just means a different rhythm, not just the obvious. The vibe in ‘Brainbug’ and ‘The Unknown’ are pretty much off key and different, so thats what I mean. I take inspiration from everything, but I still see what I’m doing in a different bracket to Trap or Dubstep, so it would be wrong to call it either.

TMN: What’s next in terms of future sounds from you? What can we expect you to deliver after this release?

LAXX: You’ll have to wait and see, but I’m just going down a new route. I want to do something different and exciting and make peoples ears prick up. So, I can’t say really, but I’ve got a lot in store..

TMN: You’ve previously worked with several grime artists. Do you have any plans to collaborate with vocalists again?

LAXX: Yes. I’ve always been a big fan of grime MC’s and Footsie, D Double E and P Money are some of my favourites. I can’t really say whats to come, but there will be some colabs in the pipeline.

TMN: Could you name 3 of your all-time favourite tracks?

That’s not an easy question as my music taste is pretty broad and I go through phases with different genres constantly. But here you go:

Krust – Warhead

Bad Company – Planet Dust

Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing

TMN: If you could work on a track with any Never Say Die artist, who would it be?

LAXX: I like all of the artists on Never Say Die, but I’d love to get in the studio with Zomboy. I just know he’d be a nutter to work with, he’s got so much energy in his tunes, it’d be a laugh just to work with him and see him vibe out.

TMN: Thanks for your time LAXX! Awesome release.

LAXX: Cheers for having me and make sure you grab ‘Step Two’ on 7th April!

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Rebecca and Fiona Interview [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

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There was a time where “Turn it Down” played in just about every car, house and club in the world. Obviously this Swedish duo experienced tremendous success with their collab with Kaskade, but they’ve also made a name for themselves with plenty of other songs over the past few years.

Rebecca and Fiona recently came to the Mile High City to play at the legendary Beta Nightclub. Before their set, we stole a quick 20 minutes to talk to them. Check out what they had to say about growing up in musical households, opening for Robyn, and how they find their new music.

TMN: Hello ladies. Thank you so much for sitting down with us tonight. Let’s start off by talking about about being in Denver playing at Beta Nightclub. Are you guys excited to play for this crowd?

R: Really excited! We’ve never been to Denver before, so we’re excited.

F: We’ve heard a lot of great stuff about the club (Beta). We’ve been wanting to go here for a long time.

TMN: Have you been through Colorado before?

F: I’ve been here because I have relatives here, but it was a long time ago.

TMN: Let’s talk about the beginnings. You two met in the mid 2000s, and then started making music in 2010. How did you guys come to this decision?

R: Yeah, exactly

F: It came kind of naturally. We knew we wanted to work together and we were really into finding new music. We just wanted to be able to make money off of doing something together.

R: Something that was fun!

TMN: Let’s go even further back. What are your musical roots? Were you both in piano lessons as little girls? Did your passion for music come as a teenager?

R: My father is a classical pianist, so I grew up with a lot of classical ways of learning music. I was in a high level choir school, then I went to music school, but I really didn’t enjoy the classical ways of learning music. I just wanted to make music from my own creativity, not from the rules of making music. So, I kind of took a stand from that when I graduated. Then we met (Fiona) and she grew up with a father that’s really into producing. He actually brought the synthesizer into Sweden to sell to Swedish musicians. She grew up with a synth-pop producer Dad and I had the classical background.

F: In Sweden you get to study music for free, as well. So, both of us got to try out the flute, the piano, the violin…
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