Detroit’s hall of fame in the dance music world is a glittering homage to creativity and innovation. From the techno seedlings of the Belleville Trio (Mills, Saunderson & May) to the 3rd generation upstarts like Luke Hess, the sheer weight of the cities zip code banks credibility before any beats have been detonated.
One reviewer said it didn't have a theme, but for me the title says it all "Escape From South Warren" some songs like "Well" for example I hope you can feel the hardship and escapism... One of the unsung heroes of Detroit techno is Gary Martin. Since 1993 he has had his own label, Teknotika and by 1996 he had already released 20 EPs and began to DJ and performs live internationally. Whether as Gigi Galaxy, Mole People or as Gary Martin, he is known for his use of emotional strings, pounding grooves and deep melodies. His production technique has consistently retained a unique deepness that is almost at odds with itself. Both hypnotic and equally off-kilter, his distinctive production sound craft carries through to his new album; all of course layered with a healthy dose of Detroit funk.
Martin new LP, ‘Escape From South Warren’ was released the 5th October on Motech; comprised of twelve new and exclusive tracks, Escape From South Warren features slow building compositions like ‘Moogy Mank’, ‘I Don’t Know Why’, ‘Eastward Course’ and ‘2000 People Outside’ alongside dancefloor burners like ‘We Get Down’, ’This is It’, ‘Siren Sinth’ and ‘Galaxy Style.’
In Escape From South Warren we discover an album built on groove and rhythm as Martin manages to fuse Detroit’s tech-know how with house music’s bump n grind to great effect. Even rave, acid-house and electro are drawn upon to colour Martin’s expansive sound palette. We spoke to Martin about making music, Detroit and his latest LP.
Tell us about the new LP?
One reviewer said it didn't have a theme, but for me the title says it all "Escape From South Warren" some songs like "Well" for example I hope you can feel the hardship and escapism. That song was produced on the second floor studio while the basement was flooded with 3 feet of sewer water. "Stellar Caravan", "My Medicine" the studio was my escape from living somewhere I would never choose to live but economics put me there.
I don't think the globally acclaimed producers have done anything to help the grassroots. I could be mistaken though, let's hope so. For the record Mike Banks helped me out and many others...Who's been the biggest inspiration for Motech?
The label owner Franki of course; I know the owner and I've had a hand full of releases on the label in the past. I played him a handful of tracks I had last summer and he inspired me to keep working on a whole album and release on Motech.
Do you think the globally acclaimed producers have put back into the local grassroots scene?
No I don't think the globally acclaimed producers have done anything to help the grassroots. I could be mistaken though, let's hope so. For the record Mike Banks helped me out and many others.
If you could keep one piece of studio equipment?
I assume you are saying everything gets destroyed or stolen except for one thing. My 808 was the only item that actually had a monetary value to it but not so much now that Roland released a new version. The Rogue Moog is my signature solo instrument, but the truth is after 20 years I think I should buy a better one... lol
Do you think the digital vs analog debate is still relevant?
A little, but very little, not only do I own and love Pioneer CDJ's but I also own a Pioneer USB player now. Let's face it, it's great!
Without the influence of technology the music scene would be frozen in the 60s/70s - arguably the most prosperous era's for the artists. If you could wave a magic wand and do away with digital technology would you?
Hell no, I love that shit!!! lol... and I am an old school musician by the way. I can play guitar, bass, hand drums, analog synths.
U.S. doesn't actually like it when they are given something to listen too. They prefer what is played on American radio over the underground...The DJ hasn't been spared from corporate endorsements - if you could be sponsored by any brand or institution what would it be?
Chevrolet, BMW, Jaguar, I would appreciate being in an automotive or motorcycle commercial.
If you could ban something from dance music what would it be?
Playing a prerecorded mix of course should be banned unless you just got a phone call that someone is dying or you have a really bad case a diarrhea.
Do you think Detroit gets the respect it deserves from the booming dance music industry in the U.S.?
There are two sides to that story. The first is Hell no! America doesn’t give a shit about Detroit house and techno artists even though the mainstream is totally ripping off the underground. And the other side is the fact that the U.S. doesn't actually like it when they are given something to listen too. They prefer what is played on American radio over the underground.
There's a theory that the best music comes from hardship. Now that Detroit is struggling with socio-economic problems does this mean they'll be a bump in innovative music?
From my point of view you got it backwards. Now that Detroit is about to be a booming cosmopolitan area where everybody wants to live and party; is there going to be a decline in innovative music? And my answer is no, I don't think we are going to see a decline in innovative music from Detroit.