Berlin based DJ, passionate musician and live set specialist, Martin Lewis, has steadily made a name for himself over the last couple of years, with lauded releases on labels like Holic Trax’ Monoklo sub series which showcases a deeper, darker house sound to its larger counterpart. As well as having a few releases on Profound, not forgetting Freebase Records, mincolormusic and more high profile labels like Exploited, it’s rounding up to be an impressively busy couple of years for the producer. We caught up with the young Berliner to discuss his latest release and plans for the future.
The good thing is that I always do how I feel, and thus make all kinds of electronic music...Your recent release is the latest on the Holic Trax sub series Monoklo; could you tell us a bit about it? Did you take a different approach from usual?
Actually I do music almost every day. The good thing is that I always do how I feel, and thus make all kinds of electronic music. Now and then happy good vibration groovers and sometimes some deep and dark smashers like my recent release on Holic Trax.
A lot of tracks I just do for myself and will never see the daylight. But occasionally I use those tracks to play them in my DJ sets or put them in my mixes. From time to time even people come up and ask what track it is, I just played because they cannot Shazam or Soundcloud. Then I have to tell them that it is my own production that is unreleased. To answer the question, I did not take a different approach.
My inspiration and influences is my life itself...Describe to us your influences, how did you get into the music that you’re producing now?
My inspiration and influences is my life itself. Sometimes I watch a movie and sample some interesting conversation from a film like the B1 “Poetry” on the Monoklo2 record.
As any producer I went through different stages and with experience you get better and better. As a teenager I played bass, keyboard and guitar in different Punk, Hardcore and Rock Bands. Later I came to Hip Hop and started producing Hip Hop beats. Finally I found my true love in House and Disco Music.
Who in particular has influenced you the most, you can pick a few names like producers, DJs or even family.
Actually I love the music from the 90s. The 90s Hip Hop, the 90s House Music and all these incredible Bands that came up like Rage Against the Machine, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Beastie Boys, Daft Punk just to name a few. Producer wise I think Four Tet and Martyn are big influences although my sound is quite different. Also my great-grandfather and great-great grandfather were very successful conductors and chapel masters.
At home I always listen to all kinds of different music and genres because making House Music but listening to only House Music is like committing incest...At home I always listen to all kinds of different music and genres because making House Music but listening to only House Music is like committing incest. Furthermore most of my friends are producers, DJs or both. We often hang out together and play each other the recent records we bought, recent productions we made and give each other feedback. We encourage and inspire each other – after all we all share the same passion for music.
What do you prefer doing more, DJ sets or lives sets?
Actually it depends on the place and venue where I am playing. In the summertime when I play on an open-air, I prefer doing a live set during daytime or in the early evening with only own productions. When I play in a club, if prefer doing splendid DJ sets.
What’s your studio setup like? Any commandments that you live by when in the studio?
I use the RME Fireface 800 as soundcard and my marvelous Mackie HR824 as monitors. As DAW I use FL Studio. I play the most sounds on a usual midi keyboard. Furthermore I use the microKORG, BassBot303, and UC33 to control all the automations like Filter Cutoffs, Delays, Reverbs etc.
I don’t have any commandments. I just need to be rested and need enough liquid like tea, coffee and water while I produce. In the evening I sometimes drink some beers while doing music. There are some hardware synthesizers on my list I want to buy, but patience is the key and it all comes step by step.
What are some of the essential bits of kit that you use to make your own sound in the studio?
I love my microKORG, it’s an incredible machine. I just turn the knobs and twist the sound until I like the sound. I also use some free VST effects that give the tracks a nice touch.
Additionally I love sampling from vinyl. Some years ago I lived 2 month in New York City. There I bought 250 old records from the 70s for 1 Dollar each. In those records I still find so much tremendous samples that are wonderful. Occasionally I take a full bar as a sample sometimes just a short sound and make my own melody or groove with the sound. Besides I like playing around with samples and trying weird stuff with them. Sometimes I get great results.
One of my highlights were the New Years Eve where I played with my mate Sebastian Herre a 8 hours B2B Set...What were some of your highlights from 2015?
One of my highlights were the New Years Eve where I played with my mate Sebastian Herre a 8 hours B2B Set. We played all kinds of music. Warming up with old Funk and Soul tunes and some Dub tracks. Later playing Disco, House and wild Breakbeats. People went crazy and screamed a lot, that was so much fun.
Another highlight was playing in Bangkok on an open-air that was a very nice experience seeing the Asian people dancing to House Music. I would love to play in Japan one day. I heard so many good things about that country and the music scene is huge there. People appreciate underground music much more in Japan than in the most other countries of the world.
Any news for the future? Anything you might be excited about?
Yes for sure. I am very excited about starting our own label called “Dub Disco” with my buddy and DJ mate Serj Nosé. He is an incredible DJ and the good thing, he is not a producer. He has very good ears and a legendary taste.
I am very excited about starting our own Label called “Dub Disco” with my buddy and DJ mate Serj Nosé...Together we form the Dub Disco Soundsystem. So he selects the tracks from the many tracks I give him. Of course we play the tracks out in the clubs many months before they will get released. Furthermore we already made some cool tees with the Dub Disco logo that you can see on dubdisco.com . A lot of friends and some people already have one.
Any last words?
As I have the honor to do this interview for you guys at I Voice, I would love to come over to your beautiful island. Maybe some promoters are reading this and love my tracks, mixes or my recent release. I would really appreciate go there and play some marvelous house music for you that you have a great time. Bringing you some good vibes and my personality; just let me know, I am ready.