TSC Behind The Decks | Roger Martinez
We are very excited to introduce you to a very talented, fast-growing and very promising DJ/producer Roger Martinez (NL) – known for his trance-inducing DJ-sets and unique music production – whose music already has found its way onto labels like Lost & Found, Armadillo, Sudbeat and many more.
This year Roger Martinez is returning to Amsterdam Dance Event where he will be playing a unique set at Club NL organized by Darin Epsilon – a party you should not miss out on.
Hello Roger Martinez and many thanks for having us for this interview. Where are we catching you right now?
Hi everyone! I am currently in Piëmonte (IT) visiting family.
We would like to know a little bit more about you and why you ended up in the electronic music scene. When did you for the very first time start listening to electronic music and what triggered it?
Well, at the age of 9 I was captivated by a tv-commercial for “Turn Up The Bass: House Party Vol. 1”.
It was one of the first house music compilations and the otherworldly sounds and images of colorful lights and club scene footage in the commercial somehow grabbed me as a young boy. So you could say I was a so-called early adopter. From there it went on to collecting and listening more and more to synthesizer influenced music, then starting to DJ with the first DJ software that was available when I reached adolescence, called Virtual Turntables. I really feel I was lucky to have been growing up in Amsterdam which was a hot spot of emerging electronic music and ditto club scene.
I’ll share with you this short anecdote. One day I was with my friends in the Amsterdam city center around the age of 15, when we, as if some ominous event, stumbled upon the scene of a burning Roxy club. Only later I realized what an essential and elemental place this was for Amsterdam nightlife and the Dutch house music scene.
Some artists started with DJ-ing first and then it evolved to production. Is this also the case for you?
Yes, from collecting a lot of the earliest house music compilations, I ventured into the early days of MP3 and FTP sharing sites. As a young kid on little funds it was an amazing way to discover music, burn it onto CDs and then play it during the odd small gigs I had in bars around those days. Also I was lucky to have lived around the time when there were still some really good record stores in Amsterdam, so I still have a lot of very valuable vinyls from that time.
Eventually I reached a point where I noticed that university was not for me and luck wanted that I got acquainted with a girl, who attended a very innovative music school in the South of the Netherlands. The school just launched the first year of a course in music production. I am still grateful for that encounter, because it set the course for the rest of my life right up to the moment of me typing in these answers.
I never had any professional music education, but I was always entranced and captivated by sound. Around the same time a good friend of mine gave me a copy of the music production software Reason 3. In one year I managed to get my skills up to the point where I was accepted into this music production course and for four years I enjoyed the amazing benefits of being a student of a selected group of very talented musicians and artists, since the school was part of an art school complex.
Now when we are talking about you. What is your favorite food? This must be valuable information for bookers 😛
My favorite food is any food that has living energy and electrical qualities. I am lucky to spend most of my time in the Canary Islands where I have access to home grown high quality food and where I fervently practice another passion of mine, which is creating permaculture style food gardens.
I prefer organic vegetarian food, but I am not religious in this. Some absolute favorites are: banana, avocado, mango, kaki fruit, fresh coconut, cacao. I also definitely love for example good Italian food, but from experience I have to say: it is only really available in Italy itself, because only here are the high quality ingredients readily available (sorry Italian restaurant owners in the rest of the world).
Following up on your latest release Dreamtime / Songlines / Billabong. Tracks that all have received a tremendous support from artists such as Eelke Kleijn and many others. How has your life as a DJ/producer evolved ever since?
I am enjoying the growth and development of my music platform and label “Higher States”. I love how it creates connections with other amazing artists all over the world and enjoy the inspiration it gives me for my own musical projects. I enjoy the fact that (hopefully) I am adding my vision and relationship with electronic music into the current day electronic music scene through the label, at the same time building a group of artists that for some reason feel affiliated with the Higher States philosophy and sound.
What is currently your favorite equipment that keeps you busy in the studio making new music?
Well, you might not expect it, but one of the biggest and most essential equipment I have for the studio is the Arizer Solo II vaporizer.
For me the sacred cannabis plant opens up vistas of creativity and gives me that extra focus to not get distracted during music making (one of the greatest challenges living in today’s world of internet laden mass consumption of information!)
People and festival-goers are still talking about your performance at the Hidden Garden Festival in Eindhoven last weekend – can you just highlight what was going on there? It looked amazing!
Hidden Garden is one my favorite festivals in the world. It has the atmosphere of the South of the Netherlands where I lived for many years. It lacks greatly in presumptuousness, but still is a 4000+ people festival in a beautiful forested setting and the people behind the festival are just beautiful. Nowadays I definitely prefer to play in natural settings where I find that trance and dance open people up to the energy of organic Nature.
A lot of Amsterdam Dance Event attendees appreciate your official announcement at Club NL – what can we expect to hear from you? Do you have any new releases coming up for 2019 that we should look forward to?
I have a lot of stuff waiting to be released, mainly through Higher States of course. The party at ADE is organized by Darin Epsilon of Perspectives Digital, who is a long time supporter and colleague in the electronic music scene. I am happy to be returning to Club NL where my career as a DJ actually more or less started! Since I never prepare DJ sets, we shall see what the vibe and atmosphere is. But, as always, I am looking forward to take people on a sonic journey and have them experience boundary loss.
So far – thinking of 2019 from a macro perspective. What has been your biggest highlight?
I’d say the birth of the Higher States music label.
What is the toughest part about being a DJ and producer these days – do you have any advices to upcoming artists?
Focus, and this goes not only for DJ/Producers.
It seems that we are living in a time where the main consumer commodity is distraction through (multi)media. Even music has become corrupted to just be an instrument of distraction. Also, being on the road I have to really watch how I divide my attention and energy. If I have no energy or if I am in a bad mood, what do I have to give the audience during a performance, be it in the studio or live? Focus on what you want to do in the moment, but at the same be playful, or you end up with horribly uninteresting music. Also, please remember that as an artist you are in a position of service towards other people, it is not about the egoic you that you associate yourself with most of the time.
For me the whole beauty of the electronic music scene when it emerged, was the arrival of a music style where finally it wasn’t mainly about the artist, but more about the music being played. It is interesting to see how also the electronic music scene over the years has been hijacked by large money interests who again put the artist first and the music second.
Thank you for the interview Roger and see you hopefully at ADE!
My absolute pleasure amigo. Hope to see you all at this year’s ADE.
Connect with Roger Martinez on Facebook and SoundCloud