There are plenty of indie, electro experimentalists out there, but few have the natural inclination to fuse various shades of down tempo to create something bright. Admiring forgotten forefathers of EDM like Goldie and LTJ Bukem inspired Justin Martin to create music ahead of his time–developing complex, down tempo wobbles accompanied by shinny synths and catchy vocals. But when asked to describe his sound, Martin says the motive of his music is much more simple. “It's booty-shakin, speaker-rattling, panty-droppin, bass-heavy fun.”
Introducing lo-fi, hip-hop-inflected beats complemented by funky drum loops, Martin sounds like an early '90s alternative to David Guetta. This year, the San Francisco DJ makes his debut at this year's Lightning in a Bottle on Friday at midnight at Silverado's Oak Canyon Ranch.
Gracing the cover of DJ Magazine and attracting Pete Tong's attention are more honors than most DJs could only dream of. Releasing his second album on Dirtybird Records this week, Ghettos & Gardens, Martin said, “It's definitely the biggest and most exciting project of my career.” In 2010, he decided to start writing a full length album. “It was a long time goal of mine that I had yet to accomplish.” After seeing the success of his good friend Claude VonStroke's first two albums, Martin decided to finally buckle down and not look back. “I really enjoyed getting back in touch with my deeper and more emotional side” particularly on tracks like 'Don't Go' and 'The Gurner,' he says.
Martin plans to drop a profuse amount of unreleased material during his LiB set, along with plenty of tracks off of his new album (which is more garden than a ghetto). With heavy bass pounding sounds of Bassnector and the Glitch Mob on the festival bill, the hippies and ravers gathering at LiB this weekend will find out if Martin's mellow sound can compete with other late-night festival artists like Tipper and Nit-Grit.
When it comes to inspiration for his work, Martin cites a scatter plot of infulences — everything from friends and family, to his favorite pizza (yeah, really). While continuing to move forward with his eclectic sound inspired by old heroes, Martin points out that young artists in the down-tempo scene–artists like Eats Everything, Maceo Plex, Disclosure and French Fries–are extremely inspiring to him. “They all have been making and playing some pretty cutting edge.”
Listen to Martin's lead single from Ghettos & Gardens, “Don't Go” and judge for yourself if you should stay for his set tonight at Oak Canyon Ranch.