Dirtybird Records, named "the most exciting record label in dance music" by Mixmag back in 2013, is nearing it's 10-year anniversary in the upcoming year. With over 80 releases by the label, and the growing array of unique, bass-loving artists, Dirtybird is definitely no longer a secret. We had the opportunity to sit down with a Dirtybird O.G., Christian Martin, at the most recent Dirtybird Quarterly (a four-times-a-year party in the label's hometown of San Francisco) to discuss festivals, music, new releases and the ever-evolving label that is Dirtybird Records.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: How would you describe Dirtybird's signature sound to someone who has never heard this type of music before?
Heavy Swing, Hip-hop influenced, very bass-heavy house music.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: When producing, how do you adapt to the ever-changing sounds, and popularity, of music in the scene today?
Lately, especially, I try to just focus on making the sounds I want to hear and try to get them out of the computer. Rather than trying to tailor my sound to someone or something.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What do you draw inspiration from?
I listen to a lot of DJ sets online and try to spot what they're playing. Being sent a lot of good promo lists also gives me the opportunity to hear a lot of unreleased music. I try to really dissect what I love- what i know that I love, and try to figure out WHY I love it. Then I can try to recreate that kind of feeling in a track, even if it's just a trick that someone uses in a section of a song. I'm always trying to listen to music and learn from it.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: San Francisco definitely appears to have a big influence on the Dirtybird Label. What do you think it is about the city that is so inspiring?
Well it's changed in recent years, I think, with the ".com" kind of takeover. The city has traditionally been like a bubble, even within California, with castaways and freaks, and people that are quote-unquote, counter-culture. The problem is now is that it's too expensive for all of those people to be here. But the city is just wild. It's like, 7x7, super dense, and everyone wants to be here. It's just one of those places where things are constantly happening.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You recently played Coachella this past April- at the Do LaB. How did this impact your year and how was playing the Do LaB?
Oh man, it was amazing. It was actually the third time in a row playing at the Do LaB, and each time they've gotten better. They've basically evolved into their own stage because there's people that will be posted there all day and they don't even care about any of the other acts. That's incredible because you feel that passion for the stage. You might not even know any of the people playing on it, but you trust the curation and the set up of this crew. They do a really good job of picking stuff that's going to sound good during the hot hours of the day, and as it cools down they transition well with the live performance art and vibe. It's like, what is this oasis of awesome? It was really cool to be a part of that a few times and to watch them grow as well.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You and Justin (younger brother who is also a profound Dirtybird) are both very talented and successful. You clearly come from a very loving family, we even saw your parents grilling up burgers at the Dirtybird BBQ in SF. Is there anything specific that your parents instilled in you growing up that you've carried with you through your rise to success?
They were always really supportive of our creativity. We both started taking piano lessons when we were very young and they always nurture that side of us. It's kind of terrifying to think about doing something creative as a career, but the way that they supported us as we grew up was like- As long as you support yourself, you can do whatever you want. What we're doing is kind of an awesome extension of that.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You have a new song on the 7 Days of Dirtybird compilation, titled "Bell Murray". What influenced you to make that track?
I love hearing sounds that I haven't heard before coming out of speakers. When I'm making a track, I try to push myself to get those unfamiliar sounds.
We were honored to learn of Christian’s plans for the creation of a brand new record label that he hopes to bring to us in the upcoming year. It’s no secret that electronic music is incredibly versatile, which leads to both artist and fan indulgence in a wide variety of different sounds and styles of music. Christian Martin hopes that with this new label he can branch out and create an outlet for the music that he and other established, talented producers create that doesn’t quite match the signature Dirtybird sound.
“I love what Dirtybird is doing, but I also make music that doesn’t fit under the label, and that’s fine.”
He hopes that it will entice not only the fans that he’s accumulated through Dirtybird, but new fans that will be attracted to the unique sounds he’ll be putting forth. This new median is incredibly promising, we will be impatiently waiting to hear more about the fine tunings of the label and its first releases.
AUTHOR CREDIT: KATI MUNOZ & BROOKE SLIGER