As the genre continues to explode in popularity across the United States, DJs are jumping on the deep house bandwagon left and right. Amidst all the newcomers to the scene, veteran mixers continue to toil away at the decks, bringing us the deep beats and infectious melodies that define the genre. Among this latter category is master mixer Martin Roth, whose reliably high quality releases have been moving bodies since the mid 90s. We caught up with the German DJ following a legendary set when Anjunadeep hit Verboten earlier this month.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into music?
I grew up in Frankfurt in the 90s when the first wave of German Techno started. Labels like EyeQ & Arthouse were big back then and I got my first clubbing experiences with DJs like Sven Väth, who is still a big hero of mine. So we went to the famous Dorian Gray at Frankfurt Airport as well as Omen downtown and I fell in love with this stuff. I was curious about how this new thing was made and done and what the story was behind it. So I discovered the production side and became a well know electronic music producer over the years. Then I started doing live acts and made my move to DJing, to keep the story short.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You’re a veteran DJ and I’m wondering how you can continue to stay inspired to create and to keep playing? What drives you?
This is why I am constantly changing and trying to develop myself further by looking left and right at what else is out there. I’m not sticking to a continuous genre or sound. If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know what I mean. Staying inspired and still having that glint in your eyes is the most important thing in this job.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Has your training as a classical pianist affected the way in which you see music? Has it affected how you create?
Sure. I think you can do electronic music or music in general without this training, as there are also other special needs and talents. However, with this training, you have a way deeper insight and this music world becomes far bigger and richer.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Much of the world seems to regard electronic music as “soulless” and I’m often confronted with the sentiment that electronic music takes less talent to create than music that is made with “real instruments” (I’m frowning as I type that haha). As someone who is clearly adept in both worlds, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Nowadays the want for more “organic” music is huge and that also applies in Electronic music. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear more and more of that organic sound. Less machines, more analog, allowed mistakes, etc. It’s all coming up. I love guys like DJKoze who are producing this organic, warm, cozy sound which is also becoming very popular at the moment.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Where do you start with a new track and what’s your process like?
It’s very different every time. Most of the time I start with a groove, some drums, then bassline and extras. But I’ve gone back to my earlier habits in the last few months by playing the keyboard or piano again first to get inspired with those sounds.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Can you tell me a little bit about your residency at the legendary Ministry of Sound?
This is over now, but for several years I was playing MOS in London constantly. What else can I say, but it’s a great club, great stuff. Always great vibe & people.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Does the live experience affect how you create music? To what degree is each new track tailored for the experience of a listener at a live set in a club?
I am trying nowadays to move back from the computer screen. I’m going back again to listening more and to analog sequencing. So this is my first attempt to step back and refocus on the live experience and my plan is also to go for more live sets in the future.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: How do you discover new music?
Mostly on Soundcloud honestly. Also what colleagues are playing next to me as well as just digging deep everywhere!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: I see that you have Depeche Mode listed as one of your influences. I’m a huge fan myself! Can you tell us a little bit about why they’re on that list?
Depeche Mode and their albums were simply the soundtrack of my youth. Every single track of theirs is connected to a special situation in my life. I have so many special memories of growing up with this music. They will always be the most special band for me. Also, from the musical aspect, all this was and still is so creative—so wild, so warm, so inspiring.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Who are some of your other influences? And who are some DJs around today who are doing things you respect?
As mentioned, Sven Väth has been a long time hero since I grew up. I also really enjoy DJ Koze, Apparat, and the likes.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What are some of your favorite cities and events to play?
I have had so many great experiences, it is really hard to name a special crowd. I enjoy intimate venues way more than festivals. Regarding cities, my favorites are Buenos Aires, Melbourne, & New York, but I’ve also had so many great nights in many other countries. It’s mostly in those where I didn’t expect it to happen SO hard ;)
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Do you have any projects coming up that you can tell us about?
Two new remixes this week and next. One is a remix I did for a John Monkman track from last year for Anjunadeep which will be out March 2nd. There’s also a remix I did for Pete Oak called “Merula”. Pete Tong is a fan of that one and played in three times in a row on BBC Radio 1. That one’s been out since the 22nd. Also, my new EP of original music will be out on Anjunadeep in May.
AUTHOR CREDIT: ALEXANDRA BLAIR