DeeperSoul Blog - Deep & Soulful House Music

Non-commercial and independent music blog. Strictly 4 the love of House...

Friday, May 19

DeeperSoul Interview - Martino

.

Martino
.

Well-respected composer, producer and keyboard musician, Martino Lozej is an unquestioned value in the house music industry. Besides his solo work, Martino is one half of the 83 West team (with Tyrone Solomon), one third of the Soul Intensions team (with Karizma and T. Solomon), one half of Eminence (with Suges), as well as an active session musician along side countless top notch producers.

.
PART I
.
Could you tell us how you got into djing / producing and about your early career?
.
I was studying jazz performance piano in a music college at the time. I had been into underground dance music for many years before that, but I was really focusing on jazz at the time. But then for some reason I really started getting the urge to make electronic music. I had a few friends that were deejays and I had started going to clubs again on a regular basis after taking a break from going dancing for about a year. I started messing around with my friend’s turntables, and then I bought the Emu esi-32 sampler, a 12-channel Mackie mixer, and a computer and then started learning how to make music with this equipment. My first productions were more sample-based and on a tracky tip. I was also messing around with drum n bass and hiphop beats. Back then I was making a conscious effort to make my electronic production very different from the live/acoustic style of music that I was making at the time.
.
What’s your music background? Which artists have influenced you the most?
.
I studied classical piano for 12 years through the conservatory. I studied jazz privately and then continued at a music college where I won a scholarship upon graduating. I then went on to study producing and engineering at an Institute in Toronto. The music that I became passionate about was: that of Miles Davis’ legendary quintet (with Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter); John Coltrane’s famous quartet on Impulse Records; I also collected most of those great records on CTI with Don Sebesky arranging huge string sections with jazz/funk rhythm sections; and also a lot of Jazz that came out in the 70’s on ECM records became a big influence.
.
The artists that got me hooked onto house the first time I heard it were mostly the early Chicago guys. I loved the acid stuff Mike Dunn and Tyree Cooper were doing; pretty much all the early Fingers Inc stuff; but also can’t fail to mention TenCity and Blaze. Then I really got back into house very seriously when I heard some MoodIISwing, Sneak, Bassment Jaxx, Global Communications, Blaze raising the bar again, a local guy named Vince Ailey, and obviously all that killer MAW/KenLou stuff just to name a few.
.
You have worked with an impressive list of producers – Marlon D, Halo, Karizma, John Kumahara, John Cutler and others – playing keyboards. How grateful are these experiences for you?
.
I’m very lucky! Incidentally, if it wasn’t for the Internet, I probably wouldn’t have been able to work with a couple of those people. I’ve done a few of those sessions through instant Messenger/IChat (hence the title of the record that I did with Marlon D: "The Instant Message EP"). Everyone in that list works differently, and therefore every single session that I’ve had has been a learning experience for one reason or another. You learn a lot about your skills, because you have to adapt to someone else’s style, ears and conceptual approach to music. Some people just need a solo and some chord movement, and then they really produce and edit what you give them and make it sound totally their own. Other times, the keyboard session musician is pretty much a co-producer. Either way I’m very happy to have been asked to work with some of my favourite producers.
.
You are working solo too and you already have some records on prestigious labels like West End, Iwanai and NYSoul. Your solo work has a different concept from the other projects you are into?
.
Good question. Yes, there are different concepts and approaches from my solo work to my various collaboration teams. But, I tend to let instinct (or something very similar to instinct) take control at a certain point in all sessions.
.
The most specific “conceptional approach” for me to distinguish is when I work with a producer and friend named Suges (together we work under the Eminence Productions title). We will only work on deep house together. The kind of deep house that does not have happy lyrics (lol). We tend to not over-produce, but we like to use pretty chord progressions, and keep the major emphasis on the story we are trying to tell.
.
When I work with Tyrone Solomon as the 83 West Production team, it’s somewhat different every time. The first thing we usually do is agree on what direction we want to go musically and style-wise. We always seem to be on the same page every time because we have very similar taste and ideas once we’ve listened to the original vocal. Sometimes Tyrone will say one or two words in terms of an abstract influence or idea for me to interpret musically, which is a very interesting approach. The 83 West sessions tend to start from an idea, but the tracks end up being created in a very instinctual manner. First I try to understand what the song is about. Then I try to think of myself as a blank slate so that I always feel like I’m following the singer and the rhythm…almost as if it’s a conversation that I’m getting involved with. You have to let everything talk to each other, so when it’s your time to speak, you don’t say too much, and you try to say something that makes sense with what’s already been said. Tyrone will add stuff that pushes me in a new direction, or sometimes he’ll catch something that I’m trying out and will encourage more or less of it.
.
When I do my own stuff it is different every time. But I tend to do my solo stuff more as a composer, less as a producer. For example, "Do What Feels Right" was written as an RnB track on my Rhodes, and "Cultured Girl" was composed on piano. But for the most part, I try not to get in the mindset as if I was trying to create something out of nothing. I prefer to think of it as tapping into something that already exists and changing it from a form of energy that cannot be heard into a type of energy that everyone can hear. And I usually bring that concept to my sessions and collaborations to some degree. So it sort of feels like sculpture. There’s a slab of marble that you chip away at to create the statue that’s buried somewhere in the marble that no one can see except the artist until it’s done and everyone can see it.
.
I have noticed you are into deejaying too! Are deejaying and producing complementary activities to you?
.
Yes. Mainly because I’m a self-promoting whore and tend to play a lot of material that I have produced or helped produce.
.
Nowadays, we see Electro and 80's sound influencing many House Productions. Do you think that in order to move on in housemusic, producers have always to look back?
.
You have great questions. I believe that in order to be good at creating anything, you need to know where YOU come from as well as where the music that you’re making comes from. All art comes from a lineage. And the masters of any type of art all seem to have profound knowledge of the lineage. If you have no connection to 80’s electro, but go out and borrow your ideas from that generation of music, you will sound very derivative, weak and ultimately have zero impact on the current music that you are trying to make. Also, if you deny your strongest musical influences, then I believe that you are limiting the use of the language that you know best. So if you grew up on a steady diet of electro…go for it! All you have to do is look at all these great DJ’s that make great records. They have knowledge of the history of the music and they carry it forward into what they make. But there are other things out there that producers should be inspired by as well such as film, life experience, spirituality, other forms of music, and other forms of art. Which are things that I think many great producers have always been inspired by, because House is a relatively broad and unrestricted genre (to a degree). So as long as there is the right groove, you can do a lot on top of it.
.
The numbers of files illegally shared on the Internet don’t stop to grow. As a producer, how is this affecting you? What could be the solution?
.
It’s a big problem right now, and it does have an obvious impact on sales, but that’s not the biggest problem with underground Black music. The biggest challenge that this music faces is competing for venues and exposure (i.e. the lack of clubs and radio play). The majority of people exposed to this music and therefore buying this music are DJs, and there are fewer places for DJs to be DJs. And there are fewer parties that non-DJ’s seem to care about. This is a problem that can’t be overlooked. As far as the file-sharing problem is concerned, I believe that with sites like Traxsource popping up and making promos available for purchase that the sharing will eventually plateau and be formulated properly into business plans of record companies. Also, producers and labels are getting tighter and tighter with leaking out their own unreleased material.
.
What can we expect to hear from you in a near future?
.
I’m releasing my "Dark Days E.P." on Tyrone Solomon’s new label called 2Twenty very soon. I’m also launching a label in the near future as part of the Soulstream Networks (a great internet radio station I started in the last 2 years with partners Suges and Marco Marquez). I just did a remix for Shack Music (DJ Rocco – "Heartbeat") that should be coming out soon. 83 West has a tonne of remixes coming out on various labels (I believe the Dave Lee – "You’re not alone - 83west remix" is coming out very soon). And the Eminence Production Force has a great remix coming out on Plusgroove Records any day now called "Do With You".
.
PART II
.
What is your own favourite track, the one that you are most proud of?
.
4am in Mourning, Cultured Girl and Mars are my favourite, but all for different reasons.
.
And co-production?
.
Darrly D’Bonneau – The Spirit (83 West Remix)
.
Your favourite tracks of the moment?
.
Roy Ayres – Tarzan (Ame Remix)
Anything from Spinna’s Intergalactic album
.
Your favourite artists?
.
Deodato, Bob James, John Barry, Quentin Harris, Blaze, Spinna, Mood2Swing and many more.
.

If you had the opportunity, with whom would you like to work with?
.
Josh Milan, Peven Everett and Deodato… maybe all at once.
.
If we look in your cd player right now, what kind of music/artists we would see?
.
In my cars CD player you will always find Hiphop from the golden age (for me that’s 87-93), some aggressive drum n bass, the Elements of Life CD(1), disco classics, sound track music from various James Bond films, JDilla beat compilations, modern jazz, and of course there’s always various house mix sets of different styles.
.
---------------

Listen here some of his work:

Original Productions

sample1/sample2 > Mars [Iwanai Music]
sample1/sample2 > Higher Marxx [NYSoul Records]
sample1/sample2 > Do What Feels Right [WestEnd Records]
sample1/sample2 > Cultured Girl [Iwanai Music]

Co-Productions, Remixes & Session Work

sample > Stephanie Cooke - A New Day (83 West original mix)
sample > Suges & Martino pres. Eminence feat. Syreeta Neal - Slave to the Poison
sample > John Legend - Ordinary People (83 West remix)
sample > DJ Romain feat Darryl D'Bonneau - It's The Spirit (83 West remix)
sample1/sample2 > Darryl D' Bonneau - A Better Way (83 West Remixes)
sample1/sample2 > Franck Roger & O.P. feat. Chris W. - Me Myself & I (Jon Cutler Mixes)
sample1/sample2 > Faze Action pres. Orto feat. Vanessa F. - Waiting Is Over (83 West Mixes)

4 Comments:

  • At 10:04 am, Anonymous VOODOO-LOPEZ said…

    "Deodato, Bob James, John Barry, Quentin Harris, Blaze, Spinna, Mood2Swing and many more."....

    Martino has really big quallyty work!!

    EXCELENT..

    RESPECT!!

     
  • At 9:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great talent from Tdot.
    Keep em coming bro. We'll play it out loud.
    Love, respect and all the best in your journey .
    VL

     
  • At 12:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent inteview to what it seems to be an amazing, humble and gifted artist

    Congratulations Rogério and Martino

    Carlos Vargas

     
  • At 7:13 pm, Anonymous jeremy said…

    BIG RESPECT!! ;)

     

Post a Comment

<< Home