Doc Martin - How I DJ
San Francisco, California resident Doc Martin (Sublevel) has earned the respect of many who are fanatic about his style of DJing. His style crosses over from all timeless genres providing his listeners a new outlook & ever growing futuristic, unique sound. Through his illustrious DJ career, Doc has toured various places around the world like LA, London, Amsterdam, New York, Tel Aviv, Ibiza, Hong Kong, Berlin & Paris along with playing along side the likes of Basement Jaxx, James Brown, Grace Jones, Inner City and about anyone else you can think of.
On the production front, Doc has had various releases, remixes & mix compilations on many respectable labels through out his career. Defected, Ovum Recordings, NRK Sound Division, 1trax, CR2, Nite Grooves, Shaboom Records, Tango Recordings & Siesta Music are just a small sample & he also puts beats out through his own imprint Sublevel Records.
Just Us Remixes available now on Traxsource.
Are you more of a DJ or Producer — or one in the same?
I’m a DJ who’s made a lot of records. I have passion for both. I will continue to do both till the passion runs out.
Describe what makes a good DJ in a few words.
Someone who puts their personality into the music they play. Of course all the generic answers Programming, Reading a crowd, mixing. To me all the DJ’s I like, sound like no one else.
Who or what inspired you to become a DJ?
This is a hard question. When I started DJing there weren’t many people playing House, Sleaze, Garage, or Acid House on the West Coast. The DJ’s from the original DNA Lounge for showing me the many sides to Music, Blackstone for the power of the mix, and my boy in New York for sending me those early Tony Humphries mix tapes from WBLS.
When did you know you wanted to DJ/Produce?
I was a DJ for my High School radio Station at Lincoln High in SF. I was DJing mod parties playing Reggae ,Ska, Motown also in the early 80’s. I promoted my first show with this band called Green Day, Before I was old enough to get into the club.I was in a Ska band called The Legsmen, With Joshua (IZ) on the keyboards. We got to open for this new band called No Doubt at that time. I tried it once, and loved the instant connection that you had with the crowd. So I would bring my Casio FZ1 with all my samples loaded and play over dubs, and other records. I was completely hooked!!!
Who to you is/was “The Dj’s DJ”.
When I started in SF, We would support each other. Go to each others gigs, and vibe off each other .People who pop into my mind are DJ Sneak, Andrew Weatherall, Marques Wyatt, Three The Wicked crew, Craig Richards, Ricardo Villalobos, Derick, Mark, Melon, D’Julz and hundreds of others. Basically, DJ’s who have their own personality, and have something to say behind the decks.
Describe your main and preferred DJ set-up.
I have at home 3 Technics 1200’s, 2 Nexus CDJ’s, a Rane 2016, a Richard Long Crossover, and a Pioneer 1000 EFX.
Do you use a laptop? If so, what platform/program?
No laptop for me. I still play records, Memory sticks, CD’s. Now that I’m going to Europe more again, I spend a lot of time in the record stores. I’ve always been that one guy who will dig for hours to get that one jam, that sends the dancefloor into orbit. Whether I’m online or in the record shops I will Dig for my cuts!!!
Any DJ Controllers?
UH no, see above : )
Any special, unique, crazy things on your rider?
Not anything to crazy. Just a proper setup.
Beverage of choice while playing?
Water/Diet Red Bull.
Favourite country/club/city to play?
That’s just not fair. Trouw (Amsterdam), DC10 (Ibiza), Panorama Bar (Berlin), Rex (Paris), USA (Sublevel/Output/Public Works/Mighty/Monarch/Flash/ECT), London (Fabric), Munich (Bob Beaman), Croatia (Garden, and Electric elephant festivals) Iseral (The Block), Japan (Too many to name), and on and on.
Do you Sync? What’s your view on this?
No I don’t sync. I’ve tried RekordBox, and it’s fun to play with but for me it’s a little to stiff.
Read the crowd or just pound it out?
Reading the crowd has always been a big one to me. Knowing when to unleash,and when to hold back is a science in itself. I like to find what I call anytime tracks. Songs that can be played at anytime depending on how you play them. Yes you can play the same song many different ways.
Big festivals or intimate clubs? Why?
I love both!!! Big festivals are always fun especially when the organizers get it right, and book you with the right people. Intimate clubs are always welcome. You can pull off some amazing vibes when you ‘re that close to the crowd.
Ever miss the vinyl days?
No, because I never stopped. There is something to be said for someone to show up with a box of records, and to get the party moving.I use both records and digital.
How do you maintain your music library?
Organized chaos for the records. I have them by Label, Style, and Era. Digital by Style, Era, Producers, and City/Country.
WAV or MP3 while DJing — WHY? Is there a difference?
Of course I prefer WAV for sound quality. Mp3’s have a certain grit, which is good too.
How do you combat the “Everyone is a DJ” mentality?
That doesn’t bother me too much. What does, is when I see people out there who don’t put an ounce of love into what they do. They are worried about everything else but the music.
Any Tips for aspiring DJs/Producers?
Just be true to yourself. If you like a few styles of music, Then let that project into your music. Stay humble is probably the best advice I can give. Most of all enjoy every moment of it!!!!