The Martinez Brothers, an American DJ duo, are two of the most recognizable global stars in house, techno, and club culture. Introduced to disco and house by their father from a young age, they come from the roots of New York’s legacy club, The Paradise Garage. While producing a plethora of music, they also run their own music label, Cuttin’ Headz and Tuskegee with Seth Troxler. Since first hitting the road at ages 15 and 17, they have gone on to sell out some of the world’s largest venues, performing regularly in hotspots like Ibiza–quickly rising to become leaders within dance music’s new guard.
I see you already had quite the musical background at an early age. What was the definitive moment that made you interested in DJing?
Well it was really just out of curiosity, like fooling around with the computer. We weren’t really taking it seriously – just something to do beside playing ball. And then it got to the point where we really got into it, so we asked pops to get us a little set.
I know your father introduced you to House. Were you hanging out with anybody else or in any environment where there was a lot of this type of music?
Besides my house, not really. We started meeting other people later. But for the first two years that I was starting to DJ and stuff we didn’t really even know anybody. We were just in the crib – you know, playing, buying CDs, just learning.
That’s crazy to be able to be so into that music and yet be isolated from the community that fosters it.
Well the thing with us is that we were always into all types of music. So we were always listening to Jazz, Salsa… Even when we got into Jazz stuff – obviously there weren’t a lot of people in our school that were into Jazz. When we got into House, it was the same thing. It was just more music that not many people were into.
How often were you guys practicing before you started making mixes?
Hours a day, man. Hours, hours and hours. Like I’d come home from school at 3 o’clock and play till 10 o’clock. Eat dinner, go back, do my homework, go back. And even today, after I talk to you I’m going to play!
Some people who have put this event together in the past have been Carl Cox, Victor Calderone and, as you mentioned, Loco Dice. Have any of them had any contact with you as to how to approach the event? How to pace yourself?
These guys have taught us so much without even knowing it. We’ve been following Loco Dice since forever. He can tell you, when we were younger we’d be the two kids behind him just watching everything. They have all been teachers to us and we’ve learned so much about everything, taking it all in always.
You guys are also known for playing percussion and drums, bringing an organic sound into the process…
Yeah, we were in the studio with King Britt, doing loads of live stuff, like jazz, hypnotic type joints, it was crazy. We’re trying to do a bit of everything but we’ll see how it fits in the end.
It’s exciting that you have so many influences and styles that you can bring together…
Our background is in everything, it’s not just in house music. House music came later.
We love the fact that you’re working and have worked with some real legends and mentors of the scene…
Yeah man, and we have Louie Vega in our house right now! If you’d have told me that 10 years ago, that he’s going to be chilling in my crib, I wouldn’t have known what to tell you. It’s a dream come true literally, he’s a guy that I look up to, if it wasn’t for people like him we probably wouldn’t be sitting here now. So we’re super thankful for that. Especially this guy, I used to listen to all his mixes. It’s crazy.
How do you decide on the gigs that you’re going to do, because you’re obviously in demand and you’ve got a really nice reputation around you?
We always have little meetings beforehand, talk about gigs coming through and whether we want to do them, with our agents or whatever. At this point we just want to do dope parties, play gigs that we know we’re going to have fun with and that are going to be inspiring. There’s nothing worse than going to a gig and being miserable. So for the most part we just want to play fun gigs and play cool parties.
How do you fit your DJing in with producing and making music? Are you good at working on the hop?
I’m not really as much, my brother is a little bit better. I wouldn’t say it’s our strong suit, working on the road.”
Chris: “It depends on what equipment you have and what headphones you have. Sometimes the headphones can be a bit irritating when you’re working on the road. There’s a lot of different factors. There’s a few gadgets that are coming out, Roland and stuff like that. They’re going to make it really easy to produce on the road. Watch out for the 909!