It took several weeks and a lot of organising to set this interview up. One thing I learnt before even talking to them? It’s damn hard to get hold of the Martinez Brothers. And the reason why? Because Steve and Chris don’t stop working. Between a continuous tour schedule that sees them flying across the globe on a daily basis, co-heading their label Tuskegee with friend and collaborator Seth Troxler – as well as running their own label, Cuttin’ Headz – and working on their next album, the brothers from the Bronx don’t do things by halves.
Armed with a genre-hopping library of music references, the DJs and producers bring energy to everything they do, and it seems hard work pays off. From when they arrived on the electronic music scene as teenagers at their dad’s specially-held parties, through to their years-long reign in Ibiza and beyond, the guys have continually been on the rise since they first cropped up almost ten years ago. Having recently caught them at their Ibiza temple – renowned club DC10 – we can confirm that they’re just as in love with music as they were back when they started, and it’s this passion which is partly the key to their success. The rest is down to a powerful mix of energetic sets, their vibrant house and tech house production work, and their infectious personalities.
With no signs of slowing down, their latest single ‘Stuff In The Trunk’ featuring Miss Kittin is already making waves as they hint at more to come. Together with a whole host of tour dates around the world over the next few months, it’s safe to say the Martinez Brothers are set for one hell of a summer. We stole some of their downtime to find out more about where it all began and where they’re going next…
IDOL: How did you get into music?
The Martinez Brothers: Basically we’ve been into music since the very beginning… of time [laughs]. Since we can remember, since we were kids we’ve been playing instruments. We were brought up in church so we were always in the band and it started from there. From that it just became a progression to DJing. Our dad, back in the day he showed us a lot of disco music and salsa music, all types of stuff. He really [opened us up to] the house and disco stuff, and it just progressed from there. We just started really studying and practicing, and it’s blessing.
IDOL: When did you notice a shift from being amateurs to serious contenders in music? Or do you still think you’re learning?
MB: No matter what, you learn every day, you know what I’m saying? Whether you’re just starting or whether you’ve been at it for ten years – no matter what you’re always going to learn. You’re always going to be an amateur in some sense. But honestly we felt the shift after we started getting involved with DC10. I mean, you’ve got times before that but that’s when things started really coming together and making a lot more sense… The path [started] becoming way more clear.
IDOL: You guys started out when you were pretty young. Did you find it hard to be taken seriously?
MB: Yeah, in the beginning it was really hard because people look at you like you’re a gimmick, you’re this, you’re that… I get it, a few kids DJing – it could be gimmicky. But we just loved the music and we just always wanted to play no matter what. We tried our best to lock the dancefloor no matter how old we were, we just tried to put that behind us.
Could you ever imagine working in anything else?
MB: It was always in our heads that’s what we wanted to do. It’s just kind of how it works, whatever you put your mind to, whatever you’re talking and thinking about – that’s what we were thinking about all the time. DJing and basically just life, you know what I mean? Dreams come true. It’s not really a surprise because we’ve been working for it for a long time, but it is kind of amazing that everything we’ve wanted has come to life.
IDOL: Do your styles differ from one another?
Steve: My brother’s style is copying my style!
Chris: [Laughs] Yeah I’m more a copier of Steve…
IDOL: You guys are always on the move. Do you manage to keep a sense of normality?
Steve: What is normality?
Chris: Normality is…
Chris: Yeah it’s relative, but it’s not always here. It’s mostly not normal. It could be normal on holidays sometimes, and maybe when we take off. But we rarely ever take off – we’re touring year round.
IDOL: Do you ever get so exhausted that you wonder if it’s all worth it?
MB: The only whack part is the travelling aspect, obviously, but we love what we do. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, you know what I’m saying? It can be difficult sometimes, not being with family, not being at home and stuff like that. But we’ve been doing it since we were kids so we’ve kind of adjusted to this lifestyle.
IDOL: Proudest or most memorable moment?
MB: Our first gig was memorable, so hanging out at Club Shelter, at the legendary Club Shelter. That’s the first club we ever played at, so that was a great moment for sure.
IDOL: How did the Givenchy collaboration start?
MB: Basically Riccardo came to Ibiza and we met him at DC10. So we met him there, he sees us playing, we’re actually rocking Givenchy at the time… So we connected at DC10 basically and it went from there.
IDOL: Is DC10 your home there?
MB: Oh absolutely, we’ve been playing there for like the past five years. Ever since we came on the island that’s always been the place that we’ve been hired to play at, so it’s a blessing to have a residency there.
Have you got any other favourite venues or places around the world where you love to play?
MB: Oh yeah, Berlin is dope – Berghain obviously. Fabric in London is crazy, Timewarp in Mannheim, Warung in Brazil… Yeah there’s a lot of crazy stuff out there.
IDOL: What have you got coming up next? Any releases?
MB: Yeah we’re actually working on our album right now. And just expect another single coming out soon.
IDOL: What influences have you got going on right now? Anyone you’re feeling particularly?
MB: A whole lot of jazz, honestly – the jazz keeps going on. Yeah, so a whole lot of Bob Vega, Wayne Shorter… There’s a big jazz kick on the album.
IDOL: Finally, who would your dream collaboration be with?
MB: MadLib the bad kid, all day! Madlib is the best, seriously, Madlib all day. That’d be our dream. Let’s get Madlib in the studio, that’d be next level.