Dirtybird’s Christian Martin is hot off the stages at Coachella, Symbiosis and Detroit’s Movement Festival and unleashing his bass music alter-ego Leroy Peppers for Bangers & Mash at 222 Hyde this Thursday, June 7.
We spoke to the local DJ, producer and label founder on his one day back in San Francisco between the Symbiosis and Movement festivals.
Do you sometimes feel like you’re just traveling from one festival to the next?
That’s my goal. I like traveling a lot and don’t mind it. I realize about 75% of DJing is traveling and just getting to the spots.
How was Symbiosis Festival?
Besides the weather – it was a little hectic, pretty windy and dusty – it was so good, the soundsystems were crazy.
They haven’t done it since 2009, I think because they did it in Yosemite and had some problems with people getting busted for drugs and stuff, so they had to find a new spot and moved it to Pyramid Lake, NV. We did it on Indian land and it will be interesting to see how the tribe thinks it went.
Your Do Lab set at Coachella was one of the best of the weekend. How was that experience?
That was amazing as well, just to be invited to play in that. I didn’t really know what I was getting into since I had never gone to Coachella before. The stage was right in the middle of the grounds so it’s the spot you walk by when you’re going anywhere; it was a great built-in crowd.
It was kinda crappy the day before I played – raining and stuff. The next day it was sunny and beautiful so there were a lot of people ready to let loose.
Christian Martin Live at the Do Lab Stage, Coachella 2012
What about San Francisco makes it ideal for the music you make?
I think that it has a lot to do with the way we all got started. We wanted to do a party closer with how LA does it. Even after I moved up here we were going down there a lot. I was loving the whole outside party thing and we wanted to find a location that wasn’t 9 hours away.
Golden Gate Park’s obviously the best spot for that since it’s kind of wilderness but still in the city. I think being able to do parties outside was definitely the priority from the beginning.
When you first started Dirtybird did you see it becoming what it is today? What did you picture at first?
I actually didn’t have a plan. I wanted to have a soundsystem and figured there would be people who enjoyed music loud just like us. It was like Field of Dreams – “if you build it they will come” mentality. Not even trying to have big parties but trying to have parties, period.
I knew that it could be big because I come from being a Moontribe fan and that’s where I kinda cut my teeth with music. In ‘95 and ‘96 before Fox News got a hold of “do you know where your kids are?” reports, they were having 2 or 3,000 people at these dry lake beds in Southern California. I just wanted to do something that was close and people in San Francisco could appreciate and get to.
What are your thoughts on paying for music verses giving it away?
I feel like the price of music for the most part is so low that there isn’t really an excuse for stealing it.
The other side is that there is so much music coming out that it’s kind of necessary that you do something for free to get people to listen to your stuff. Whether it’s a mix or a bootleg or something like that, that’s a pretty powerful option to have, it’s so easy to network and get your stuff out there.
I feel like the economy of paying for music isn’t making people that much money, it’s more of a business card to be able to tour and get exposed that way as well.
What’s next for you besides the festivals?
I just had a remix come out on Rebel Hill Recordings, I’ve been working on original stuff under my Leroy Peppers alias and also working on a remix for my brother Justin [Martin]’s new album.
DustyFruit “Beloved” Christian Martin Remix
Just trying to keep pushing my sound, going for this 130-140 bpm tempo that subs bump in the car trunk or the club but you won’t get the same sound in laptop speakers. Definitely soundsystem style tracks, songs that really come alive on a giant system.
Bangers & Mash ft. Christian Martin aka Leroy Peppers & Sleazemore is Thursday, June 7 at 222 Hyde. More info.