The Martinez Brothers
Chris and Steve Martinez were both still teenagers when they first seized the attention of the house music scene. And while their age may still be a sticking point for the lazier observers out there (for the record, Chris is now 21, Steve 25), they’ve long since established themselves beyond their headline grabbing backstory. You see, the Martinez Brothers are now a fully-fledged force, enjoying one of the busiest touring schedules on the international circuit, while developing their striking brand of club-ready house music.
The Martinez Brothers’ tale may read like the archetypal dance music biography, but you simply don’t attain the levels they’ve achieved without starting early. Chris and Steve’s father was hugely influential in this regard. The pair both played a variety of instruments growing up – keyboards, bass, drums, percussion – and performed in bands in and around the Bronx. Salsa, Latin, jazz, African music and hip-hop were all staples of their diet, although it took their father’s guidance to turn them on to the genre within which they are now world renowned. Through his intimate knowledge of disco, accrued as a regular at legendary New York nightspots like Paradise Garage, Stevie Sr. began to introduce the boys to the roots of the genre and, of course, its offspring: house music.
In 2006 a single night in New York City helped sow the seeds for The Martinez Brothers ascent. The pair were invited by Dennis Ferrer to play at one of the city’s longest serving and foremost venues, Shelter. Not only did they smash the party, they got to hear a DJing hero in Timmy Regisford, who played a rough version of their breakthrough track “My Rendition.” You get the sense that TMB would have found their way to stardom in one way or another. But since that fateful night they’ve gone on to play some the planet’s leading clubs – Watergate, Ministry of Sound, Cielo, Pacha, Sankeys, Spy Bar, Air, Trouw, Cavo Paradiso, Fabrik, Space Ibiza, and more recently, a triumphant debut at Circoloco at DC10 in Ibiza with followup dates with Circo Loco happening in various markets over the coming months. One of the keys to this type of wide-ranging appeal is that TMB are as comfortable playing eclectic, underground sets with the Wolf & Lamb/Soul Clap posse – as recently demonstrated during their 14-hour Kater Holzig session in Berlin – as with bigger room environments – their set with Loco Dice at his Desolat Zurich Street Carnival event being a prime example. Their purview was further broadened during summer 2011, as TMB spent their first full season in Ibiza, soaking up the vibes and playing across the island.
“My Rendition” saw release through Dennis Ferrer’s Objektivity imprint in 2007, as the boys set about furthering their education in dance music production. Its follow-up arrived in 2009 – by which time Chris and Steve were seasoned international DJs – in the form of Debbie Downer / Where’s Mr. Brown?, a collaboration with another precocious talent, Greek producer Argy. Astute vocal manipulation and incessant chords drove the A-side to a position among that year’s biggest releases.
Subsequent TMB 12-inches have shown that the boys’ time spent with their heads in the history books of NYC house has paid dividends. Don’t No Yet and The Causeway/Issshhh!, released through Objektivity in 2010 and 2011 respectively, both showed an acute comprehension of the drum programming and rhythmic flourishes that pervaded the repertoires of the city’s house music greats. “As producers we just plan to make more music for people to enjoy and to dance to” say the boys in summary. “We don’t really have a sound, and we pride ourselves in that every one of our records sounds different from the next – and we definitely want to keep it that way and keep it interesting. Whether it’s more tech style records, deeper records or housey records, there really are no rules with us, so you can expect anything!”