Christian Martin doesn't care if he's playing poolside, at a barbecue, or in a club, as long as the sound is bone-crushingly loud.
"What I love the most about playing music for people is playing it on large sound systems," the San Francisco DJ and producer says. "Where I'm coming from is I loved going out and dancing. Originally I was going out to full moon desert parties in college. That's how I got into electronic music to start. The music is almost a physical force."
If Martin's last name, home city and occupation sound familiar that could be because his brother Justin recently stopped in Whistler for a show at the GLC in February. Both brothers are part of the Dirtybird Records crew, a techno-funk label that has gained acclaim in the bay area, in part, for their annual DJ barbecues in the summer.
For Christian, his younger brother played a big role in his jump from music fan to music maker after he moved to San Francisco in 2000. "He was passionate about (DJing) even when he was in high school," Martin says of his sibling. "He gave me his old records and it helped me start beat mashing. The biggest step was in 2003. I bought a sound system and we started doing barbecues in Golden Gate Park. I just wanted to have control over the whole process and getting gigs."
It was at those events where he began to build his skills. The crew rotated opening, mid-afternoon and headlining slots so they would learn how to play for the crowd in each scenario. "I feel really lucky to have come up with that crew that was inherently so tight," Martin says. "We avoided the whole ego thing. We just wanted to throw a good party for our friends."
In the last decade Martin has continued to tweak his set and book more gigs, touring both with Dirtybird pals and other DJs — including his current tourmates Calgary's Smalltown DJs. The trio is on a short Western Canada tour that stops in Whistler on April 5. "I've been pleasantly surprised with how our dynamic has worked with the Smalltown guys," he says. "It definitely feels like a collaboration (more) than a few guys in a club. I would say there's definitely a party-rock vibe to them... I try to keep the same thing going, but I play a little more of the techno-house side. It meshes really well together because I have some vocal hip hop tracks up my sleeve as well."
Mountain towns like Fernie and Revelstoke have been "incredible," he adds. The upcoming gig will be his first time up to Whistler, but the town's reputation precedes it. "It's always been on my radar as a place to hit," he says. "I've always loved snowboarding and I was a skier before that. From the description of how people talk about it, it's just like this force. I'm excited to not only get on the mountain, but everyone is saying Whistler's a crazy party town."
More party towns are in Martin's future with his summer calendar quickly filling up with festival dates around the world. "I've been playing a lot in the last year," he says. "I love to travel and I don't mind that whole aspect of it. I'm really happy when I'm on the road. I love visiting new cities and meeting new people."
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