As a DJ, Nick Martin has been around the last six years and has been a local hero for many underground House/Tech House clubs under a different alias. Now, with is his brand-new, real-name alias, after being in the studio for many months, as well as DJing along superstar producers the likes of David Guetta, Alesso, Avicii, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Hardwell and Nervo this summer, he is ready to release a slew of hot, original tracks. Keep your ears and eyes open, as Nick Martin is here to take the EDM scene by force.
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Sean Ritchie: I want to touch on your home country, Greece, to start this off. Touch on the people and overall atmosphere of the country. Where would you tell a first-time visitor to go to get a true feel of the land?
Nick Martin: Greece is very famous for its amazing summer, so if I had to choose a time of the year [to come] July and August would be it. We have the world famous Mykanos Islands — diverse crowds go there. At any given moment during the summer we have 200-thousand visitors there. Our big clubs where all the deejay’s play are located there — from the most luxurious beach club to the nicest sunset bar.
If you go on a fall or spring trip, I would say you must visit the center around the Acropolis, which is called Plaka — very beautiful. The Parthenon, which was built 500 B.C., and the whole area below there is beautiful. If you want to go a little bit more upscale you should go to Syntagma Square, it’s our Union Square. Around that vicinity is a high-end district called Kolonaki, where all the [5-star] bars, restaurants and boutiques are. It’s also a little bit residential.
All-in-all it’s a very populated city with five-million people, but in general the Greek mentality is very hospitable. We’re very proud of being one of the most unique places in the world for summer travelers. There are many, many islands [to visit]. Obviously, Santorini is a very famous one, with over 1.2-million travelers a year. It’s almost more of a year-round destination.
SR: Sounds spectacular. For me personally, Greece is high up on my list of destinations I have to hit. I’ve never been, and you just sold me a little bit harder on it. Now, what initially peak your interest in music? How did that interest evolve over time to where you are performing professionally today?
NM: Yes, it’s a very fun place. My childhood dream was to be a musician. I was a drummer and I had my high school band. I had a fallout with them, because I didn’t think we were playing very good stuff and house music was becoming popular in the middle of the 90’s. Around that time I purchased my first Technics set, and I started scratching some vinyl’s here and there. Before I knew it, I was the DJ of my high school and I was going to all my friend’s parties — deejaying everywhere. I fell in love with this scene. I would go to the Ministry of Sound and thought that it was the biggest day of my life. I was really hooked.
Then, I went to university in Boston in 2000, and after a couple years of being there I tried to deejay in clubs, but it was competitive. So, I started focusing on college and faded out at deejaying at that time. In 2004, when I came to Greece, I took on my day business, which I still do running a very large industrial company. I’m the CEO. At the same time, in 2011 before I was CEO, I started deejaying again, because some of my old friends opened some bars.
So, I bought some new music and had my CDJ’s. I was confused and a little bit nervous, there [would be] about 1,500 people, and after a while it became a weekly occurrence and the crowd was becoming bigger and bigger. I had the advantage, because I was playing new music off Beatport like Jaime Jones and Marco Carola, unlike the other deejay’s playing the classics.
[Around] 2012-2013 I started producing and thinking about my alias. I needed to be somebody. Before I knew it I was Investo, which was my previous alias, a silly name really that we came up with. I was trying to release some music to the big labels — Armada and all of that — but, I was more-or-less the same as everyone else. I was always a better [live] deejay though. Deejay skill is really important. You have deejays like A-Track and Laidback Luke — super skilled. I considered myself to be in that niche, but even that didn’t make it for me. I needed to make some amazing music. In 2017, I’m at a place where I have about 20 [original] songs — not just EDM either. Now, hopefully one will be a global hit and I can play where I want.
SR: Wow, it’s crazy how everything played out like that — college and starting a company with deejaying in between.
NM: Yes, and one of the craziest things for me now is how inspired you are on the road. When you’re on the road it’s inevitable. You will forget your friends and you can’t connect really with your family, you’re in a constant go, go, go mode. In that mode, your friend who’s on his couch watching soccer, [is on a totally different wave length]. There’s just so much energy from the shows that when I go back to my hotel room, I’m so inspired that I have top-line ideas — scratches or even voice memos on my phone. The energy is fantastic.
SR: To fast forward a bit, touching on your new song that just dropped “Shackles”. Talk about that song and your inspiration behind it. How do you believe it came out and has been received so far?
NM: The girl singing on this song was one of the writers. I was going into the writing sessions with a lot of instrumental tracks, trying to write top lines. But, it was constricting the writers. These writers don’t [necessarily] think EDM, they think music. They think about cool lyrics. So, we were putting small loops together, and I’m used to doing things around 120-128 BPM, but I said forget it, let’s do something mellow and radio, something my mom would buy.
We then went down to that 85 BPM range, which is a very weird range. It’s a tough area for deejays to play. I don’t believe that I will be getting support from them, but it has been very well received. Armada immediately responded to my e-mail. I’ve never seen something like it. They thought it was so cool that we made a song that had an amazing verse, with a very good lyric, and the song comes to a place where there’s really no “drop”. I think it’s something completely fresh and new.
SR: Love it! One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, and there’s a lot of parallels in that sense with music. It’s all about bringing people together. Touch on how special and important that is in your eyes.
NM: When I started going to festivals I thought about how exciting it was having a couple thousand people in one space — the Woodstock vibe from the 70’s. On the other hand, with the romantic side, there’s also the other side of people struggling to be deejays. There are sometimes these mixed emotions in the room. But, when the main act comes on stage, everybody stops and the electricity is so intense. It doesn’t matter what country you are from. It’s like you have super powers. I can’t describe it. It’s a chemistry sometimes. You can hear the same deejay two days in a row and have a completely different reaction of the crowd.
I think there is definitely a cultural [factor] with where the show will be. I can tell you that if you go to Green Valley in Brazil for instance, it’s in the middle of nowhere in the jungle. Clearly not everyone is Brazilian, but people are there to come together for music. The vibe is simply, “Wow!” Ultra [Music Festival] in Miami — same thing. Another very special place is Creamfields in Manchester. On this tour with The Chainsmokers we went to Vienna, a city that’s so sterile and everything is perfect, those kids went and let it all out. That feeling was insane. I was the opening deejay and when I walked out and played my first track the roar was insane. I think though that different places definitely have different vibes.
SR: I couldn’t agree more. Some of my best memories have been on the festival or club floors. The peace that’s commonly shared is what stands out to me. Everyone gets along and is coexisting. It’s a really cool thing to see. So, back to travel, I know you’ve been all over the world, but what three countries that you haven’t been to and why do you want to go there?
NM: Funny enough, I haven’t been to Australia yet. Just in sheer size and stories that I’ve heard, I’m really, really looking forward to going there. I haven’t been to India yet, which I think has an insane electronic music scene. I also think that the textiles and urban art would be interesting to see there. Finally, I think that Cape Town, [South Africa] is a magical place. I think that it will bring a Greece-feel into my scenery. Otherwise, I’ve pretty much been in every country you could imagine. I haven’t been to New Zealand either though. I think that would be an amazing place, even though all the Australians that I know look down on it. French Polynesia as well, but I’m not that type of Maldives-sit-on-the-beach guy. I like to explore.
SR: Lastly to wrap this up, what’s next up on the slate in the next couple of months?
NM: I think for the next two months I will be in the studio. I have my label and I want to put two more tracks out before June. It’s up to them, but I’m going to push insanely hard, because they are insanely good — better than “Shackles”. I need that music out there, because you never know what sticks. At the end of May, beginning of June I will look to start my shows, but I’m very selective only doing some 40 shows a year. I’m really focusing on being at the studio producing. I will play only big festivals and clubs. I will only support huge deejays, otherwise I will headline. During the summer I will try to hang [in Greece] mostly though.