This week we go into the studio with the Objektivity duo.
What's like living on the island for the summer? We hang out with The Martinez Brothers to find out. Also in this week's column: Carnival at Sankeys, Pacha's in-house designer and the week in pictures. For more White Isle coverage, head over to our comprehensive Ibiza microsite.
Hanging with The Martinez Brothers
"Last year we were supposed to have a residency in Ushuaia, but it was cancelled about two weeks before the opening. It was a blessing in disguise, because if it wasn't for that cancellation, we probably wouldn't have gotten any gigs at DC-10," explains Chris Martinez. "After the cancellation of Ushuaia, we decided to stay in Ibiza anyway, and got one gig at DC for an opening slot. Everyone enjoyed it and we played two more times that summer. We got offered to be residents for the following season. It was a no brainer that we had to do it."
A no brainer, indeed. And, over the course of this season, The Martinez Brothers have been making waves. Johannes Goller from Cocoon recently told me that they "blew the roof off" when they played at Amnesia, and they were recently guests at Richie Hawtin's ENTER. night a few weeks ago. Alongside their residency at DC-10, it's fair to say that this summer is a big one for the Objektivity duo.
It's last Thursday. We're visiting the brothers in a secluded studio they've recently rented for a short time in San Miguel. But upon arrival, only Steve is around. He stumbles out of the studio at around 7:30 PM looking visibly tired, only having the strength to give a quick "hey" before plopping down next to us on the couch.
"Chris still sleeping?" a friend asks. "Yeah, he's back there on a pillow like this," Steve says, imitating his brother, head cocked back and mouth wide open, which elicits a chuckle from everyone.
There's a good reason for the exhaustion. Since arriving in the studio at 4 PM on Tuesday, the brothers have been making music basically non-stop. After setting up for a few hours, the brothers worked until 1 on Wednesday afternoon, only stopping to head to DJ Sneak's BBQ, which apparently was as plentiful as it was delicious ("like 70 wings!"), then to ViVA Warriors at Sankeys, heading home by 11 AM on Thursday for more studio time. It was just a few hours later when we arrived, and though Chris had finally succumb to sleep, Steve was determined to recapture a beat he had lost after the computer he was working on crashed.
"Man, it was just an idea, but it was hot," Steve said, clearly disappointed, quickly leaving us to head back in for another try.
"Always control S," friend Filsonik said, imitating the key command for "save" with his hands. "He needs to remember, control S, control S, control S."
The studio where we would be spending the evening sits next to a large white house in the hills of San Miguel. Surrounded by trees and open land, complete with a small tomato garden in back, finding the place is no easy task. "Even people who've lived here their whole lives wouldn't be able to find it unless I drove them here," remarks the studio's sound tech, Stefano.
After a 15 minute drive up from San Miguel bay, we hit several winding roads, each more narrow than the last, until a dirt road brought us to a clearing on top of a hill where to our right a colorful, one story building appeared. Normally used for psy-trance parties and producers, SFS Studios is littered with brightly colored, ornate decorations, designs and artwork. There are underwater scuba-art photos, Japanese pinball machines and psychedelic paintings on every wall.
Inside the living room sits two large, very comfortable couches connected at the corner, while on the right wall there's a massive DJ booth, with several large club monitors hanging from the ceiling so artists can hear their recent creations in a club-like environment. "They can even have friends up for a bit of a party to hear their stuff, to make it as real as possible," Stefano tells me.
Eventually Chris made his way out to the living room from the studio, obviously refreshed from his sleep.
"What do you guys think about some food? I'm starving."
We agreed, and as the sun went down, we get to talking about what really matters while living on the island: Pizza.
"Look, I'm a Dolce Vita fan for life. It's very respectable," Steve says, talking about the restaurant I had previously mentioned as quite possibly having the best pizza on the island.
"We used to eat there all the time. Then we went to this other place in Ibiza Town, Peperocino, and man, this was on another level."
"It's cleaner, fresher," Chris says.
"You could tell they used real mozzarella, and there's something about the way they make their sauce..." Fil comments. But he's soon cut off when it's brought to our attention that Fil hates sauce, especially mayonnaise.
"Yo, he eats his sandwiches dry! Can you believe that?" someone yells.
"How do you live like that?" I asked.
"I just hate mayonnaise, that's all," Fil shoots back. "I don't like my food all wet. That's you guys!"
"No, he likes his shit dry, dry food, no sauce, especially no white sauce!" The whole room erupts in laughter.
"How do you guys like living on the island this summer?"
"Well we lived here last year too, so we've learned from that. It's just crazy how quickly time goes by. It's already August 22nd, but it feels like we got here yesterday," Chris says. "But there's so much inspiration here. We're constantly surrounded by all the best music. You just have to pace yourself."
"What's crazy is playing here. People told us before we came here that you'd hear screams before the drop, and we were like, 'what?' But then you see it. People just randomly screaming in the middle of the track," Steve says, while imitating a wild club-goer running in circles screaming with joy. "The first time you see it, you're like 'what the…?' It really trips you out. It's like nowhere else."
About an hour later Ugo arrives with the food—several take out tins filled with meatballs, tortilla, roast chicken, chicken wings, potatoes, cuttlefish, and octopus. It's a veritable feast, but there's just one thing missing.
"Where are the forks?" Chris asks.
"Um, yeah, I don't know," Ugo answers. "The owners of the house are out to dinner, so we can't get into the house, so no forks."
Looking around, we finally just go for it and dig into the meatballs barehanded, as the conversation continues.
"So what are you guys up here working on?" I asked.
"Well, we were working on a remix for Subb-an's label, which we got a ton done on—really productive. But since then edits, some hip-hop," explains Chris.
"Last season we had a bit too much fun, we got sidetracked," Steve adds. "This year we've taken it lighter, and since then we've been super productive. I mean, it's the only time we've been in the studio all season, so it's hard to find time, but it's been really productive here... You guys ready to hear some shit?"
We make our way out of the living room to the last room in the hallway. Fil crashes down on a giant pillow as the brothers take to their seats in front of the equipment, and I settle in behind them.
"So this is still a rough edit," one of them mentions as they fire up Cubase. They immediately crank the studio monitors up, releasing a heavy, low-slung kick-tom combo with distant, sexy vocals weaving in and out—our heads bobbing in unison. The track is at a steady 125 BPM, though as it builds up, I swear it picks up BPM too. When I ask about this later, they tell me that it was simply the drums picking up the pace, an effect they'd planned. Shaking my head in disbelief, all I can say is that it's "crazy man, just crazy." They laugh: "Hell yeah! That's what we want to hear!"
From there they show us several hip-hop beats they've been working on. "We really want to make a lot more hip-hop, under an alias, of course." Chris uses a MIDI controller to work a VST drum machine, banging out rhythms, trying different combos as his brother offers advice. Sometimes they look at each other and hum the melody, miming the keyboard with their hands while the loop cycles, working things out in a way only two best friends or, in this case, brothers can.
Finally we head back into the living room to hear some of their unreleased tracks on the big system. "What's funny about this track," Fil tells me as Steve gets behind the decks, "is that it's over a year old. It's the one from the Blackberry commercial. But no one wanted it. So we just sat on it. I feel like people get the tracks more than ever right now. Timing of a record means everything."
I mention to Fil how different all these tracks are, yet how solid they all sound. They don't seem to just dabble in one genre or another, attempting to capitalize on what's in the moment, forever chasing "now." Instead, they seem to have a deep understanding of the many styles they gravitate towards, but seem to also grasp the history behind these movements, something astonishing for their young age.
"Chris grew up playing drums, learned naturally, and they both play the piano," Fil says, obviously as impressed by his friends as I was. "But we don't want to make stuff that's just cool now. We want to make party records, records that always sound fun and pop a party off for years to come."
With that mentality—and their obvious joy in what they do both in and out of the studio—the brothers will very likely do just that. For now, though, it's back to the studio. They've only got it for a while longer, so the island can wait. Even if—this summer especially—it seems like it can't get enough of them.
Carnival at Sankeys
Carnival, the Saturday night party at Sankeys draws heavily on the after-Zoo crowd, which finishes up around midnight, and has combined top-notch lineups with the unpretentious appeal of Sankeys to keep the party raging until dawn throughout the entire summer.
By the time we arrived last week, Shonky had already finished his early set in The Basement. Next up was DJ Sneak, who absolutely lit place on fire. Clubbers were literally climbing over each other to get a better view of the House Gangster as he played tracks like Gel Abril & Andrea Oliva's "Scene," keeping their hands high and smiles wide throughout. I've rarely seen raw, unabashed energy like it so far this season.
MK followed Sneak, and kept The Basement rocking until close with tracks like his remix of Lauren Flax's "You've Changed" and Pirupa's "Party Non Stop," which has cemented its place as one of the biggest tracks of the year—if not the biggest.
Over in The Box things were just as rocking, with Adam Shelton eliciting a sit down near the end of his set, something I was able to get an impressive eagle-eye view from The Boutique. After taking it all in, I felt that this particular night was a special one, but I heard from more than one source that it was pretty average vibe-wise. If that's the case, it's a safe bet that this Saturday night extravaganza could become an institution for many seasons to come.
Behind the scenes...
We spend plenty of time talking about the superstar DJs on the island, but what about the heroes that make sure everything is running smoothly? In this irregular feature in RA Ibiza Weekly, we'll take a look at some of these integral cogs in the White Isle machine. This week we spoke with Pacha's head graphic designer Salim Lamrani.
Can you tell me what you do here on the island and how long you've been working for Pacha?
I have been working for Pacha for the past two-and-a-half years. Before that I studied graphic design and communication in Amsterdam while doing freelance design work on the side. Here on the island, I am responsible for the Pacha's franchises in terms of graphic design, as well as the Pacha brand. That means that I make sure that the brand is well represented in every part of the world. I also make the artwork for all our world tour parties. On a daily basis that translates into checking and correcting (if needed) the artwork of the designers that work for each individual franchise, designing and giving shape to new concepts, doing photo shoots for new campaigns and more.
What first got you into design?
Ever since I was young I loved to draw and look at art and design…. What I love about design is that you can alter the reality. It allows you to break down language barriers and be understood by all, and create things that can invoke a certain feeling depending on the purpose.
What are the favorite parts of your job?
The interaction with people from all parts of the world and all walks of life. That goes for my job and for Ibiza in general. Creating new things and being creative on a daily basis for arguably the strongest and best club brand in the world. At the end of a stressful day I can sit back and honestly say I love what I do—creating, thinking, and problem solving… making the world a better looking place!
What's the craziest thing you've seen in your line of work?
Well it's not really crazy, but I am still baffled by the amount of horrible designers that get heaps of work. People that clearly have no proper understanding of the craft but keep getting work thrown to them by clients whose choice is largely based on how much it is going to cost them. Most clients already think they have a clear idea on how it needs to look, and when the "designer" comes close to that, they are happy. They often settle for "good enough" while they should amazed by how you have brought their idea to something that they could have never done themselves. When you design for commercial purposes, you should not just focus on making something pretty, but on a concept that is clear and works from A to Z.
The week in pictures
Roska Roska Roska in Ibiza Ibiza Ibiza
We Love... at Space
Girls night out at We Love...: Miss Kittin, Robyn and Dita Von Teese
Cadenza Vagabundos at Pacha
The Analogue Cops brought their raw, hardware-driven sound to Pacha this past Sunday.
Circoloco at DC-10
D'Julz stands stoic behind the controls at the popular Monday night...
Cocoon at Amnesia
...which stood in stark contrast to Richie Hawtin's triumphant pose at Amnesia.