Though he's a new face compared to some of Bristol's famed artists, Jacob Martin's music is the epitome of the city's adventurous dance music scene. His early work as Hodge helped shape Bristol's post-dubstep mutations, and the city's penchant for bass and genre experimentation is there throughout all the twists and turns of his discography. He makes techno infused with the bass weight of the dubstep days, a sound that's as suited to Tempa as it is Livity Sound. He's the type of producer who puts out dark and banging techno on Berceuse Heroique, before delivering a glittering, mostly ambient record for No Corner a few months later. Martin is a chameleon, but he retains a signature handling of bass and melody. Each of his records are quite different, but all are essential listening.
Martin's RA podcast showcases his city's scene, featuring his own work along with current or former Bristol artists like Kowton, Pev, Shanti Celeste and Batu. It features plenty of techno, but these tracks are rarely straightforward—we get the breakbeats of Tessela, Martin's pummelling remix of Perc, and the breaks assault of "All My Love," his collaboration with Peder Mannerfelt. There are also tracks from the Hessle Audio axis, which makes sense: over time Martin has proven himself capable of the kind of genre alchemy perfected by artists like Pearson Sound and Pangaea, a rare category of producer that Martin now fully belongs to.
What have you been up to recently?
I have been having a really fun summer. I just released a new 12-inch on Livity Sound, and a few weeks ago I went over to China, Singapore and Australia for some shows, which were absolutely great. After that I came back to Europe for Glastonbury and played at Block9 and then Love International. It's been an amazing month or so. (Plus, my mum and dad came to Glastonbury, which was the best.)
How and where was the mix recorded?
Recorded in my front room on two CDJs and two 1210s into Ableton.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I was kinda stressed at the thought of recording a mix for RA. I built it up in my head loads and had too many ideas. So after chatting with a few friends, I came to the conclusion that it was best to approach it the way I would a club set. This mix includes a bunch of my new music and some of my favourite tracks that I have been playing out recently. I hope it's a good representation of what I do, and a snapshot of a small section of dance music right now.
You said in a 2015 interview with RA that you didn't quite know what you "wanted to do" with the dance music you make as Hodge. Do you still feel that way?
I'm slowly realising that will forever change by the day. After a few weeks travelling I always want to do something totally influenced by where I've been. Like after a week at Love International in Croatia, I really wanted to make some super melodic feel-good music. But give me a few days back in reality in Bristol and that completely changes again.
I'm quite responsive like that. Influences around me will totally spin the way I look at things and what I want to do. I think that's also a way I stay inspired, keeping things constantly interesting for myself, I'm never too stationary and always look for something new to get excited about.
Bristol artists continue to produce some of the most inventive UK dance music. What do you think it is about the city and its scene that keeps things so fresh?
I have no idea, and that's a major part of why it's exciting, I guess. I mean, just speaking for me, maybe because it's a small city with a strong community that's full of great people all involved in being creative in some way. Bristol also has, as long as I've lived here, a record shop as a central kinda hub that people can meet around and feel connected to (first Rooted and then Idle Hands). That's definitely a huge positive force. There's so much going on in Bristol, maybe that's it, too. There are so many little pockets of talent and activity and so much I'm sure I don't even know about. That's gotta be a part of it.
What are you up to next?
Writing new music, playing some more shows in Europe and looking forward to heading to North America for a tour in October. I've got a few new solo 12s coming this year, a couple of remixes and a new collaboration with Randomer.