Damon Martin Interview, Exclusive Mix & Competition For Tickets + Vinyl
Disco Bloodbath have granted us one precious copy of their first release – Damon Martin 'That Ain't Right' – on 12" vinyl to give away along with guest list for two to this Friday's big launch! To be in with a chance of winning, simply email email@example.com with subject line 'THAT AINT RIGHT, BUT IT FEELS SO GOOD'.
Ahead of their label launch party this weekend we caught up with Disco Bloodbath's Damon Martin for some words and the gift of an exclusive and rather tasty live record. Mighty fine it is too!
Damon, tell us the history of Disco Bloodbath, how it came into being and how it has developed over the years.
Disco Bloodbath started in 2007. Ben and I had known each other for a few years and DJed together from time to time. One of the places where we played was Dan’s bar, The Warwick on Essex Road. The three of us got on really well and would often talk about records and it turned out we had quite similar tastes. I had wanted to put on a night playing the disco, italo, cosmic and old house records that I’d been collecting for a while and I thought those two would be great to work with so I asked them to get involved.
We had a couple of false starts with venues falling through and things like that but it all came together when I was DJing in a pub one Sunday and Jay, the owner of Passion, which was to become our first venue, came up to me and said something along the lines of “If I give you a space can you fill it with people?”.
Passion was just the sort of thing we were looking for – slightly off the beaten track and with a bit of a lawless feel. I remember going to look at it for the first time and the basement being full of whips, chains and assorted S&M kit because the prior occupant had been a dominatrix.
The first parties were mostly populated by our friends but things slowly grew and after about six months the nights started to get really busy with queues down the street. We kept doing the parties at Passion until the place got shut down because of licensing issues after which we had a stint at Visions on Kingsland Road. Then we did a few larger warehouse events. These were great but I think maybe they were missing a bit of what made the early parties so special. The last couple of years we’ve been moving around doing parties at venues between 200 and 500 capacity, which we think is about right for the sort of experience we want to give people. We’ve even done a few nights back where it all started at Passion, which has been loads of fun.
Throughout this time we’ve been dabbling in production, mostly via a few remixes. The label is partly a result of us wanting to push that further and start releasing some of our original music, as well as wanting to release music by our very talented friends.
Probably the biggest change of the last few years, along with the launch of the label, has been Dan leaving Bloodbath. We were sorry to see him go but understand that he has a lot on his plate with Dalston Superstore and his other projects. We’re all still friends and Dan came and played a secret set at our 5th Birthday party in April which was ace.
The first release is quality, congrats on that. What are the plans for the future with the label, who are you planning to release?
Thanks! Our plan is to release music that we like. It’s as simple as that really. The releases we have lined up cover a broad range of styles and I think are a good representation of the sort of things you can expect to hear at a Disco Bloodbath night. We’re definitely going to be the sort of label where you can’t predict what the next release will sound like. The next couple of releases are by Hand Plant, which is Ben working with Sam Watts from Maxxi Soundsystem, and G&S, who you may remember from their releases for Dissident and Codek. We also have remixes from Capracara, Hardway Bros and Jamie Blanco.
If the label was a cocktail, what would be in it?
Loads of booze, a touch of fruit, a “special secret ingredient” and an umbrella in the top.
As the first release is from yourself, please tell us what production gear you use in the studio?
I have a Roland Juno-60 which I use for bass and almost all of the synth sounds and a Roland TR-909 which I use for 90% of the drums. I also have a Korg Mono/Poly that gets used for weird FX type sounds – I’m still getting my head around that one, to be honest, as it’s a bit more complex. Everything gets recorded into Cubase running on my Mac. All my effects are “in the box” with plugins at the moment. Hopefully that will change soon!
What have been the key moments in the development of Disco Bloodbath to date, the points that pushed things on to the next level?
Besides the first night, which was obviously fairly important, there were three others in the first year – our first post-Lovebox party with Severino and the nights with The Stallions (aka Lovefingers and Lee Douglas) and Tako. Each of these were significantly bigger than the party before and made us all think “I think we might be onto something here!”. We’ve done much bigger parties since but that first year really set the tone for what we’re about – great music in cool little venues with a fantastic crowd.
In no more than ten words, please sum up disco?
Joyful music that you can dance to.
Disco but rawer and on a tight budget. Austerity disco!
Where do you stand on the vinyl/digital side of things? Will Disco Bloodbath material all be released on vinyl?
We’re doing digital releases a few weeks after the vinyl in most cases. We’re all vinyl lovers who play the odd thing off CD when necessary but understand that we’re lucky to live in London and have access to great record shops and don’t want people who aren’t so fortunate to be denied access to our music.
We do a series on Ransom Note called Alphabetical Order, an A-Z of seminal tracks from dance music history, going by track title. What tracks would you yourself pick for D and B, the initials of the label?
I’m not sure if I’m breaking protocol here by going with the artist’s first initial rather than the title of the track but for D I’m going to have to go for Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’, the Patrick Cowley mix preferably. It’s one of the greatest ever club records and to my ears is one of the few examples of truly timeless dance music.
For B I’m picking ‘Baby Wants To Ride’ by Jamie Principle and Frankie Knuckles. This is just a total killer and perfectly encapsulates the excitement and rawness of early house music.
Finally, if you could release a track by any artist from the history of music, dead or alive, who would it be?
Kraftwerk ‘Computer World’.
Nice, do us a mix Damon… and tell us about it:
This is a recording from a couple of weeks ago when I played at my friend Lee Pattison’s night Wet N Wild at Dalston Superstore. The basement there is one of my favourite places to DJ because you’re basically guaranteed a fantastic crowd. It’s a perfect size too.
The mix is pretty much all house music of various persuasions, mostly new stuff with a few classics thrown in. There are also a couple of forthcoming things on the label. It is a live mix so you’ll have to excuse the odd dodgy moment – a couple of ropey mixes, an overexcited dancer bumping the decks a few times and a moment when dust on the needle caused a near disaster. I think these all help the listener to experience the chaos and energy of the Superstore basement as if they were really there. A bit like seeing a film in 3D!
Damon Martin 'That Ain't Right' hits all good record stores now… Get hold of it right here.
Check it below.
The launch party is this Friday at Hysteria – a mega two room party featuring guest DJs & producers from the label Jonny 'Capracara' Burnip, G&S (Nadia Ksaiba & Matt Waites), Sean Johnston (A Love From Outer Space/Hardway Bros), the fabulous Legendary Children, mysterious duo Hand Plant (Ben Bloodbath & Sam Maxxi Soundsystem) & the Bloodbath residents. Expect analogue house, NY disco, lunar italo, jacking chicago, dark pop & all manner of sounds that bump in the night. Full details here. & Facebook Event