Blissful Smoking – proud lernt Martin Dawson kennen

von Lev Nordstrom

Schwierig, mit der eigenen Unwissenheit konfrontiert zu werden. Schwierig, wenn einem als Musikredakteur bewusst wird, dass man von Martin Dawson einfach noch nichts gehört hat. Das mag daran liegen, dass er erst seit letztem Jahr unter seinem eigenen Namen veröffentlicht. Davor produzierte er als King Roc in London. Inzwischen lebt er in Berlin. Die Liste seiner Veröffentlichungen liest sich wie das Who-is-who der House-Wirtschaft. Als Martin Dawson, als Martin Dawson & Glimpse und als Two Armadillos mit Gilles Smith hat er Produktionen auf Cocoon, Crosstown Rebels, Get Physical, 2020vision und Off Recordings. Jetzt veröffentlicht er sein Debütalbum auf Moodmusic – Sunday Smoking. And if you don’t know, now you know, mate!

What got you to move to Berlin?

Berlin just kind of came onto my radar. I had no plans of moving here. I was actually born in Hong Kong, lived there till I was five, then moved to Portsmouth and stayed there until I was 19. Portsmouth was a really dry place in terms of going out, so I was quite desperate to get to London. London is an amazing city, but it’s quite relentless. Berlin on the other hand still feels like a suburb. My original plan was to move to Brazil. I’d been going there quite a lot as a DJ. It’s a great country. So there I was, planning to move to Brazil, when a friend of mine Chris, also known as Glimpse, called me up and said ‘man, I have this flat in Berlin and I need someone to move in with me’. I asked him how much the rent was. He said ‘350 Euros’. I said, ‘Okay!’

Anything you’re missing in Berlin?

The one thing I miss about Berlin is seafood. This city definitely does not appreciate fish.

Before moving to Berlin, you were actually releasing as King Roc.

I only started releasing under my own name last year. The reason for the change was that I felt that Chapters, the King Roc album I released two years ago, was kind of a creative climax and I am still quite proud of it.

What kind of music did you grow up with?

I started playing guitar when I was ten. One day I ended up listening to this Nirvana tape that a friend gave me and I was like ‘what the f*ck is that?’. That was like guitar times a million. The same friend gave me Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction. Those two tapes became my religion for the next few years. I only got into electronic music when I was about 18. I started listening to the Prodigy and thought ‘ey, they’ve got guitars in there, that means they’re not so shit!’.

What got you into House music?

Interestingly, as a sort of backlash of having been at all these really nasty London Acid Techno parties with such a dark, fun, but edgy feel to them, I found myself gravitating very quickly towards House because House music could not have been more different. I was really desperate for the smiles and happy people.

No Hip Hop?

I never really gravitated towards the gangster Hip Hop. I often liked the music behind it, but I’m too much of a nice guy. I prefer a strong message that makes you think rather than ‘bitches and hoes, on a boat’. F*cking whatever! But I’ve always liked the production.

I love the old Black Eyed Peas stuff.

Yeah, what happened to them? When did they jump off the cheese tree and just land in the fondue? To me it seems that when you make that move, you may sell more records, but you’ll be selling records to people so much younger than you. I would never want to get into a style of music, where I was going to perform to a bunch of twelve year olds. That said, I did go to a Prodigy concert, when I was like 14.

Let’s get into your Sunday Smoking album.

I have to thank Sasse from Moodmusic for this one. In between all of my different projects and collaborations I had the odd day to myself and was just writing, with no real purpose. At the beginning of last year, when I was in Brazil, I wrote a track called Sunday Smoking. I took a lot of influence from this like French-Filter-Disco-House vibe. It was a modern take on those kinds of sounds. I got Jay Shepheard to do a remix of the track, found all the tracks I had done in the last months that I hadn’t done anything with and passed them on to Sasse, to see which ones he liked. He came back and was like ‘man, these tracks are all amazing’. So I thought maybe we’ll do a big EP, like a mini album. So we listened to the six songs he had chosen and I thought it may bring me across a little too deep. I felt something was missing, a bit more drive, just to give – and this is how terrible it is – to give the charts on Beatport some more options. Because I knew that if I didn’t have at least one track that was playable, the whole thing would possibly just slip under the radar. So I went back to the studio and wrote The Return and then Morning Glory. But there was still something missing because I felt it was too Housy. So then I wrote Is This Goodbye. That was a track I had started when I just got to Berlin. And finally I added Sleeping Dawn as an end to the album. Sasse and I realized that we now had an album format, but I didn’t really want to call it an album because it didn’t have a concept, a vision. But the more I’ve listened to it, there is not a single track on it that I don’t enjoy.

The sound definitely varies a lot. I don’t get bored of it.

My dilemma has always been that I liked so many different kinds of music. When I was doing King Roc I let myself be torn in so many different directions. I’ve confused people too much with King Roc. They just didn’t know what they were getting. They booked me, thinking I was going to play Electro and then I was playing this Electro Tech stuff and then people were booking me, thinking I was going to play that, and I was playing this more minimalish stuff and they were like ‘dude, who the f*ck are you?!’. At the end of 2009 I made a conscious decision to approach Martin Dawson as a project, the same way I do an album. It helps me separate myself out. I’ve never liked to compare myself to David Bowie because I think he’s an absolute legend, but in a Ziggy Stardust kind of sense, this is my sound for now.


25/03 – Moodmusic @ My Name is Barbarella

12/04 – Off Recordings @ Cookies

28/05 – Panorama Bar

27/07 – Watergate

Latest tracks by Martin Dawson

Lev Nordstrom

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