Of all the DJs to hit Holy Ship!, Justin Martin is certainly the most beloved. The #ShipFam community embraces the Dirtybird producer as one of their own, and as we followed him through the crowded halls of the MSC Divina Monday evening, it was easy to see why.
Martin is incredibly approachable, affable, and infectious. He's almost always in a good mood, and he's happy to stop and chat with fans, friends, and anyone in the extended party family. Maybe that's why people want to feed him pizza all the time.
THUMP: What do you like about #ShipFam? Justin Martin: Honestly, it's the one place every year that I come back to, and it resets the entire year. I come back here, and the rest of the year, all I see at my shows are the awesome crazy motherfuckers that I meet here. I fucking love it. I'm so lucky that Gary booked me on the first one.
THUMP: Have you been on all four?
Martin: Yeah, and I'm going to go on the fifth in February.
THUMP: When people hand you demos, do you listen to them?
Martin: I do, of course. That's how we sign new music, me and Barclay. That's the only way.
THUMP: So, you're involved in the decision process?
Martin: Honestly, when it comes down to it, I say that I'm the guy who makes the bad decisions at Dirtybird. Barclay makes the good decisions, but he always asks me what I think, and I always give the worst advice ever. That's how it goes.
Martin: There are very few places that I love as much playing as Shambhala. The spirit [here] is similar to here. There's no cut-off on creativity. The fans can do whatever they want. And that's what I like about here.
THUMP: What have you been up to lately? What are you working on now?
Martin: I'm working on my new album. I'm just working, and it's supposed to come out on my birthday, which is on 4/20. The name of the album is Hello Clouds. But that has nothing to do with 4/20 clouds. I don't smoke weed.
THUMP: How did you meet Motez?
Martin: Eats Everything was making amazing music, and I fell in love with him as a man, as a big man, a big-eating man. He's like "You've got to check out this motherfucker," and he started playing me Motez's music. So, then I started playing it too, and I was like, "Wow, he's actually a really fucking cool cat." That's the best thing ever, when you meet someone whose music you really love and they're actually really nice.
THUMP: Say something nice about Justin Martin.
A-Trak: Justin is my favorite Vine artist. He has the best Vines. The thing where he makes the couch lift up? It took me two months to understand how he did it. But aside from that, awesome dude, awesome producer.
Martin: My entire crew on this ship, leading up to this boat, every single one of my friends was like, "We don't even care if we see you, Justin. We just want to see Craze and A-Trak."
A-Trak: That's what's interesting to me. I discovered Justin and Barclay [Crenshaw, AKA Claude VonStroke] and the whole Dirtybird sound in my more recent years being into house music. But then I figured out that they're from San Francisco. There's a different sort of kinship from my scratch days—coming up in the 90s affiliated with QBert and stuff like that—and that side of San Francisco being turntablism-heavy. I feel like the beats and the tracks that they make speak to my ear in a different way that goes back to that. My musical connection to [Justin] and Christian and Barclay, that whole crew, it almost talks to two parts of my life. It's like the scratch stuff with the house stuff, too.
THUMP: What does Justin Martin mean to #ShipFam?
Liz: He's probably a mecca of #ShipFam. When you go to Holy Ship!, you know Justin Martin, because he's #ShipFam. It means you have a camaraderie with people that you'd never know in your real life, but in ship life, you have #ShipFam. Rudimental is my #ShipFam now. They're virgins, but I've known them before. When you see Justin Martin, you're like, "Oh, you're #ShipFam." You say "pizza." We all know each other. "You know pizza? I know pizza."
THUMP: So, what's the story about you and pizza? Where does this obsession come from?
Martin: It's very simple. I was very lucky as a child. I have great parents that really believed in me from day one. Every week, as family time, we'd go get really good pizza in town. On the East Coast, we get really good pizza, whether it be Pepe's (Frank Pepe's The Spot), or Dino's, or Harry's, whatever, the good pizza spots of Connecticut. But when me and my brother were bad, my dad would be like, "No pizza two months." If we fought when we were at the pizza spot, that was it.
Growing up, pizza just represented good family vibes, and I loved it but I was spoiled rotten. So when I went on with the rest of my life, I just fell in love with good pizza, no matter what city I was in. I lived in New York City for three years before I moved to San Fracisco, and when I moved to San Fran, that's good pizza.
THUMP: Is it true people will bring you pizza to your shows?
Martin: Oh my god, yeah, you saw it tonight. Everybody just brings me amazing pizza, and when people bring me shitty pizza, I don't know what to do, honestly. I'm not a disrespectful guy. I don't want t be a dick, but c'mon. Bring me some good pizza. I've been spoiled rotten my whole life, so bring me some good pizza, and I will love you forever, and I will remember you at the next show.
Kat Bein is turning down for her sanity after Holy Ship! - @katsayskill