Last Night, the Anjunadeep North American Tour began in Vancouver. Over the next two weeks, some of the London label’s biggest stars will hit seven major cities in the first ever multi-city deep house showcase. It’s a massive step forward, not just for Anjunadeep, but for a genre that has always called the United States home. Early this month, we interviewed Beckwith; this time around we sat down with Martin Roth, who plays his first stop next Thursday in NYC. Martin Roth’s pedigree is extensive: The German DJ and producer has been in the underground scene for years, with releases on Ultra, VANDIT, and Nurvous Records just to name a few. One of his biggest tracks “Maya” even made an appearance on last summer’s Anjunadeep: 06. He spoke to us about the definition of deep house, his productions, and much more.
What does the term “Deep House” mean in 2015?
That’s a tricky question – it really depends on the perspective, on the country (as I noticed on my travels) and if you ask a person or a panel in an online shop or store.
I think the original meaning of Deep House is a melodic, soulful, sexy and jazzy form of House music – more groovy, more laid back & cozy. If you are asking someone today – maybe someone a bit new into house music, he might say it is a darker, slower, melodic approach on House music with Techno influences.
So maybe a fusion of both of those is the 2015 interpretation.
Producers are constantly tweaking their productions. How do you know when it’s time to step away from a track and say it’s finished?
The approach on writing and finishing a track is never the same – my approach is maybe a bit different than what’s common, so I don’t have such a big issue with finding out when a track is finished. I play in my studio with sounds and loops and ideas and grooves – after a while a track is shaping up, but still in small pieces; the arrangement is the final step, putting these many ideas into one track…so maybe my moment of finding out when a track is finished is already in the process of deciding, when it is time to arrange it, because the arrangement is just a matter of a few hours. Then I step back from it for a day, listen again the next day and make the final tweaks. So my critical moment is the decision when finally arranging it. Before that, I virtually tested several arrangement options in my head by muting & tweaking several parts.
In this moment, I make the critical decision to finish it or to throw it into the bin.
So back to your question – I know the right moment when I feel something special through my body . This moment is what us artists all like so much, when we enjoy something and realize something nice has happened. It’s a rare feeling, because sometimes you really think you’ve lost it. But it always returns when you’re making good music.
Has douse music’s popularity in the US affected the scene in Europe? Or have things stayed the same?
I think every scene in whichever country or continent is affecting the other and helping it. Through the popularity new artists from the US have come up and inspire us like we inspired them and gave the whole House scene a new flavour. Also in the past five years many big US DJs & producers moved to Berlin or Barcelona for a little time and infused their new surroundings with new inspiration, parties and approaches. So it is always exciting to have a new part in the world developing from their old music habits or even better: watching more people take interest in this music.
Do you think non Deep House DJs who release house tracks are helping or hurting the genre?
In general, everyone who is caught by a specific house genre and likes to play it also enjoys making that music, teaching themselves what is so special about it. Also, production is a small piece in the development of a genre – so mainly it’s not a bad thing. However, I think I know what you mean: if a well known artist decides to involve himself in a scene which is currently hot and / or decides to produce his same stuff but just a few BPMs slower with some fancy sample loops branded with “Deep House,” and some minor chords…that’s not really helping. But all that, in a way, is kinda not really important; yes, it is maybe affecting the Deep House charts on Beatport, where big EDM labels are trying to establish that now they’re “Deep,” but the real scene doesn’t really care as they leave as quickly as they came.
What was the biggest lesson you learned about yourself in 2014?
Don’t take myself and the whole business too seriously. Of course , I’m taking it VERY seriously as a job and passion, but I’m not arguing about genres, being the coolest hipster-artist or bashing music. I also learned to create a bigger distance from social media and using it just as a tool / an appearance / an information platform for business rather than a meter of fame, status / mood, or eye to eye communication.
You have lived both in Europe and the US. Do you think Deep House can be as big here as it is back home, or will it always be second to Europe?
To me the term Deep House has become already an “ugly word” – so many things have been labeled that since this style of music and everyone’s own meaning has become popular. So let’s keep it simply Electronic Music …
I’ve been wondering since I got into this business when this country would accept underground house music as a popular interesting thing next to Hip Hop & RnB. Finally it did a few years ago… first with the more commercialized EDM and uplifting stuff but now again more and more the Intimate Club House & Underground Music – I saw many, many people getting their first experiences in the more commercial EDM but are trying now to find out what else is there, what else House and Electronic Music has to offer apart from festivals, commercial radio and the daily media outlets.
Europe is an interesting playground with its well-known cities and hundreds of clubs in their capitals and spots or the mediterranean islands in summer but now the US has similar things to offer so we’ll see what happens.
Anjunadeep is on tour from now to February 7. To find out which cities they’ll be in, visit their website.