Justin Martin is Living the Dirtybird Dream

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Erik Voake

“i like fun, music, and pizza”

There are few other sentences that could sum up Justin Martin as succinctly as his six-word biography on his Twitter profile does. Anyone who follows the avid pizza aficionado on social media is sure to get a regular dose of his absurd sense of humor, whether it’s in the form of laughs, emojis, or even a particularly notable hotel-room a cappella arrangement of a-ha’s meme-ready classic “Take On Me.”


Don’t let his silly online demeanor fool you, though. There are few DJs today who take their craft as seriously as the San Francisco transplant. Armed with an infectious smile and an arsenal of booty-busting dancefloor weapons, Justin Martin has been professionally bringing the fun to every party he’s attended to for over 15 years with his signature tech-house grooves.

After spending his formative years in West Hartford, Conn., a college-aged Martin headed to New York City before quickly trading in The Big Apple for a permanent residence in San Francisco right at the turn of the millennium. Initially lured into the electronic realm via the harder sounds of jungle and drum-n-bass parties, Martin eventually found himself as a founding member of the now-famed Dirtybird collective alongside Claude VonStroke, Worthy, and his own brother Christian.

Now, some 13 years since the release of his first track “The Sad Piano,” Martin is embarking on his latest project: his long-awaited, second artist album Hello Clouds. The timing couldn’t be more impeccable, either, bookending a period of unprecedented growth and expansion for the San Francisco-based label that culminated with its first three-day Dirtybird Campout festival this past fall.

It’s not hard to see why seas of ravers are doing the proverbial Dirtybird at any of the label’s club nights, festival stages, or nationwide BBQs. In today’s club world, much of the electronic-music offerings fall into one of two diametrically opposed spaces on either side of the spectrum: the chin-stroking underground clubbing cabals and the bottle service-drenched big-room EDM circuit. Martin and the rest of the Dirtybird crew have found a sweet spot in between the two poles, bringing carefree vibes in line with the cutting-edge, off-kilter ghetto-tech sounds they’ve pioneered.

The inviting attitude has truly resonated with the masses, creating an army of diehard fans that have taken it upon themselves to spread the Gospel of Booty-Tech across forums, social networks, and music festivals across the world. Amidst his dizzying touring schedule, Justin Martin connected with DJ Times.

DJ Times: How was working on the new album different from 2012’s Ghettos & Gardens?

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