The drum and bass virtuoso that needs little introduction. Dominik ‘Calibre’ Martin has been floating around the underground for an extensive amount of time now, primarily known for his deep liquid sound and a bounty of releases on his own imprint Signature Records, as well as ample drops on Marcus Intalex’s Soul:R label.
The last 18 months have proved to be contrary for the aforementioned with an ongoing 140bpm project seeing a release on Mala’s ‘Deep Medi’ label, and down- tempo/experimental LP ‘Shine A Light’ being warmly recieved by most. We got in touch with the Irishman to talk about recent album ‘Even If’, his reputation for being ‘quiet’ and his thoughts on the dnb-to-dubstep crossover.
Interview/ Josh Thomas
Your last LP ‘Shine A Light’ was a collection of beautiful experimental/down-tempo music, firmly removed from the world of drum and bass. Your new album ‘Even If’ sees you returning to a familiar tempo, what were you hoping to achieve with this album?
If I wanted to achieve anything it was mainly to write something that I personally enjoyed, on an individual basis I wanted to mix some genre’s and try to transcend the DNB tag as much as I was referencing it, and hopefully in the process reach out to those out there that like my music.
Any plans for future experimental releases?
Yes I want to start writing the follow up to “Shine A Light”, I’m trying to specify the context a little bit, but other than that I plan to be as open with it as I want, I also wanted to write an ambient album and do a down-tempo ‘Shelflife3’ unreleased compilation LP, there are things in the works.
Your own vocals/songwriting feature heavily on ‘Shine A Light’ and also appear on ‘Even If’, is it important for you to approach music production from a songwriters perspective?
Yeah I feel closer to the material and it sets its own challenges, plus it sounds unique, but I want to try as many approaches as possible, I hope to have shown some of that on the album. I’m still learning and feel quite the baby with this stuff, but its not in my interests to obtain perfection, I prefer to mess around in the mud with whatever I can get my hands on, and thats what it feels like sometimes when I’m singing.
Your new album ‘Even If’ is a vinyl only release which includes an extended CD. I saw someone having a rant on a forum about the release not being available digitally or as a separate CD, any message behind the vinyl only release?
I wanted to give something more to the vinyl buyers, and I felt like trying something different really.
You have been known as a pretty elusive character within the drum and bass world, being described as “one of the quietest people in drum and bass.” This quote referring to your lack of online presence and only sharing tracks with a small circle of friends. Is this still the case for you, and if so, why?
I suppose that would be correct, I’m not here to make friends and expand my social network, if my online presence is muted it is for a purpose, and usually it’s because I’m working, but I value my progress in private and I don’t think that everyone has to do the same things to get by.
The phenomenon that is dubstep has invited many drum and bass artists to crossover to this platform. What’s your opinion of this marriage of dnb and dubstep?
If it’s good music its okay by me, I prefer not to get caught up in the cultural side effects, if people find enjoyment in it and it pushes the artists, its positive right? I’m on the outside looking in so it’s easy for me to detach, but I feel a guilty pleasure in the bond.
Who do you see as the most forward-thinking producers within the drum and bass scene at the moment?
Not so sure, I’m out of the loop on that one a little bit, I like certain producers, I suppose Instru:mental are out there, I’d include lynx in that as well, ST Files likes to push the envelope, I dig that Hobzee and Zion bass album for the Leftfield touch.
Who/what are your main musical influences at the moment?
I’m not so sure about influences I tend to assign that to everything, but I have been collecting a lot of ambient music recently. I did have a serious devotion to Scott Walker going on for a while, what a voice, and I felt myself being driven towards more vocal work in response to all the ambient landscapes, but I found my interest in song-writing discovering a more folk and roots edge to it, I really love the re-issues of old world music, it has an earthy and honest feel to it that I desire myself.
‘Even If’ is out now on Signature Records.