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Introducing: Dubka interview

Martin Dubka has several feathers in his musical cap, whether it’s his production work on Ali Love and Tyson’s albums or his completely improvised modular synth shows which have been getting rave reviews – he’s clearly a man going places. Now, though, the London producer is striking out on his own with his debut EP on Aeroplane’s Aeropop imprint.

Released today the producer’s EP can be best described as moody, twisted, hypnotic house. We tracked Martin down to pick his brains about the EP’s video which features Alan the Dancing Misanthorpe, what he has planned for the rest of the year and what’s it like to have Vito De Luca as his boss.

HBF: So you’ve just released a video for your new EP that features Alan the Dancing Misanthorpe in the video – for those who don’t know who he is can you explain his significance?

People started referring to Alan as “the Chinese guy who never drinks and dances on his own” because it just seemed like he was everywhere, all the time. Now I feel like he’s as much a part of club culture in London as the clubs themselves. I’ve heard promoters say their night was a success because “that guy” came. For me, he’s like the purest form of clubber – he just loves music and dancing. I thought that deserved to be documented.

HBF: You’re playing a quite a few live sets using your modular synth – can you explain in laymen terms what you’re actually doing? Are you just pressing play?

Definitely not. There’s no computer, no set and no preparation. If you come to one of my shows, you have a 99% chance of seeing something go horribly wrong. But at the same time, I can guarantee you will hear new music that’s never to be repeated. The modular doesn’t make a single sound on it’s own so you need to patch it in a certain way to get whatever it is you want out of it. It’s like sculpting pure electricity into sound.

HBF: So what do customs say when you rock up to a airport with something that looks a bit like a bomb?

Weirdly, they’ve yet to say anything at all! No one has even asked me to open it. I keep trying to take a photo of it on the x-ray thing, but they never let me.

HBF: You worked on Ali Love and Tyson’s excellent debut albums – do you think you’ll be producing any more albums in the near future?

I’d love to, yeah. I think the main problem is nobody has any money! An album takes a long time and a lot of hard work for relatively little reward. Singles are obviously much more immediate but nothing compares to the experience of a really great album. It’s like stepping into another world.

HBF: Your new track is being released on Aeroplane’s Aeropop – can we expect a collaboration in the future?

Well, we’ve already done some writing together for his next album but not like a “vs” thing or anything. We keep threatening to do this mad synth record together but I guess we haven’t had time yet. It’s a solid “maybe”.

HBF: What’s Vito like as a boss?

Surprisingly okay! I think we have a lot in common but we’re also like complete polar opposites so he can give me a shove when I’m procrastinating and I can tell him to calm down when he’s stressing. It’s a decent working dynamic.

HBF: If your studio was on fire, and you could go back and save one thing – what would it be and why? (and it can’t be your modular synth).

Definitely the ARP Odyssey. That one’s kind of my baby. I think some of my others actually deserve to burn.

HBF: So what’s next for Martin Dubka? Any thoughts on making an artist album?

Yeah, of course. But there’s a few singles lined up first.

HBF: How do you think that might sound?

If I continue on my current trajectory, my album will be just a sine wave and a kick. Everything I make keeps getting simpler and simpler. I think the physical limitations of performing with my live set-up has forced me to think about music in a much more streamlined way. There’s this Francis Bacon quote where he said he was looking for “a shorthand of sensation”. I love that idea.

HBF: What was the last album you bought?

Max Graef – Rivers Of The Red Planet. Nice record.

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