“I´m neither afraid of showing my emotions nor to include them in my music” -
Few people bring a truly original sound to house music. It’s all very well making
some nice grooves and working the dancefloor, but when it comes to longevity
and leaving an indelible mark on the genre and the wider musical sphere, you’ve
got to bring something new to the table. At a relatively young age, Hamburg’s
Martin Stimming did just that, demonstrating a sophisticated yet accessible sound
that’s beyond his years.
“I want people to see me as an evolving artist, where you never know what
exactly you get - but you know that it’s Stimming.”
The elegance of his productions is rooted in his classical training in his native
Germany. Born in Giessen in 1983, he became highly accomplished at the violin,
piano and drums by the age of 10, giving him a solid and well-rounded musical
education and ability, and an intimate understanding of music theory. His first
electronic obsessions took hold when he was 15, discovering the joy of sampled
breaks and beats through the likes of DJ Krush and Grooverider, and a year later
when living in Butzbach (not far from techno hub Frankfurt) he fell under the
spell of DJs like Sven Väth of Chris Liebing and began hoarding vinyl. It was
around this time that he began producing music with a computer – something he
soon realised was his “destiny”.
“I think if more producers would include their own mind and feelings into their
music the whole scene would be much more flavoured and diverse which would
be good for all of us…at least in an entertaining way.”
With his future path clearly in mind, Stimming moved to Hamburg aged 19 and
enrolled in a Electronic Music Production course at the SAE Institute, followed by
a studio internship. By 2006 he was producing bubbly deeper techno as one half
of Gebrüder Ton, and around this time he met two guys named Solomun and
Adriano, who shared a similar take and viewpoint on house and techno music.
These two new acquaintances set up their label Diynamic Music in the same year,
and soon Stimming was producing and releasing music and collaborations on the
nascent imprint, building himself the musical family that he had longed for – and
launching his solo career under his own surname in 2007. His breakthrough hit,
2008’s Una Pena, made the electronic world sit up and take notice, and before
long acclaimed labels like Freerange, liebe*detail, Buzzin’ Fly, Green and Poker
Flat were snapping up his work. 2009 saw him release his immaculate debut
album Reflections to great acclaim, cementing his reputation as one of the most
exciting new producers of his generation.
“Probably every track normally has at least one sound that is completely out of
context, but tweaked and smashed in a way that it fits.”
Amidst a sea of mediocre similarity in dance music, Martin Stimming’s work
stands out as truly different. His productions are filled with a multitude of his own
unique, charismatic field recordings, and he never uses the same sample more
than once. Nothing is sacred; sources of sound in his productions have included a
Coke can, a coffee machine, children’s toys, keys, marbles, a rubbish bin, loose
change, tube train breaking systems and doors and an Ikea pizza cutter. His
intricate beats and rhythm are testament to his long-running drumming skills –
which in recent years saw him play live drum kit beats on top of frenetic drum
and bass DJ sets in German clubs – and his music conveys a strong range of
emotions within the limitations of deeper house and techno music.
“You just can’t get that type of material out of a synthesizer. And I'm also able
to, in a way, morph the listener into the atmosphere I had when I recorded it.
And depending on how much I tweak it afterwards it can be a very natural 'on
this earth' kind of feeling, or the exact opposite.”
But it’s not all about 4/4 kicks and dancefloor mentality; as his stunning second
album Liqourice demonstrates. Produced with pleasing no-one but himself in
mind, it eschews the normal kick-clap/snare template by and large to explore
more interesting and progressive territories, but always with that trademark
magpie-like sense of texture, emotion and discovery. It’s an album to expand his
remit beyond the constraints of the dancefloor and into the wider realms of
beautiful electronic music.
"I called it Liquorice because I simply love real liquorice sweets, and I have
realised that it's something someone loves or hates. There's not much middle
ground, and there were probably 50% who like it and the others don't."
2010 saw him pick up an award for Best Newcomer at the Ibiza DJ Awards,
following on from his live show (Stimming doesn’t DJ) stunning the crowds at the
island’s legendary Pacha, and the finest danceries around the world – from
Berlin’s Panorama bar to Sao Paulo’s D-Edge, Brussels’ Fuse, London’s Fabric and
Paris’ Rex, and plenty more beyond. Remixes for the likes of Sascha Funke,
Claude VonStroke, Marc Romboy and Stephan Bodzin and Robert Babicz to name
but a few have further spread his influence amongst the discerning house and
tech community, and cemented his reputation as one of the scene’s most
Clearly, Martin Stimming is a precious talent indeed.