Dirtybird’s Christian Martin is Reppin’, Hatin’ and Doing “Whatever it Takes”
He was born in a Cadillac trunk, the by-product of a dirty one-night-stand between hip-hop and techno. His raison d’etre is simple yet so necessary; to make your ass move in ways your momma should never witness.
“I just wanted to start making the kind of music that I love to listen to … geared toward car stereos and clubs.”
Of course, Leroy Peppers is just the nasty alter-ego of the much friendlier Christian Martin. But don’t let his boyish smile and approachable, amicable charms fool you – he will get gangsta on that ass.
“I like to play a nice song and then play a nasty song,” he said. “It sneaks up on people, because they get kind of like, it’s like sunshine and it’s like ‘oh, it’s so nice.’ And then you hit them with some nasty-ass techno – no mercy.”
It’s that very switch-‘em-up, gangsta leaning, dark and driving vibe that makes Martin and the rest of his crew at Dirtybird records so appealing. The San Francisco label, headed by the literally and figuratively giant Claude VonStroke, has been producing some of the hottest tech house and electro grooves since 2005.
In our un-humble opinion, nothing else even comes close. Martin said their mad swag is yielded from a constant hustle. They strive to perfectly blend the mentality and booming bass lines of hip-hop with the energy and all-night vibe of techno.
“It’s that intersection … where you never want people to ever stop dancing or grooving, but you have to stimulate them and keep switching up,” he said. “That’s why the hip hop is awesome to drop, because it’s these little two-minute nuggets of something that people realize, and then you can go back into the wordless shit with the next big kick drum.”
According to Martin, those small moments of relatable material are the key to a good time. If a DJ gets too in his own head, too removed from the 4/4 rhythms and burrows too far underground, he’ll simply loose the crowd. And good luck getting them back.
“You have a mission to entertain people for your whole set,” he said, “but not like a plateau. You need to keep surprising people until you unplug your headphones. That’s it.”
And it follows for the whole crew; VonStroke, J. Phlip, Worthy, Eats Everything, Christian’s brother Justin Martin and the rest. The motto is to gather your secret weapons in your repertoire, come swaggin’ into the party and drop that shit.
He said the best feeling is when the other crew members come jockin’ on his shit. Whenever he sees VonStroke or Phlip looking over his shoulder, asking what a song is between head nods, he knows he’s doing it right.
“That’s the Dirtybird mentality from day one … We need to impress each other, because we’re the haters that were going out before we started,” he said. “If you can surprise the homies, then chances are you’ll surprise the people that are in the front row, and it follows from there. Each set has got to build on (the last). You can’t just play the old shit. You have to mix it up.”
But don’t get him wrong. Dirtybird may be hatin’ on the world’s wack DJs, but when it comes to fans and throwing a party, no one shows more love and puts in more energy than this flock.
For the past ten years, Dirtybird has hosted free-for-the-public BBQs in Golden Gate Park. It makes for a unique and friendly party atmosphere, featuring all the tasty burgers and banging beats you could want – at no cost to the fans.
They bring that mentality to every function. Martin said their monthly party in San Fran is the same; free with rsvp and full of dope shit from beginning to end. Each line-up is a constant rotation of Dirtybird artists, so the crew wants to give crowds a reason to get there early and get into the mindset of groovin’ all night long.
During this year’s WMC, they’re Dirtybird showcase was a highlight for everyone in attendance. They imported the famous BBQs of San Fran and threw a banger with an old-school block party feel. There were plenty of burgers and chips, plus loads of free goodies like limited edition Dirtybird sunglasses. (And they’re really dope, too!)
Martin said those little touches really made the difference, for the crew and the crowd alike.
“For here, it’s like, what will set you apart in this sea of Miami parties,” he said. “There are so many parties happening every single day, how do you distinguish yourself to people who might now know who we are? The more gadgets and tricks that we can pull, the better.”
Obviously, Christian Martin and everyone else at Dirtybird are not fucking around. They’re out to create an unforgettable experience. They’ll do anything to get people interested and put real thought and energy into giving fans a next-level dance party. And once they get you in the door, they’re going to bring a vibe and energy so relentlessly cool, so ahead of the curve and in the groove that you’ll swear by them forever more.
“Whatever it takes,” Martin said.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes Leroy Peppers so fuckin’ bad.