The Martinez Brothers are winning over house heads young and old and there’s no sitting still while doing it.
By Joshua P. Ferguson
Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 01.21.10
TOC | Martinez Brothers
Sure, high schoolers are aware of DJ culture, but, too young to get into clubs, they have an image in their heads that’s been fine-tuned by MTV. Drum ’n’ bass, minimal, Italo? We’re willing to bet most kids would lump it all under “techno.” Unless they’re the Martinez Brothers. Christian and Steve Jr. Martinez each celebrated milestone birthdays recently. Christian, a high-school senior, turned 18, and Steve, who’s taking time off from Hunter College, can finally order a drink for himself.
Which is especially noteworthy because they’re two of the scene’s most promising DJs and have been rocking seminal house-music clubs—in their native New York and across the globe—since 2006. In advance of one of their much-lauded sets, happening at Spy Bar Friday 22, we phoned Steve at their home in Monroe, New York, just ahead of his mini tour of Germany. (Due to class obligations, Chris couldn’t join us—or the trip to Europe.)
The brothers’ induction to house music came courtesy of their father. A clubber in the ’80s and an elevator repairman by trade, Steve Sr., now 46, spent many a night at the Paradise Garage, helmed by famed DJ Larry Levan. His clubbing days died down when his wife first became pregnant; later, he imparted his glory days to his kids. “We would always kick it and listen to music,” Steve Jr. says. “Timmy Regisford used to play on the radio, so we would stay up till three in the morning listening to him—just me, Pops and my brother.”
Pops also encouraged his sons to deejay, buying them equipment, records and arranging their early gigs. “My dad threw a party on Sunday nights,” Steve Jr. says, “and I’d be in church on Sunday mornings thinking, Man, I can’t wait to play tonight!” All of this bewildered their classmates. “I would bring in my iPod and sort of force-feed them songs and they just weren’t getting it,” Steve says. “I remember one girl calling it porno music and I was just like, What?!”