"I like to work very fast and I don't like to have a lot of equipment around because it usually slows the work down," Martyn, who recently embarked on eight dates with the Red Bull Music Academy and Mutek Festival, tells Spinner. "I have a microKORG and a few little synths and I use a lot of samples. I used to carry a recorder with me at all times to capture different moments in different locations. It's a bit of a collage style of making music."
Listening to recorded street sounds and electronic sounds from his daily life, like train announcements or traffic lights, is a jumping point for Martyn. "It takes me back to a certain moment or vibe of a particular place, and it is an inspiration for me to start making music," he says.
Although Martyn's unusual move from Holland to America was the reverse of many electronic artists trying to accelerate their careers, it was a move that propelled his work. Martyn explains, "You have the American dream and I never really believed in it until I got here and saw people around me who were also immigrants trying to make a living -- because there's no safety net, people are forced to work really hard. So every time I've been stuck with my music I've always thought I could be stuck working at Burger King, I told myself to shut up and just keep working.
"That motivation brought me further than I would have gone in Rotterdam, where if you're out of money or work, there's always a welfare system that takes care of you. Over here I found it inspiring that a lot of people are trying to succeed and become as big as they can within their capacities."
The fruits of Martyn's hard work can be heard on the recent 'Ghost People.' The choice to release on Flying Lotus' label Brainfeeder was obvious to Martyn. "Because he's a good friend and I respected his musical point of view, I knew there wasn't going to be anyone telling me what to do for my own album. So this creative freedom made me choose the label."
Martyn appreciates the eclectic broad-minded music coming out on Brainfeeder. "In the same year that they released my album they also released a full on jazz album and they released an album by Thunder Cat, a bass player analogue album."
In addition to Flying Lotus, another important collaborator is Martyn's label partner and longtime friend Erosie, a visual artist from Eindhoven (who he'll meet on March 15 for MARTYN X EROSIE X COLLIDER, a surround sound and visual art performance at the Technical University of Eindhoven in Holland). The cover art for 'Ghost People' features a photo of a street art piece by Erosie, that was done on the side of a wall in Poland.
"I'm bad at drawing and I'm very sound-related in everything I do, but that makes me want to work with people who are good at visual arts," he says. "Erosie is my visual aid. He's the one that brings my music to life in a visual way."
"My music is collage style and I use a lot of influences from past and present and scraps of sound to compose my music," he continues. "And Erosie does that in a visual way. His work is comprised of a lot of different styles: graphic design, abstract art and pop art. He combines all that into his own visual language. He knows exactly what I do with sound and I know what he does with visuals because we have a similar way of working."