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Martin Roth - A Man Needs Creativity and Butter Chicken

The Frankfurt born, Berlin based pianist, composer, record producer & live act Martin Roth had been in the electronic music scene spotlight since the early 2000’s with his underground peak in 2009 when he was crowned alongside Eric Prydz, Sasha and Deadmau5 Beatport Star of 2009 as a result of topping their sales chart no less than 5 times that year, achieving an incredible 16 Top 10 positions and receiving 3 nominations at the Beatport Annual Awards for his productions and remixes.

Hello Martin, let me first ask about your relationship with India. Every Indian fan knows how much you love India. How did it all begin?

A reason for my close connection to and popularity in India could be that I came to India already many years ago before the big wave and hype for electronic dance music especially for house & techno started. I was invited the first time around 2010. Back then India hasn’t been on the radar, there was no big scene, mainly underground psychedelic, not many official parties - most of them had to take place in hotel-bars as only they had the license to continue to little later times in the day and apart from that, India looked for an European as an adventure. The (kinda western-arrogant) uncertainty and prejudice was bigger than the open minded jump into new waters.

So when you are coming from Germany and enter India for the first time it feels like a big mess - it takes some time until you start to understand the course of events. It is a totally different system to our understanding as so many different people are living there, and it takes some experience first - but after a while you do understand better and better - especially visit after visit when locals are showing you around your view on this country becomes clearer and after some time you are developing this huge love for this special place, for these amazingly thankful and friendly people and this inspiring world it has to offer. Every time after a tour when you are reflecting the last few days on the trip home your heart is full of happiness and appreciation.

So in the first years I felt like a missionary and was able to watch the scene grow and grow - I visited India at least once a year after my first tour and the audience grew as the scene did and in the past few years it has become one of the biggest market worldwide. Every weekend several established acts are touring India, sometimes too many for my taste and I am a little concerned a kinda overkill is not far or is already happening as due to the nature of this business many people want to be a part of this.

Your first tour of India? Cities you played? Or stayed back to relax during subsequent tours.

As previously mentioned it was I think 2010. I played in Chennai, Hyderabad and a third city, maybe Bombay or Pune but not sure anymore. However the years after I was happy to be able to visit almost every major city several times like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Indore, Pune, Guwahati, Goa, Kolkata, Chennai, Nagpur, Vishakhapatnam, etc. as well as festivals in beautiful valleys outside in nature.

What makes you eat butter chicken and naan when your India trip gets canceled? Is that like your Cushion for emotions? Tell us all.

Actually I was so gutted having to move the last tour twice last minute because of Covid, that I wanted to emphasize those sad & bad feelings with an almost even worse thing: a convenience food style butter chicken. It could've been a cushion for emotions if it would've been an original butter chicken - which it wasn't obviously.

How did the analog guy come to life? Was it planned or did it all happen as part of life's mysterious plans? In current times, how much are you really analog and how much digital?

I am always on the hunt for new styles and techniques keeping me psyched about what I do - keeping the fire alive. So I am looking left and right and in 2017 I was a bit tired about the development of those different electronic music styles so I found my piece in neo-classical music - finally wrote melodies again and discovered the piano again. A lucky move as two years later Covid changed a lot and Ambient & Easy Listening stuff became very popular and still is growing and this side project of mine became my main one and it is not even close to be elevated to the max. There's a lot more coming here. Especially as I see my future in the scoring & movie industry.

In private life the older I grow the more analog and minimalist I become to stay focused. In production the same - I am trying take a step back and limit myself to just a few tools. Since then everything became easier for me. I am playing around with analog tools & instruments however the final execution is digital to be honest.

When did you take up DJ'ing or producing as a career? At that time, what is it that you wanted from your career?

I was studying electrical engineering, it was boring and dry stuff. At that time I also got my first record deal and had some gear to write stuff and made my first steps into the right direction with radio plays and DJ support. So I told myself - let's give it 5 years and have a try where this career might take you. After 5 years I gave it another 5, and then another. So first I was just a music producer doing records, I haven't been this DJ guy collecting and browsing for fresh records. When taking my music on the road I was doing live acts and was touring worldwide with my gear and switched to DJing years later and found my love for it over time. So I still see myself still mainly a music producer/writer and live act.

An equipment in your studio that you do not use as much in music production, but you can't part ways with it. And why?

Many analog tools are amazing to play with - I love the hands-on approach however we are spoilt with the quick and easy workflow the digital world has to offer - so I have to admit - I am falling for that in the end but I always go back and usually the creativity get's lost when having a mouse or trackpad in your hand.

What does it take to earn the acclaimed badge of "Established Artist"?

I think this brand never ends to develop. Everything is experience - I would consider myself now as highly experienced in everything related to music & the industry but ten years ago I thought that too but I wasn't - and in ten years I will think the same about today.

Is there a Trend in the industry that you have identified post the pandemic that is positive for artists and industry?

Minimalism, focusing on the essential things, melody again, appreciation for what I am allowed to do (at least for me), digital travel tools making things quicker & easier.

Even though this is your genre and forte, what kind of music do you listen to at home or during leisure, while on vacation or off from work?

A mixture of calming music like ambient, jazz & neo-classical for inspiration and 80's/90's for nostalgia. A feeling I need to be creative.

Lastly, this space is for you to pen down any message you have for those who will read this.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me this huge support & love over all those years - your are the most sympathetic, peaceful, happy and friendly people I met and I appreciate all that so much. The world can learn so much from you guys.

Martin Roth’s next Ambient Acoustic Studio Album Mono No Aware will be released in late summer 2022 on Anjunadeep Reflections while keeping track of his club music roots with the Watermelon Sugar EP on Anjunadeep in Spring 2022.

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