Martina aka DJ MJ. An Underground House and Garage DJ, Promotor, budding producer and entrepreneur hailing from the Midlands and based in Birmingham.
Over her 17 year career, MJ has played across the UK and various parts of Europe where she has playing alongside Marshall Jefferson, Jeremy Healy, Brandon Block, Todd Terry, Victor Simonelli, Kenny Ken, Nicky Blackmarket and Grant Nelson.
Her sets consist of Broken Beat / Bruk, Soulful House, Club Classics, Garage ( UK and US ), Garage House and Chicago House. She has also been known to drop a Jungle every once in a while.
She’s spread her sound on airwaves across the globe on stations such Birmingham Sounds Radio, Black Country Radio, Grant Nelsons D3EP Radio, Amsterdams AMW.FM, Londons Flex FM, Birminghams Urban Dubz, Londons House FM and Chicagos Groovebox Radio.
She currently runs Back2House Events where both herself and her partner hold Boat parties bringing House Music from across the decades with various local Midlands legends
As producer Martina has released on labels such as Urban Dubz, Pogohouse and Phoenix Black with more releases scheduled for the future.
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Each week we will be taking a dip into the crates and minds of some of the digging scenes most prolific collectors.
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What are your first memories of collecting records?
“I was given my first record as a gift from one of my dad’s friends who was a DJ at the time. I’d heard him play this obscure rap tune on my dads turntables and I loved it so much that he gave it me as a gift.
I can’t remember what it was, but was then that my love for records started. As a teenager growing up in the West Midlands, Birmingham is where you went as an avid record collector. Back then it was considered one of the Meccas for DJs and music lovers. We were spoilt for choice. My favourites were Hard To Find Records, Don Christies, Tempest Records, and Reddingtons Rare Records, depending on which genre I wanted. It was an all day affair, treated as an outing – making friends at the turntables or whilst searching the shelves. Many a time I remember singing or humming a tune to the shop assistant trying to find a rare record, of which I didn’t know the name or artist. I know I’m not the only one who did that too.”
Favourite record labels of all time?
“Positiva , Nice ‘n’ Ripe , Nervous Records, Strictly Rhythm,
Def Jam, Azuli.
These are my firm faves but there are so many that had great releases such as AM:PM, Defected ( I’m more of a Defected from the old skool fan), Greensleeves Records… the list goes on and on and on”
Who are your biggest musical Influences?
“He already knows VERY well as I’m always harping on about it, but Andy Ward (Marco Polos, Choice FM, The Mud Club, Garage City, Vocal Booth to name but a few) was instrumental in widening my music knowledge and helping to shape my future. I have to give props to my parents who introduced me to Motown, northern soul and disco. I was raised on this music from morning ’til night. Todd Terry (as Royal House) is also an artist that I remember hearing and falling in love with as a producer of the early house music sound. My grandparents on my father’s side introduced me to reggae, lovers rock and ragga and my grandparents on my Mothers side introduced me to country music and rock n’ roll. There was so much influence and diversity around me that I didn’t appreciate throughout childhood, but I sure as hell appreciate it now. I am thankful to all of them for being such huge music lovers. Along the way, so many people have shown new music and helped shape my knowledge. But if we’re talking about foundation influences then the people above are the ones to whom I owe gratitude.”
First Record Purchase and where you bought it?
“Monie Love – Grandpas Party
…purchased from the now extinct ‘Woolworths’. I bought this when I was about 9 or 10 years old. Up until then I was really lucky as I been given records all the time by my dad and his friends.”
7 inches, 10 inches or 12 inches?
“Hmmmm, that’s a tricky one. 7 inches for those old Motown and reggae vibes that I love are definitely the one! However, as a DJ and huge lover of house music I love those extended versions and B side remixes (which are sometimes better than the original).
It’s really hard for me to choose between the 2 but if I have to then i’ll go with the 12 inch vinyl. I generally tend to get more excited and get more pleasure from the vinyls that have a few versions of the track on them, especially if there are a few obscure remixes thrown in.”