The Bug in London, a city with a deep influence on his sound. Yeah, except he did manage to bail for Berlin for a place with greater potential. Photo courtesy Ninja Tune.

The Bug in London, a city with a deep influence on his sound. Well, except he did manage to bail for Berlin for a place that “signals potential … massive potential.” And now in Berlin, he can bring a gospel of music beyond four-on-the-floor to the planet’s prime techno cathedral. Photo courtesy Ninja Tune.

The Bug, indeed. If you could insert Kevin Martin like a data glitch into the music scene and watch the wonderfully-corrupted results, you wouldn’t be too far off. (See the datamoshed music video below for a visual representation.) Under the name The Bug, or as GOD, Techno Animal, Ice, Curse of the Golden Vampire, Pressure, and King Midas Sound, he has collaborated with everyone from John Zorn to Anti-Pop Consortium to the Beastie Boys. And through all of it, there’s a sense Martin can pick up any genre or instrument (sax? dancehall?) and make something new.

But if this appears to come easy, Martin is able to get personal and talk about the struggle to find that individual voice.

Small But Hard Records in Berlin shares with CDM a podcast they’ve done with The Bug. The timing is just right: The Bug is fresh off releasing the EP Filthy last month, and is now finishing the new Angels and Devils, each on Ninja Tune.

As he tells Small But Hard, the title is a personal one, the goal being:

…to stretch the parameters – amplify the angels and devils, make it more hateful on one side and more beautiful on the other.

Martin speaks to every aspect of his journey through music, and how he looks for individualist character and “hybrid aesthetics” in his collaborations, too. He talks about the influence of post-punk music on his work, how that connects to DIY ethos in producing and releasing. And he talks a bit about fleeing London.

But I think at the heart of the discussion is an embrace of post-punk DIY diversity that will likely resonate with producers reading this site:

It’s important to start somewhere, and realize there’s an alternative to the … mainstream attempt to passify everyone and drain you all of creativity. For me, what was important was to start exploring. Making music for me has been a way of interpreting the world outside that window.

I do like to edit interview transcripts when I can and do text, but in a way, it’s nice to hear little pauses as he speaks – as he works things out in his head.

And this:

To make the perfect song for me is an impossible task, so I have to hope that I keep baring myself with each attempt.

Small But Hard hosts The Bug on Thursday at Berghain, in collaboration with one of our favorite music sites, BLN.FM. It will also be the Berlin debut of Flowdan (Roll Deep) and a terrific lineup that is very much not what is associated with either Berghain or Berlin.

The Bug + Flowdan [Facebook Event]
Resident Advisor
Small But Hard
The Bug @ Ninja Tune

And while you wait for him to come to your neck of the woods, check him out, in just a few recent videos (not all lyrics safe for work):

  • Nagasaki Nightrider

    Thanks for this post. Kevin Martin is the man. True gent and absolutely uncompromising in his approach to music and sound.

  • Aaron Zilch

    So far ahead of his time it’s ridiculous. “Brotherhood of the Bomb” and “Pressure” combined extreme distorted industrial style sound design with hip hop and dub rhythms a decade before the explosion of “bass music”. I’d say Skillex owes him royalties, but Sonny probably never even heard them. But almost undoubtably Martin was a big part of the the influence to his influences…

  • Josh Hinden

    Great stuff! Thanks for this.

  • SunRa1

    i don’t know about the man much….just being similar with is name ans some of his contacts to other great musicians on the planet…..i’ve heard his name many times mentioned in The Wire magazine. Under the pseudo Techno Animal that was great powerfull music….thats for sure!!! I think he also something to do with great Godflesh with J.Broadrick… as a sum he’s the man for heavy sounds & good music…no discussion