Costa Rica’s new underground getaway, Ocaso Music Festival, is preparing to soundtrack the pristine Pacific playa with some of the underground’s most sought-after house and techno artists, January 4-7. In its second edition, Ocaso has become a prime destination for the global underground elite, offering a who’s who billing of beaconing industry titans. This year’s bill includes the infamously secretive Claptone, West Coast house originator Doc Martin, as well as Kenny Glasgow, Carlo Lio, HECTOR, Dirtybird’s Sacha Robotti, Huxley, the Desert Hearts crew, and many, many more. Ahead of Ocaso, Dancing Astronaut’s teamed up with the festival for an ongoing interview series spotlighting the cultural hotbed’s alluring, world-class acts.
Doc Martin has served as one of the most innovative and integral DJs on the West Coast club circuit across a career that’s spanned far beyond two decades. Having started spinning house records in the early nineties in San Francisco, Doc Martin quickly began to ascend in the West Coast warehouse party reigns with his eccentric flair at the forefront of his music.
Years of spinning epic sets that amalgamated deep house, cosmic disco, acid, techno, garage, and soul at clubs in the district earned Martin acclaim for presenting a seamless intersection of what many believed to be vastly disparate genres. Martin began to play for large crowds at Flammable Liquid and Sunday Love in 1996, where he then relocated to Los Angeles.
By the mid-90s, he’d already had one Essential Mix and a club residency under his belt and was a rousing favorite amongst crowds around the world. In 1996 he contributed to the fifth volume of the United DJs of America compilation, and in 1998 he followed up with the rousing release of The House Music Movement.
His mantra may very well be to be spin everything, and he truly shys away from nothing. It should come as no surprise then that he’s toured with a surreal array of acts. From artists like The Basement Jaxx and Daft Punk, to shows with James Brown, Grace Jones, and Inner City, Doc Martin is “an artist’s favorite artist” type — adored worldwide for his barrier-breaking soundscapes.
The icon has held a multitude of residencies and played at virtually ever underground club in the world. From the Panorama Bar at Berghain, to Grasshopper in Detroit, and Q Bar in Thailand, he’s deservingly doused many of the most renowned institutions in the world with his fervent productions.
Doc Martin will be taking his tantalizing talents to Costa Rica’s Ocaso festival, where he will be playing at La Senda, in the Costa Rican Jungle on Saturday, January 6.
What was your first label release? Would you still play it in a show?
“It was Doc’s Daily Funk on Groovalicious, Which was part of Strictly Rhythm back in the day : ).This Record was made in a Estate APT.(The Projects )in Hackney, London. I don’t know if I would play it, but I heard a few DJ’s in Europe drop it in the last couple of years.”
What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
“There were a few. Being one of the first west coast guys brought over to the UK, and Playing Basics/Ministry/Cream/Full Circle/Ultimate Bass for Carl Cox. Being a tour DJ for Deee-Lite didn’t hurt either. I think I was the first California guy to hold residencies in NYC, which was unheard of at the time. Flammable Liquid was major as well. I got to experiment and build a new sound there. Way to many things to mention.”
What’re your thoughts on the potential of Costa Rica as a cultural hotbed for underground house and techno?
“Costa Rica has been great for a while now! I think it’s the rest of the world, that’s finally catching up. The people are into the music bigtime, and the vibe has been good every time I’ve played there.”
What are you looking forward to most about Ocaso Festival?
“If it was anything like last year, all of it. Everyone rose to the occasion. The Vibe was so thick last year, and getting to do 5hr’s on the Main stage to close it out was extremely special!”
If you could be another artist for a day, whom would you pick?
“Bob Marley of course! He put out the right energy to the world, Which is probably needed more than ever now! Especially if I got to do a live show on that day as him(Mind Blown).
If you could recommend three artists to catch from the lineup, who would you pick?
“This is really an unfair question, as there are no weak links on the line-up. I would say Desert Hearts(See I was able to squeeze four into 1).Their vibe is thick! When we get together, Look Out!!!! Rodriguez Jr. is just in another world with his live show. Sublevel Live for the vocal, and vibe strength. Aargh there are too many good people on this line-up!!! Seriously for the musically inclined!!!
If you were recruited to provide an Essential Mix in 2018, what’s the one song you couldn’t leave
out and why?
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have two essential mixes under my belt. One of the unreleased tracks that Maceo Plex gave me, would be on there for sure!”
Ocaso festival will be held January 4 through January 7 in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Tickets, lineup, and more information are available here.