Dominick Martin is as quiet as a mouse, but his memorable tunes like 2006′s “Carry Me Away” and 2005′s “Got A Thing” do much of the talking for him. Since 1998, this soft-spoken, yet consistent and prolific Northern Irishman, who originally hails from Belfast, has been releasing music under his Calibre moniker, including seven artist albums and countless singles, EPs, and remixes. Understandably, along the way, he’s gathered quite a loyal following from true believers within the drum & bass community, including Fabio, who first signed him to his own Creative Source label; Soul:r labelmate and collaborator Marcus Intalex; and more. In 2003, he launched his own Signature label as an outlet for his own production work and collaborations, including the aforementioned tunes.
Today Martin releases Fabriclive 68: Calibre, for London club Fabric’s huge mix series. Beatport News seized it as a golden opportunity to chat with “the quietest man in drum & bass” about that new mix, the current state of D&B, dancing in his parents’ kitchen to his tune on the radio, and his desire to remix the classical piano stylings of Chilly Gonzales.
What was the concept behind the new Fabric mix?
It’s an honest representation of what I’ve been playing over the years. I like to play music with soul and groove, and I want people to hear the subtle and beautiful alongside the moodier and darker elements that drum & bass has to offer.
What was it like doing your first CD mix? Working with Fabric?
Well, it was definitely a learning experience, which is always good—not always enjoyable but it’s important to try new things. The alignment of certain things becomes more challenging with time and material constraints. The people I met at Fabric have been great. Obviously, it’s been a longstanding relationship, as I’ve been playing there at the club for a number of years, so it makes it easy in that respect.
How has playing at Fabric helped you develop your signature sound?
I think it’s part of a bigger picture, one that constantly flows this way and that, as a club that I have visited many times it becomes an experience interlinked with the city and the people, so it allows me to allay a sense of the unknown when I play there. As far as signature goes, well, it’s the recipient of my crazy life and all that is contained within. It’s my own palace of expression.
Over the years, what is your secret of success with the music and your own Signature label?
I don’t think I’ve done much more than recognize a few things about the world and myself in it. And, I suppose it could mean, basically, it’s easy when you are in love; the administration aspect isn’t easy, but going into my studio most days makes me pretty happy.
As you look back across your extensive catalog, what do you think is your legacy? What would you like it to be?
I want people to be able to feel the soul in everything, including the 175-bpm variants I find myself writing.
What is your favorite experience, anecdote, or memory over the years?
I can’t answer that easily; there are way too many. I have seen many things through the eyes of a wandering musician. I remember for the first time one of my tunes being played on the radio; it was very cool dancing around my parents’ kitchen.
What do you think has been your greatest achievement to date?
Making a living from doing something I love.
What are some of your favorite new and classic tracks? How do you think they’ll stand the test of time?
On my new drum & bass album, I’ve made some more drum & bass with my own vocals. There’s one that I love entitled “Close to Me.” It’s melancholy drum & bass, which I found energizing to write. As far as the test of time goes, I’m not sure I could tell you that. I know I loved making it.
How do you feel about being an inspiration for an entire new generation of DJs, producers, and electronic musicians? What advice would you give them?
Well, of course, it would be a privilege for me if that’s the case. But I feel very lucky just to be here, so it’s a real bonus, if I can keep writing for another 30 years. I’d love to. Advice? Well, I think all the old adages come into play, but being patient and true to yourself are things that everyone can live by.
Looking forward, what are you working on now? What do you have planned in the near future?
I have three albums to release this year and an assortment of singles and remixes to come on other labels. I have a new drum & bass album as yet untitled, which should be out late spring/early summer. Another album completed and titled is Dominick Martin Valentia, which is a more experimental affair that moves into new areas for me. Lastly, I have Shelflife to come after those two; it’s a compilation I started a few years ago, encompassing the unreleased material I have accumulated, and is currently being compiled for release as the third in its series.
What would your dream musical collaboration be?
I’d love to make some ambient music with Brian Eno if he’d let me…
What is the one track that you’ve always wanted to remix?
I’d love to remix stuff from Chilly Gonzales’ Solo Piano. I think it’s a very beautiful album with lots of space. Sorry, it’s not one.
What does the future hold for you, your music, and drum & bass as a whole?
I’d like to branch out into different styles and find some new avenues to discover and develop my art alongside my music. As far as drum & bass goes, I think it still breathes in an interesting way. I’d like to be writing at faster tempos for as long as I can, finding pleasure in this world we live in.