Martim Joao a.k.a. M&M's is a Portuguese d.j. whose down-tempo sets cover a wide range of genres such as neo-classical, idm, ambient, psychedelic and jazz.
I felt this suited our eclectic tastes and asked Martim to submit a mix. As he finds profiles boring we opted for this interview to accompany the mix instead.
1) Could you tell us a little about yourself and what inspires you to dj in the ambient genre?
Well I've always been a music maniac; I was raised listening to Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Chopin, by my mid teens I discovered the love generation Classics such as Patti Smith, The Doors, Jimmy Hendrix and the Psychedelic Masters Pink Floyd. Different projects followed like Dead Kennedys, Crass, Sonic Youth, Swans, Young Gods, Diamanda Galas, Test Dept, Pixies, Fura del Baus etc. This was in the late 80's and music was rapidly changing. I started compiling my favorite tracks into K7s and playing them everywhere, from private parties with friends to everybody's Walkman. I had to get the right order to make some kind of sense or story.
In 1990 I went to live in South America and started to listen to more ethnic tunes and traditional folk music from around the world, it was only when I got back home in the late 90's that I was introduced to electronic soundscapes, drum'n'bass and psy-trance. The ambient genre was always present but I didn't really looked at it as a genre, but more like a state of mind, a frequency where the tunes are in balance with my true nature, this is probably due to my childhood living in the country side listening to classical music. So for me Ambient is music, all the rest are arms that emerge from ambient, but don't get me wrong I love all those arms. :)
Inspiration is a tricky subject; it happens most of the time in short and subtle moments that are really out of my control, the hard part is the everyday research for tracks between hundreds of artists. The moment that a particular inspiration comes is blissful and I live for that hit, from that moment on I float away until the work is finished. I can't live without it, it’s like that feeling when you find an amazing track and you play it over and over again like there's no tomorrow. That you've found the music and heavens doors are finally opened. Sometimes the true engine is a book or a movie, or just an interesting subject that crossed my mind talking to a friend, or a documentary of science or history, or just a simple and quiet morning observing nature’s simplicity.
2) You played a four hour chillout set at the Boom festival in Portugal, how did you find the experience?
DJ sets at Boom in the ambient area are always 4 hours long and I really dig it. It’s just the right amount of time in order to go into a full journey through different ambient spaces. I've always enjoyed long sessions - once I played a gig in South Africa for 12 hours! :)
The experience was amazing, Boom Festival is the right place and time to move forward in every aspect, it’s a Tribal gathering from all over the planet, lots of friends from many places join to express life and enjoy that awareness. So, yes it was amazing. It was great to have the 5pm/9pm schedule to make the transition from Sun to Moon, people enjoyed it and I was really happy with the outcome.
3) Your currently compiling a compilation cd "Noosphere" could you tell us a little more about the project?
Well I'm still compiling the VA to www.ajnavision.com, hopefully it will come out in early 2011, it is a digital release from a young Portuguese label, check the site for updates and releases.
4) When creating your sets do you prefer hardware, software or a combination of the two?
I’ve always worked with my CDJs-100 and DJM-300 from Pioneer, just recently because one of the CDJ got broken I tried some software and I found it really useful, so nowadays I use both, the software to edit tracks, samples and add effects, and the CDJ to mix all together.
5) Now for the Old Desert Island Disc question. Name three ambient albums you couldn’t live without?
Well that's a hard one really, especially because I really extract my favorite tracks and forget about the other ones...
I can say that presently I'm amazed by the work of Jon Hopkins, Doyeq, Field Rotation and Murcof.
But I have more than a few great albums that I can't live without and some of them are not really ambient:
Bob Holroyd - The Hallow Man
Sandoo - Twilight
Brian Eno & Robert Fripp - Evening Star
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Jon Hopkins - Insides
Doyeq - Eyelashes of lanterns
Murcof & Erik Trufazz - Mexico
Field Rotation - Licht und Schatten
Amon Tobin - Permutation
Asura - life2
Bruno Sanfillippo - Piano Textures 1 and 2