Nauga in conversation with Martin Karminsky – superstar DJ and musician

I am feeling very groovy today! The talented DJ and musician, Martin Karminsky who has provided me with hours of In Flight Entertainment joins me today

Martin Karminsky drinks espresso with James Karminsky looking on

Martin Karminsky with James (background)

 

Martin, currently starring in the new Vinylmania film, is one half of the Karminsky Experience. He has often DJed at Gentle People shows where I too have performed. 

In addition to regular DJing, the Karminsky Experience have created a variety of compilations as well as a triplet of original albums which are perfect for parties. They have also produced many remixes for a variety of artists including Travel Bug for The Gentle People.

Lets step through the Bamboo Curtain and meet the star of todays interview, Martin!

MK: Hello! Nice to see you again – when was the last time we saw each other?

Nauga: Its good to see you again too, Martin.  It’s been a while but I was just thinking of the time we danced in Berlin at the Templehof airport after The Gentle People performance. You DJed there with Le Hammond Inferno if I recall correctly.

Templehof airport interior

Templehof airport interior

MK: Yes, that was a groovy party and a really memorable night.  That’s the only time we’ve DJ’ed and been able to look out over a runway at the same time.  I remember walking through the arrivals hall with my box of records thinking this can’t be the place.

Nauga: Ah so many clubs and parties. You also went to Japan and DJed with The Gentle People there didnt you? In fact, you have DJed globally clearly an influence for Exploration and perhaps behind choosing Travel Bug (smiles). Where on planet earth have you had the grooviest time and why?

Artwork for Exploration

Artwork for Exploration

MK: It’s been a real pleasure travelling and DJing, we’ve had so many great nights at groovy places.  The ones that immediately spring to mind are the Stereo Bar (Copenhagen), The Golden Poodle Bar (Hamburg) and more recently the Tate Modern (London).

We’ve done tours of Italy and Austria with Montefiori Cocktail and  DJ’d for Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (at the ICA) and at the Scala for Hugh Hefner and Russ Meyer.

Karminskys and Burt

Martin, Burt and James

 

Then there was the time we  met Burt Bacharach!

A bit closer to home we always have a fantastic time at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club.  There’s something about the room that really suits our sound.

Snapshot artwork

Snapshot artwork

 

 

Nauga: Yes and it’s got a great dancefloor too. I will be chatting with James Karminsky at a later date but I wanted to get a Snapshot of the world of the Karminsky Experience from you today. What is important to you in a Karminsky Experience?

MK: I think it has to be the groove – a groovy bassline is always a good starting point.

espresso espresso cover

Espresso espresso cover

 

Nauga: I am partial to an Espresso Espresso –  not just a double coffee but one of your compilations. And I know youve done much more than that. Tell me about your aural influences and also, what other listening pleasures can you suggest for us Naugae to listen to on Naugalyne?

MK: One of the earliest influences on the Karminsky sound was Henry Mancini; Breakfast at Tiffany’s (for me) and Charade (for James).  From there it was a natural step into the world of Easy Listening and we started buying up all the groovy looking easy listening and soundtracks we could find in local charity shops – in those days there was so many records to discover and all available really cheap!  We’d already been DJing for a few years and we started incorporating these new records into our sets and they sounded great – imagine how it was for us hearing Mambo Mania by Bert Kaempfert through club speakers for the first time!  And the good thing is that there’s still so much music out there to discover.

Nauga: As a Curious Observer, I noticed that your album artwork is by the Jonny Clayton who has often featured me on The Gentle Peoples album artwork. You could consider me as a guest on your next release perhaps? In the meantime, what are your visual influences?

Artwork for the Hip Sheik EP

The Hip Sheik

MK:  Jonny’s so important to Karminsky and has designed the cover for every record we’ve done – he’s practically the 3rd member of Karminsky.

We’ve always thought visually when making music – tracks like Assignment Istanbul and The Hip Sheik are fully formed films in our minds!  We used to do nights with the Light Surgeons where all the walls were covered with looped 60’s film clips and we had all the music and visuals co-ordinated so we’d play a space set and the visuals would be space themed.

I also find the graphic works of Maurice Binder (“Binder pays a blinder!) and Saul Bass incredibly inspiring.

Saul Bass artwork collage

Saul Bass artwork

Nauga: Fabulous visuals and I know the Gentles also love this work. Speaking of which, you have had a long connection with The Gentle People as part of the wider collective. What has been your favourite connection with the GPs and is there anything youd like to do that you havent as yet?

Towa Tei

Towa Tei

Cornelius

Cornelius

MK:  It would have to the party at Yellow in Tokyo when The Gentle People played. I remember being quite starstruck that Cornelius was there, and then being a bit intimidated that Towa Tei was standing looking over my shoulder when I was DJing.

 

 

As for something yet to do, wouldn’t it be great to create a Lounge Festival in London? We could DJ, the Gentles could headline. We could get all our friends like Lorraine Bowen, Rory More and Montefiori Cocktail involved! Let’s do it!

 

 

 

Nauga: Like me, I know you have been featured in adverts. Youve also been working with Rory More and others. Whats coming up for the Karminskys that we should watch out for?

MK: We’ve just done a remix for a band called Stereo Venus – they were a duo of Rory More and Sarah Joyce (now more famous as Rumer).  The track’s called “John Sebastian’s Girl” and should be out early next year.  We’ve also been working on some new Karminsky ideas which I hope will also be out next year.

Rory and Rumer

Nauga: Groovy! I am looking forward to hearing it. But, saying farewell its time for a Departure… Do you have a message for the Gentle friends, family and fans?

MK:  Stay groovy and keep listening to music! (smiles)

Nauga: Thanks for providing me with some groovy times and tunes today, Martin. Finally, as you know I was recently lost in spacetime. But, if you had the choice, what would it be? Hawaiian or Space?

SpacemanMK:   It would have to be Space for me.  Exploration!

Nauga: Of course – a fine choice. Until we meet again, I will indeed stay groovy!

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