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Martin Jensen interview: "I want to work with artists who are smaller than me"
The Dane answers pressing questions such as the most professional person he's worked in the studio with, how London compares to Copenhagen and who's better out of Messi and Ronaldo.
Last updated: 16th Aug 2019
With a slot at this year's SW4 Festival, Demark's Martin Jensen is looking to further cement his reputation as a party starting selector of the highest order, bringing with him a treasure trove of remixes and collaborations that will liven up the festival's Capital stage no end.
During his career, Jensen has worked with British boyband The Vamps and X Factor superstar James Arthur, and most recently has collaborated with brass tooting big dog Timmy Trumpet on the rampant 'Rubber Bands'.
The Dane's career really took flight back in 2014, when he sampled simply the word 'Si' uttered by Cristian Ronaldo at the 2014 Ballon d'Or awards ceremony and once morphed into a fully fledged EDM banger, paved the way for Jensen's musical dominance.
Since then the DJ's career has followed an upward trajectory, and last year finished at number 54 on DJ Mag's coveted list of the 100 best DJs in the world, and this marked a rise of 16 places on the year before.
With world domination in his sights, as well the aforementioned SW4 slot, Skiddle's Henry Lewis caught up with Martin Jensen.
Hey Martin, how are you? Have you had a good summer of festivals so far?
Yes, hi and thank you for having me! Yeah I’ve had an amazing summer. I’ve been at festivals all over Europe plus all over Asia and all over the United States and for the first time I did Mexico and Bolivia and that was my first time in South America. So yeah I’ve been very busy – a lot of flying miles this summer!
You collaborate with other artists quite a lot - what makes you want to work with a particular artist? Does it vary?
I think right now with my upcoming releases I want to work with artists who are smaller than me. Artists that don’t have many streams and haven’t played that many shows yet. I wanna do that because it’s super selfish if you go out and you only wanna collab with guys that are bigger than you.
Like Timmy Trumpet just did a collaboration with me and he’s way bigger than me. So for him to do a collaboration with me, I appreciate it so much and I know how much I love it and what it means in the industry. I want to do the same thing with people who are smaller than me so I can help them out.
For example, what made you want to work with Timmy Trumpet and also James Arthur on some of your latest tracks?
James Arthur because he has the voice of an angel, and Timmy Trumpet because he is one of the most hilarious dudes.
Who is the most professional in the studio out of the people you have worked with?
This is actually a little fun story. I went to a studio session in London in a basement and when I arrived everything was good but the one singer we had on the track wasn’t allowed to do it because of management so we needed to get a new singer on that part we were missing out on. We ended up asking this girl called Hayla from Manchester to come and sing on it instead.
I didn’t really know what to expect as I’d never worked with her before. I asked her to sing this phrase so I could see where we were going. She opened her mouth and what came out was… I don’t know what it was! I’ve never heard a vocal like that before. It was so pure, it was so clean. It was the most beautiful vocal I’ve heard. Ever! I was like Holy Christ what is going on here! She was so professional throughout the whole session. It was the best vibe and it was probably one of the best sessions I’ve had.
You sampled Cristiano Ronaldo for your debut single 'Si' - are you always listening out for moments like that , that you can put into music?
I am, I am. It’s super difficult nowadays. It’s always good to keep your eyes open. That’s the way I started making music and I’ve also released four songs recently where I sampled something and released it, so yeah!
While we're talking about Ronaldo, who is better - him or Messi?
Ronaldo. The thing is, I had a discussion with my tour manager the other day and he’s a giant football fan and I’m not. I like football but I’m not dying for it. The thing I like about Ronaldo is that he has proven that you don’t need talent, you just need hard work.
Of course the guy is talented but his way to become the world’s best football player was by training every single day, day in day out. Messi, he’s just the talent. He just has it in his feet, if I give him the ball then he can do everything with the ball but Ronaldo worked hard to reach that level and I kind of respect that more than just going in and having a talent for something.
What have been some of your favourite performances of 2019? Can you describe what made them so good?
I played at Airbeat One in Germany and I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought I was performing on the main stage but I was actually performing in a tent. I was told on the day by my tour managers and I was like ‘I’m playing in a tent? Ookay’. The tent was the craziest tent I’ve played in. We packed it full, they couldn’t let any more people in. It was amazing and I had so many good reactions after the show. It was definitely one of the best performances of 2019.
I saw your Donald Trump track on Facebook - how long does it take to put something together like that??
I think it was like two, three hours or something. That’s fun you know.
I'm guessing you take the DJ Mag voting quite seriously then? What would it mean to you to finish in say, the top 10, or even to win the DJ Mag 2019 award?
Oh my God! Winning? Impossible. Top 10? Ahhh that’s gonna be a hard one. The thing is I know there’s a lot of different opinions of DJ Mag, some people love it and some people hate it but I kind of have that feeling because I’m the only one from Denmark that’s on the list so I have a sense of pride being on the list. I have to stand at the top.
If you’re thinking about how many DJs are in the world and you’re 54 out of all of them it’s super crazy to think about, even though it’s not top 10 or top 20. So I appreciate everything about it and I’ m not hating on it, I’m not breathing for it but I really appreciate everyone that’s voting for me.
What are your 5 favourite songs to put on when you've got the aux cable to get any house party started?
To be honest I never do that. I’m always afraid to put on a song and then half of the crowd don’t like it so I’d rather just do my DJ set and play everything I want to play there but plugging in my phone to the aux chord? No, I refuse to do that at every party and it’s pretty weird but I definitely refuse.
You're back in London for SW4 festival - do you like London as a city ? How does it compare to Denmark?
Yes and Ministry of Sound. To be honest, do I like London as a city? No. There’s two reasons why. 1. It takes two hours to get anywhere and 2. The phone connection is absolutely horrendous. But other than that it’s a lovely city. Those two things I hate about London but everything else is great.
I live in Copenhagen and it’s way smaller and way more cozy. I can walk from one side to the other and if I’m driving I can see the whole city in like 20 minutes. If you go from one side of London to the other it takes like two to three hours. It’s tight and small and you can get around. But London has so much more stuff.
You can get a shoot with the most amazing photographer or the most amazing stylist, and you can find collaborations. Where in Copenhagen you can't really do that. It’s impossible. You have to fly people in to get the best of the best. That’s the thing that’s a little bit sad about Copenhagen. But yeah that’s probably what I would say the difference is.