Calibre Interview

The mighty Calibre, aka Dominick Martin, took a few minutes out of his day to answer a couple of questions about his recent tour, his tune on C.I.A’s Tuned-In 2 Compilation, upcoming (non-D&B) projects, and spiders.

– The drum & bass scene is full of loud, over-the-top personalities. Yet, you have a reputation for being pretty quiet. How do you succeed in that sort of environment?

I think the world is full of over the top everything so I suppose I’ve gotten used to sitting quietly and waiting my turn, It helps me that I have a clearly defined area between my reality and my work which is more to do with pragmatism than anything.

– How were you introduced to jungle/drum&bass?

Simple answer for this one…it was my older brother Christopher who was ordering jungle records through record stores in Belfast, at first I didn’t really like it, but as with many things in life I grew to love it with time.

– You just came through the States on tour. How was the tour overall? Favorite stops or crowds?

I really liked my journey to Austin, I have to say it was wonderful to meet people there, very interesting on many levels, plus I wasn’t playing there so it allowed me to be the passive observer, sometimes the compression of events and moments get lost in the job cycle, so to be a tourist was very nice, I regret not meeting any large spiders though, I would have enjoyed that,

Boston was great, really enjoyed the crowd, I suppose they figured out I was Irish, it felt like what Belfast should be for me but isn’t, and I also enjoyed Pittsburgh, for my first time there I found it to be a very interesting place, and cool people,
But id like to say that everyone I met on tour was really nice…..not the TSA though they suck balls.

– I know you spent a few extra days in Texas while on tour. What were your thoughts of our fair state before and after visiting?

Well it was an education I have to say, It has changed my previous view of the place, although I was there for only a small time I feel as though I tasted some of the real Texas, my picture of it was primarily painted by the wonderful Bill Hicks, so I was always ready to abandon the loosely held stereotype.

The warmth of the Irish isn’t so different, so it feels more like home to me than the other parts of America, but hey I’ve only saw a fraction so…….

– You have a tune coming out called “Clipper Man” on C.I.A’s Tuned-In 2 Compilation. What was the inspiration for the track, and can you give me any insight into its name?

haha! Ok the name is derived from an incident at Fabric, a club in London, I needed a lighter and asked around, in the meantime DRS gave me his lighter, but a white dreaded man felt like he needed to argue with me about the Clipper lighter being the “best lighter in the world man” and why I didn’t want to use his lighter,so he is the clipper man….. painfully irrelevant but funny. At the time.

– Back in 2001, your track “Behind The Sun” was featured heavily in the original Tuned-In compilation. Was that what lead you to sign another track to C.I.A for part 2?

Well I know Paul and Smithy for a long time, and I always have some tracks spare so…..

– What artist or music has had the most influence on you in your life?

Its hard to say, I have tried to answer these questions before but I don’t define influence as a clear cut thing, I’d say we have our preferences but throughout my life that has been challenged, I think whilst growing up in the eighties much of the music of that period would’ve permeated me in some sense, as the following decade did, its hard to say in reality, id like to think that everything has influenced me, can I say that? Otherwise its going to be a hell of a long list.

– You’ve done your own vocals for some time. Do you enjoy singing?

This is an interesting thing for me, I don’t find it easy to sing so I have to choose my moments, I have to wait for the feeling to be there, and sometimes that’s when I’m unhappy or troubled, or just when it comes along, so it actually requires some patience on my part which is not something I have in abundance,
When I have something solid to work on I enjoy it, I require honesty in the sound of my voice rather than literal meaning, and I think because my approach is somewhat different to most it ends up being quite unique.

– Can you give some insight on any upcoming projects?

Next up is my Dominick Martin LP called Valentia which is a singer songwriter type of affair, it isn’t D&B, and it isn’t made for clubs, it has been a very personal journey for me and I hope people can hear that on the record, the title comes from a visit I made 2 years ago to an island of the west coast of County Kerry in south west Ireland, I rented a house there for 2 weeks and as luck would have it one of the rooms contained a piano, which I then sampled. So these samples are the parts that form the basis of the LP that was finished a year or so later, and I’m very proud of it,
There is a lot more to the island and my own family history that I won’t allude to here, its enough to fill a few pages, but there are links that are quite extraordinary, I can say to my eyes the island and surrounding areas are so beautiful it would move me to tears.
And after that I have another D&B LP…yep another one…..which will be out soon after the Valentia LP
still working the lineup but it will be finished very soon, its taken me a much longer time to finish because of the previous album, at the moment its still untitled.
And after that I got Shelflife 3…and that’s another compilation of unreleased tracks over the years, the 3rd in the series……and all of these will be on Signature records.

– Do you have some favorite artists trying to break through we should know about?

My favorite D&B guy right now is probably Dub Physics hailing from Manchester, I like his deep dubby dance floor vibe, he’s also a bit mad….which I like.

– Finally, you are something of an entomologist. What led to your fascination with insects? Do you have a favorite?

My interest is primarily dedicated to the world of the Spider, I’ve always been interested in them, since I was a child, I think that they are an amazing and diverse group of animals, I think my favorite would be the Jumping spiders, certain species exhibit signs of real intelligence, plus they look sorta cute, which helps disarm the fear mechanism in many people concerning these wonderful creatures, I wish that the fear mechanism’s for all things could be disarmed, but then the human race might get somewhere.

– Many thanks to Calibre for taking time out of his schedule to answer our questions. Tuned-in 2 is being released this month.

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