House music DJs, producers, best friends and long term collaborators Seth Troxler and The Martinez Brothers have joined forces to bring a new platform to the table. This is more than just a label, this is Tuskegee.
Seth Troxler & The Martinez Brothers by Leo Quintero. Photography by Leo Quintero.
Seth Troxler is the Detroit born-and-raised DJ who has more character and more energy than any other DJ I've ever met. But he is more than just a charismatic DJ. Ask him any question to do with music and his genuine passion and love for it immediately emanates from him. Combining his undying love for music, culture and fashion, Seth has teamed up with the Bronx born, best-friend-brothers and like-minded house heads, Chris and Steve Martinez aka The Martinez Brothers (recent creators of the Givenchy autumn/winter 14 show soundtrack) to announce a brand new platform.
Born from their friendship and through the sharing of worldly experiences, Tuskegee is more than just another imprint. It's a home for the trio to showcase a side of their style, culture, upbringing and ethnicity through records, parties, videos and, potentially, the occasional garment. Raised in the 90s, growing up on the influence of Paradise Garage and the makings of the gay, black and Latino perspective, Tuskegee aims to reconnect with the moods and feelings associated with that era. We sat Seth and The Martinez Bros down with a dictaphone to eavesdrop on their personal jokes and discover more about Tuskegee.
Seth: I was trying to remember how we actually became friends?
Steve: I think it was DC10, We started playing at the club together. Sharing that global experience haha, feeling that chemistry.
Seth: Tuskegee came from us hanging out and realising we had quite a similar background and taste, growing up different places but nearer the same age and being in a way, American urban. It's a platform for us to make music as well as clothes and put out ideas from our unique cultural perspective.
Steve:Yeah, it's spawned just from us hanging out and having similar interest, which in this business, is pretty hard to find these days. We just put it out there to show who we are, not just musicians, not just as DJ's but as people, how we grew up.
Chris: It's an outlet for us to show our background and our interests, Seth's from Detroit and we're from New York but even then we had a really similar upbringing as far as TV, culture and clothes. It will be really interesting to show people where we come from.
Seth: Both our communities are coming together, as well as with our parents being interested in this music and their influence on us. Even the stuff that they passed on, that people definitely don't know about that we can show people you know!
Steve: I had this dope idea for a show we play where we bring out our favourite artist or band from back in the day and we perform with them two or three songs for the video entries just to show people our culture, who we are and what we like and try to introduce it to people.
Seth: Exactly. At the end of the day, everything isn't just dance music, there's so much more to us and our art and we needed a place to that stuff hang!
Steve: Yes, and this is for anybody who's interested!
Seth: In a way I guess our target audience would be like-minded people and maybe with a similar cultural background.
Chris: We know what people our age are going to feel because we hang out with people our age all the time, so we know what they want. We are going to put it out in a way that is going to translate to them, but also what we like as well.
Seth: If you look at dance music, from the 2000s has been dominated by the European, German or the British perspective but us coming in as Americans and African American as well, people of colour, bring that perspective back over and throwing that into the mix and trying to match with other people who have the same kind of views on like but don't consider dance music to be a musical possibility…
Seth: …They can relate to us culturally but theres only been this perspective from the European side that they didn't see, we're bringing all that in, check out these ideas that are new, different and musically quite experimental, so we will bring in a whole new audience of people that were formerly were lost in the wrinkle of EDM and European dance music, we're trying to bring back some flavour to the whole shift.
Steve: Culturally as well, it's such a European market in the dance music scene that we're in, it would be so cool to show what it was like in the 90's and what we were listening to from our cultural perspective, and that was the domination of what was cool in Europe at that time. Look at Paradise Garage, that was the black and Latino perspective in New York at that time and that's what created those ideas and feelings. That's just a historical fact. So we're trying to bring back those ideas and connect with the culture that was lost prior to now with some 90s nostalgia.
Seth: We package nostalgia from our heritage!
Chris: What do you think it will be like for us running the label?
Seth: We're figuring that out right now!
Steve: We've got a record, that's the most important part and its a great record as well!
Chris: Lets not forget about the other records we're sleeping on!
Steve: At the moment we're basically going with the flow and just seeing how it all rolls out. It's not like we sat down and said guys it's time to run a music label now. It just came up!
Chris: How can we put out music and not do it how every music label has done? Let's just do everything that we totally have to do, and have fun with it!
Seth: We are essentially still amateurs and being amateur is the thing. Coming up with ideas and just doing it! It came from us just hanging out at the after parties talking shit. Its never been that considered.
Steve: Yeah except the aesthetic really…
Seth: We made a mood board and I brought in a graphic designer from New york, he's a genius kid that I met when I was in art school. We went through the ideas of what this is going to be, and we were like this is what it is, broke it down and we've been working with him to really mould the image.
Chris: Combined with our artwork as well it will be a pot puree of different things!
Seth: What purpose does music have in your lives?
Steve: Music is an experience. We've grown up with music all our lives, it's a part of us. It depends on the record though, when you hear that one record that makes you feel oooh and one that makes you want to cry.
Chris: It can make you feel any type of way, any emotion. If I want to throw up, I'll put on some Avicii.
Chris: What's your preferred vibe for a tune?
Seth: I like introspective psychosis, that's my preferred state consciousness.
Steve: Cuddly, anything with waist gyration, anything of that nature. If it's not from the waist, its not my taste. Honestly, straight Jamiroquai vibes. That can get you into any kind of mood. We got to get him some vocals. You heard it first here.
Seth: You guys love fashion now as much as you love music right?
Steve: Haha no way but it's definitely something we're trying to hit. I don't know if we're into fashion.
Chris: We're into looking fresh in the hottest shit. We're not in deep into the fashion world but we do music and fashion and we we'll do the music for Givenchy [laughs].
Seth: You got loads of freedom with that right?
Steve: We had our own thing and we had meetings with them about the direction of the show itself. We brought them a couple of ideas and Riccardo Tisci liked a lot of them.
Chris: The best part was when we were asked about what we wanted to do. He just said whatever you feel is going to be hot. They gave us a couple of ideas though, like some dark music but for the most part there was a lot of freedom. It went really, really good. It was lots of fun!
Seth: When it starts getting stale and not fun, it's not cool.
Text James Hutchins
Photography Leo Quintero