Record-breaking Danish DJ and tropical house producer Martin Jensen is currently on his biggest US tour as a special guest for Lost Kings — you may be familiar with his breakthrough track, ‘Solo Dance,’ which had over 1.2 million streams daily upon its release, as well as going 8x platinum; he also just collabed with James Arthur and remixed Katy Perry. Most recently, Martin landed #45 on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ poll. We caught up before his set at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club and covered the rise of his career, driving an RV around the country, and how to get signed on his upcoming new label.
You just got off an RV…
■ It was a long trip. We came from Austin and I’ve been driving all the way. It was nice to drive across America, but would’ve been good if we had more days than just doing it in four; that’s just way too short. I literally drove 14 hours a day.
How did you end up driving?
■ I thought it would be a good idea.
Is this your first time in Boston? And are you driving more after tonight’s show?
■ Yes and yes, only going to New York [after].
And you’ve been there, right?
■ Plenty of times, playing a lot at LAVO, Webster Hall, and another venue. New York has been pretty good, LA as well. And now we’re the special guest for Lost Kings so that’s very exciting.
Are you on the whole run of their tour?
■ Most of it. One weekend we’re out because we have some shows in Europe that were already booked, then we come back for five or six more.
It must be nice to go back there. You’re from a small town in Denmark, right?
■ I grew up in a small village with 1,200 people and now I’m living in the capital of Denmark — Copenhagen — and moving soon again.
Do people from your village know who you are and what you’re doing? Is it a big deal when you return?
■ Yeah they go crazy. With 1,200 people, of course people know. It’s really hard to go back even if I don’t tell anybody I’m home; everybody would know after a little while.
When you first got started, you wanted to be a lighting guy.
■ Yeah, I like doing the lighting and the show kind of thing, and I love to swap it up and be in the spotlight. I’m still in all the productions to create my vision so people can both see the vision and hear the music.
How did you end up on the DJ side? What was your first opportunity?
■ I was 15. We have this thing in Denmark called Mobile Disco, so you have a lot of gear; taking it with you, setting it up somewhere, and playing and breaking down and going back home. One day I just wanted to create something for myself and it kicked off.
And you liked it — you have a great stage presence.
■ Thank you, I love being on stage.
Congrats on DJ Mag #45 — you moved up a few slots.
■ We moved up 9 spots. It’s actually pretty funny because we swapped from 54 to 45. Now we’re 45, top 50 in the world and top three in Scandinavia so it’s pretty dope.
I saw the video when you revealed your ranking at ADE — your behind the scenes content is great. What were some highlights of that trip?
■ We had a bunch of meetings that were really good and played a show with Sam Feldt. The DJ Mag reveal was amazing; my manager had known for the last month when we went to ADE, but I told him I wanted to be surprised when we were there.
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So you’re playing tonight, then New York and you have a few shows after that, before Europe.
■ We’re going to Atlantic City Saturday then we’re doing a touristy thing. Sunday afternoon we’re going to an outlet mall that’s famous in America, then we’re going to Denver for some national parks. I love nature and taking photos as well. That’s what we’re going to try to do on the week days, then shows again Friday and Saturday.
That’s probably one of the best parts of the job, seeing all these places even if you don’t necessarily get to hang out in them.
■ Yeah. The drive we had here was amazing, we’ve been through everything. The only thing we didn’t see was desert and snow, but lots of mountains and hills.
You’re not working on music on the road, are you?
■ Not while I’m driving…
I would hope not. Are you the type of person who needs to be at home in a studio, or can you work while traveling?
■ We can sit down and try to come up with something for sure.
Are you working on anything now?
■ A lot. Honestly if you asked me last week, I thought it was this single and this week I think it’s this single and two weeks ago I thought it was another single, so I’m completely clueless. But it’s gonna be good. Also, I’m doing a label.
■ I’m opening The Ordinary Label in the new year where I’m going to sign artists to it as well. I really want to create something in the pop and EDM world, to create a whole new universe for artists. I want to help them be where I am today, to travel the world and play gigs all around the world. I want to give my experience to them and create new artists.
What would be your best advice for someone who wants to be signed?
■ Never send demos you don’t feel yourself. If you feel your demo, if you feel your track, send it. If the first thing you’re going to write is, ‘I know it’s not there yet,’ don’t send it. Send it when you know it’s there because if you’re already telling me it’s not there yet, I will not listen to it in the same way as a master production that you loved the most and sent me.
Do you look at other things like social presence?
■ If the track is good then we can work on everything else. Of course it’s easier to break it if there are socials around [the artist] already, but if the artist is good enough for the music production-wise, then why not go with it.