By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
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New Yorker Shauna Slevin is a veteran label manager and house music hustler, but she has a slightly strange scheduling stipulation when booking international trips for the Martinez Brothers. European gigs are limited to Saturday nights as the guys have a prior commitment on Fridays: high school. Apparently, playing at Respect is Burning in Paris or touring Portugal is just not a valid excuse for absenteeism at their Bronx school.
Within the last year, without getting any detention to speak of, Chris, 15, and Steve, 18, have played at Danny Krivit's monthly soiree and have been guest selectors at the New York City institution Club Shelter. Do the math and find out that Timmy Regisford's party started the same year that Chris, the younger Martinez, was born. "It's really cool for us," Steve says. "A lot of kids our age don't really get to get into these clubs, let alone play in them!"
Since their father hung out at the Paradise Garage and other underground hotspots of yesteryear, there doesn't need to be a generation gap in the Martinez household. In fact Steve credits his pop for first playing them the records that ignited their love of the warm and soulful sounds of disco and house. "If it wasn't for our father introducing us to this," Steve says, "none of this would be happening right now."
The brothers have found an industry mentor in New York house producer Dennis Ferrer, whom they first contacted via the social networking Website MySpace. Ferrer helped them polish their DJ skills and brought them into the studio, the fruits of which have yielded an impressive debut single, "My Rendition," released on Ferrer's label, Objektivity Records. Steve says working with Ferrer has been "amazing and surreal because of the fact that we always looked up to him as a producer. He's been teaching us so many things."
Walk into a soulful house happening these days and the space is filled with people well past their twenties and thirties, yet there is a youthful energy amidst the baby powder clouds. In house music a genre that's constantly looking back the Martinez Brothers give dance music a positive reason to look ahead to a bright, funky future.