Biz Martinez makes magic happen. And pulling rabbits out of hats is for amateurs. As music director and talent buyer for LIV and Arkadia at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Biz is the ringmaster, drawing big-ticket bookings week after week.
Flash back to 2001 and you won't find that superhero streak of grey hair that he wears so well today. He was just a kid, promoting for the warehouse that would eventually become one of the most famed after-hours clubs in the world -- Club Space. It was the start of a ten-year tale on the Miami club scene. Ten years of bookings. Ten years of parties. Ten years of Biz.
This Thursday, Biz will celebrate yet another year in the biz (pun definitely intended) with DJ Thomas Gold at LIV. And in preparation, Crossfade got a history lesson with the maestro himself, as he listed his ten most epic career moments.
10. 2001: Be Yourself With Danny Tenaglia at Space
"Danny broke big records before anyone else" Biz says. "He was a DJ's DJ. And come to think of it, if the club ever felt like a classroom, it was that night. I remember seeing Carl Cox and John Digweed sweatin' it up among a colorful sea of others on the floor that morning. Danny, the maestro, had the place hypnotized. He carried on for about 16 hours and broke records like Rui da Silva's 'Touch Me' that morning. This was my first of three and a half years with Space."
9. 2002: The Bullitt Bookings Mixer at Space
"Being on the Terrace and watching Behrouz, Desyn, and Omid go record for record in perfect sync was like watching a six-armed, three-headed DJ command the open-air Space patio at sunrise. Oh yeah, Danny Howells followed that up with some proper disco-tronic funk and Deep Dish played a marathon in the mainroom. 'Nuff said."
8. 2003: Sander Kleinenberg's Conference Party at Space
"The transition from the old Space to its new location wasn't the smoothest. The intimacy and the vibe of the old were gone. But Sander K made it come alive all over again. He repped tracks like Nicolas Vallee's 'New New York' and Seelenluft's 'Manila (Ewan Pearson Remix)' so well. His personality and charisma poured out from behind the decks. It's like if the fucker was glowing!"
7. 2004: My "In" Wednesdays Weekly Party at Cafeteria
"If there was ever a full-on industry shit show, this was it! I'd do some off-the-wall shit at this party, like bring classic Atari video games and Connect Four. Some of us were goin' through dark times that year and we'd let it out on Wednesday nights. Guys like Oscar G, Cedric Gervais, and Roland would come in and play whatever they effin' felt like. Serious hangovers were had."
6. 2004: The Birth of Sundance at Amika
"This was the year when Sundance really took shape at Amika and it led to seven years of working alongside my partners Stephan Luke and Kristine Hall. Artists like Danny Tenaglia, Sasha, and Erick Morillo played this weekly. It's the second longest running weekly in Miami behind The Vagabond's Back Door Bamby. It's been a seven-year celebration of life. It's always been organic, electronic, hence that cute little sunflower/speaker icon I designed back in 2006."
5. 2005: Made in Miami Sundays at Mansion
"Everything's been done, so people are constantly recreating stuff. Today, I feel I was a part of inspiring a lot of really cool new projects, and Made in Miami at Mansion was one of them. It was the first-ever residency for Oscar G and Ralph Falcon together as Murk in Miami. We hosted the likes of Tenaglia and Josh Wink, and were doing over 1,200 people on Sunday night. We basically turned the glitz and glam of Mansion into grit and grunt. We frustrated a lot of competing club owners and made believers out of the industry haters."
4. 2005: Local Celebrity at Nocturnal
"This party was designed to be a spoof of all the cheesy celebrity host bullshit that was happening on the Beach at the time. Clubs had Britney Spears as a celebrity host on their marquee and we had The Cat in the Hat and Bert & Ernie, among others. It was my 'Fuck You' to the industry. But really besides that, it was all about local and industry folk. Hence the name, Local Celebrity. I know what you're thinking: Nocturnal is a dump. Well, it wasn't always like that. This club was a game changer in Downtown. Local Celebrity brought back the vibe of the old Space terrace and the colorful personalities."
3. 2007: Pure Behrouz Monthly Parties at Suite
"I remember having this overwhelming pressure that I had to put on a kickass show. I had a lot to prove and no doubt it was another big challenge making underground music work at a SoBe posh VIP club. But around 2 a.m. when it popped off, I snuck away into the back room and just thanked God and got all emotional and shit. Fortunately no one walked in on me. I went on to do six shows, four with Behrouz and two with Tenaglia. Behrouz and I became a traveling circus for the next three years around SoBe."
2. 2009: Danny Tenaglia at SET for Biz Martinez's Birthday
"This party was like three years of parties all bundled into one. Anyone who was a part of the local dance community was there in good spirits. I themed it an Alice in Wonderland production and it was effin' wild. Ended up being one of our biggest Sundance parties ever and definitely my most memorable."
1. 2011: Music director of LIV and Arkadia
"In this business, you have to evolve and/or reinvent yourself to survive. If you don't, you're a dinosaur. So when offered the position of music director/talent buyer for LIV/Arkadia by Dave Grutman, I gave it a week's hard thought. I had to divorce my independence, so to speak, and that's a huge deal for me. While it hasn't been exactly puppy dogs and ice cream, I'm incredibly thankful, as the experience has been priceless. Here I am today. I hope to stay a while."
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Biz Martinez's Birthday Bash with Thomas Gold. Thursday, October 27. LIV, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. Call 305-674-4680 or visit livnightclub.com.