The Martinez Brothers Talk '90s Nickelodeon, Disco, and III Points

The Martinez Brothers Talk '90s Nickelodeon, Disco, and III Points

"Todo para la familia," says Steve, quoting The Brothers García.

"That's it exactly!" says Chris, who has just compared his brother and himself to the siblings from the early-'00s Nickelodeon show. "That even ties in with the other Nick shows."

New Times' interview with the Martinez Brothers has been dominated by '90s Nickelodeon references. So far, we've covered Ren & Stimpy, Hey Arnold!, and All That among the dozen or so Chris and Steve have reeled off.

"My Brother and Me," Steve tacks on toward the end.

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"Oh, yeah!" Chris cries in a rush of televisual nostalgia, "My Brother and Me! That's when they had 'goo punch.' Remember goo punch? That was a classic." There's a lull as the two meditate for a moment on goo punch.

"I dare anyone to come up with a better list than this," Steve says.

The Bronx-born brothers are hibernating in their Ibiza studio "cooking up beats" (when they're not talking about childhood television). From New York to the Mediterranean, they've infiltrated house music and become imperative valves in its beating heart. And it took them only a few years to do it. Their tracks mix melodies from hip-hop to disco with pretty consistent four-on-the-floor bass drums. But as we speak, they're experimenting with sounds both new and old. "Detroit, 1980s, techno-style stuff is going on over here," Chris says. "A lot of 135 bpm action."

From Steely Dan to Marvin Gaye, their list of non-electronic inspirations is as comprehensive as their favorite Nick shows and exemplifies the depth and breadth of their interests. The one thing these artists have in common: "They've all got soul," Steve says. "That's for damn sure. Even the electronic artists we love, they all got swag and soul." Chris adds, "And their own style."

These early-20-somethings are arguably the swaggiest, most soulful house DJs around. Their sets look less like calibrated sessions than tag-team wrestling matches — Chris commands the board as Steve jaunts around the crowd; then Steve sways back toward the dials as Chris hands off the headphones. It's so smooth it's spiritual.

"It's a party, but it has that [spiritual] element as well," Steve says. The two will lead the III Points congregation this Sunday, the final day of the Wynwood music festival. "When we have a party, we like to have fun, so blending in with the crowd is how we do it."

Chris condenses his brother's sentiment: "Spirituality, fun, and good energy all rolled into one. That's the way we go out. Can't be mad at that."

In fact, the brothers never seem mad at anything. Onstage and in interviews, they're relentlessly positive, if not smiling with their cheeks taped to their ears. "We speak humor all day, so be prepared to laugh," Steve says, "But be prepared to get burned, too, because we burn each other constantly."

This tendency to deride each other stems from the finer sides of brotherhood and sonship. "Our dad is a serious burner," Steve says. "Even 5 in the morning, he's going to work and he'll straight burn you."

Chris adds, "And you're like, 'It's early — chill out...'?"

But Mr. Martinez didn't simply pass down the art of roasting. One of the first tracks that spurred the brothers toward a career in music was the funk-fueled "Double Journey" by Powerline. "It was a different vibe at the time for us," Steve says. "We were so used to hip-hop, and then our pops introduced us to all this disco stuff, and it just blew our minds. Then getting into the DJ aspect of it, listening to Timmy Regisford on the radio cut up these joints with house joints, it was just crazy."

Perpetual diggers, the two continue to expand their pantry of obscure, often funny samples. "We're always getting new music," Chris says. "Online at discogs or vinyl shopping at record stores, we're always looking for something new. And when we find that new thing we like, we listen, and then we get bored of it... well not bored, but we want that new stuff again."

Steve clarifies, "Not bored, but bored."

Chris agrees as though it's their motto: "Yeah, not bored, but bored."

The Martinez Brothers During III Points, with King Krule, Bomba Estereo, Damian Lazarus & the Ancient Moons, and others. 5 p.m. Sunday, October 11, at Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-0371; Tickets cost $55 to $110 plus fees via

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Mana Wynwood

318 NW 23rd St.
Miami, FL 33127


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