David Martin: Dimensional Man
In recent years Croatia has become something of a hotbed for summer music festivals, first the likes of Outlook & Garden led the way, bringing a diverse array of talent to the Adriatic coast, attracted a droves of intrigued clubbers. Now, the worlds biggest festival brands have a presence and there’s festivals of all shapes and sizes, spanning all genres. For the discerning electronic music fan, Dimensions, which cropped up last year, is probably the festival of choice. Its eclectic mix of cutting edge talent, high tech spec of sound systems, unique location, daily beach sessions, boat parties and ‘fortress’ raves makes for quite the mouth-watering few days fun.
Launching last year to an excellent response from artists and punters alike, Dimensions is back this September and out to better itself. Tasked with programming the festival is Leeds based club promoting vet and the man behind Technique and Modern Amusement, David Martin. As admirers of the festival we caught up with David to find out a little more about what really goes into putting on a festival in fort with Theo Parrish….
You’ve been promoting club nights for years, how did you get involved with Dimensions and is programming a festival something you’ve always wanted to do?
I’ve known Simon Scott who’s one of the directors for a lot of years and I think we have quite a similar taste and ethos when it comes to music. He asked me to get involved when he decided to do the event.
I’d never really thought about getting involved booking festivals but the experience working on Dimensions has been perfect for me really. It’s all of the good bits about doing events. I research and book artists that I love and work out how best to make that flow together at the event. That’s always the bit I’ve enjoyed about doing events.
After the success of last year’s event, how did you go about programming this year’s line-up – was it a more challenging experience or easier in ways?
It was more difficult in some ways and was easier in others. After the success of the first year word had spread quickly amongst artists and I’d say we’ve found it a bit easier to book many artists as opposed to starting from scratch last year. I think it’s also been much easier to visualise how artists might work and how they might suit certain spaces around the festival site so this year will certainly feel a lot more cohesive.
The difficulty has come from topping last year and the standard that we set for ourselves – people already have high expectations of the festival and we’re not even at the second year yet. I do think that this is a healthy challenge though – it really drives innovation and a real honest ethos. The challenge is to set the bar for ourselves and and reach it, by continuing to move forward rather than looking around to copy what others are doing – I think that is what Dimensions is about.
You’ve kept with some of the success from last year, who were the first people you wanted back again this time?
It might sound obvious if you were there last year but Theo Parrish and Moodymann really created something special and it was always going to be difficult to ignore that. Theo was a huge fan of the festival and hadn’t been playing many festivals (at least for a long time) until we managed to coax him into Dimensions and I think that says a lot about how special the place is. That said we did want to drive that forward a bit more which is why we have a really rare appearance from Theo, Moody, Rick Wilhite and Marcellus Pitmann taking over the the whole stage all night as 3 Chairs.
Who are you most excited about working with this year?
I just don’t know where to start, I still look at the line up spreadsheets and wonder how I’m going to see everybody – I literally want to see every artist play.
With so many festivals in Croatia, does this play a factor in curating a something more niche for festival goers?
Well I was asked to programme for the festival from the outset and to be honest the ethos has been driven by the owners (who have a big involvement with the line up too). It wasn’t a case of thinking ‘let’s work out what the best way to get people to a new festival is’. It’s more about creating something that is unique and means something to those involved which you hope punters will connect with, it’s very honest I guess.
Do you find you actually get to enjoy the festival itself or is it only afterwards you can reflect on what is most likely a years’ worth of work?
Well I have it pretty cushy to be honest (but shhh!). I guess it’s part of my job thankfully, but I spend a lot of time seeing what’s working well musically and making sure that artists are happy so I am usually to be found bombing about site (which is what I’d be doing as a punter), trying to see as much of that fantastic line up as possible. So, yes – I love it!
You’ve also got a great network of UK partners, such as Zleep at Stealth in Nottingham, that contribute to launch events in the build-up – how do you decide who is right for the festival?
Well Johnny and Andy are the main men here and do a great job of meeting the right partners across Europe, but there are some hooks ups that I’ve made just because they make obvious sense, they align with the festival really nicely and are good folks! Zleep being a point in case and Construct, Hypercolour, Sensu – Sub Club, Glasgow. They’re people I’ve been friends with and I knew would understand what the festival was about.
We’ll see you at Zleep on the 19th April with Will Saul & xxxy, then on the 20th in Leeds with Omar S & Levon Vincent for Dimensions launch events - what weapons will be in your bag?
Well I think both sets are in the first half of the evening so won’t be too stompin’ from me at that time, Eddie C’s stuff is getting some serious play at the moment and Patrice Scott, Soulphiction, Ernie and Lady Blacktronika are always in the bag for those earlier sets…
Finally, its often tricky seeing all the artists you want to at a Festival, what would be your top tip for getting the most out of Dimensions Festival?
Smart footwear! Oh and get some sleep when you can!
Catch David @ Zleep, attendees will also be in with a chance of winning 2x tickets to Dimensions Festival. Full details >> Zleep Dimension Comp APRIL 19TH Stealth, Nottingham