Martin Doorly, or otherwise known by his stage name, Doorly, has been around the block for quite some time, landing huge releases in a genre-transcending career. In the past year, he has worked with everybody from pop artists to dance music icons, successfully leaving anybody that takes a quick glance at his discography with an open jaw. We had the opportunity to talk with the man about his work from his past, present, and future just ahead of his shows in Hollywood, Miami, and beyond.
WWD: Congrats on your recent releases with Cajual and Play It Say It by the way. Could you tell us a little bit about your approach to making music and how you choose to work with the labels that you do?
Thank you! It’s been a great 12 months with releases on all my faves, Cajual, Play It Say It, Dirtybird and Hot creations plus of course my own label! I generally make music that I know is going to be fun to play out and memorable for the crowd. Something that stands out in a set; I’m all about those special moments that grab your attention. And those labels are just the ones that fit my vibe the best, they’re all fairly different but with me being quite diverse, those are the ones that fit my cross section the most and my tracks seem to always fit into one of those categories and if not, (usually when I write something a bit weird) then I release it myself!
WWD: How has your approach to music translated into your work with pop artists like Nicki Minaj and Usher as oppose to working with underground and house music legends like Marshall Jefferson and Green Velvet?
Working with pop artists, you’re very much a producer for them and their style. They come to you because they like what you do but, they absolutely need it to fit their needs. Also there’s a huge team of people involved with differing musical opinions so it can be fairly tricky to navigate and find something that everyone is happy with!
With the Underground heroes its much more natural, as when I’m making music I’m generally trying to make stuff that sounds like them anyway so it’s a lot more cohesive. Green Velvet, in particular, is a real mentor to me and has really helped me shape my sound over the last few years. The man is a genius and he seriously knows his shit. He really taught me the value of simplifying tracks to leave more space in the groove.
WWD: You’ve been around and have dived into a number of genres. Your skills as a turntablist, beyond being a House DJ, are well documented. What would you attribute to the resurrection of House as a global phenomenon?
I think Dubstep took over for a while when it first happened because it was generally interesting and a nice low end smack in the face for a dance floor and that whole thing kind of took the attention away from house music for a while but then it all started getting too noisy and aggressive. So some people naturally were put off by that. Plus at the same time, Disclosure happened as well as people like Duke Dumont, MK and Hot Natured having big chart singles, which brought lots of kids back to House music. Also I think a lot of credit has to be given to Dirtybird, who I feel was like a perfect gateway especially for American kids to step into house music comfortably in a way they could understand. Still fun and bass heavy but not cheesy EDM or Dusbstep / Trap.
WWD: Tell us a little bit about your label, Reptile Dysfunction. Great name by the way; I really enjoyed your collaboration with Tan Dem on there. What inspired you to start your own label and what direction do you plan on taking it?
Ah thanks! Yeah, we had a hell of a lot of fun on that record and being able to use the voice of our mate Mike Skinner was a dream! I set the label up primarily because every now and then I make something a bit weird that’s amazing for my sets but it doesn’t quite fit on any of the above mentioned labels. So rather than releasing on a label that doesn’t really fit, I decided it was time to create my own home for those tracks and start to really build my own world that people can get into with me as well as a home for all the incredible artists I meet on my travels along the way that need a break, Tan Dem being one of them. He’s the future, nobody is inspiring me more right now. Also keep an eye out for Trooko who we just released an EP for. We’re going to be working on a full album to release this year with him. The boy is very talented indeed!
WWD: It looks like you’re going to be on a little tour this March, hitting places like San Diego, Miami, and Hollywood. Are there any venues or artists you’re looking forward to in particular?
The L.A show is going to be very special, Avalon was the first club to book me in America around 6 or 7 years ago so to be able to curate my own line up there is a really nice circle back and it’s an awesome melting pot of a line and its going to be a real journey of sounds! With my Boy Tan Dem (make sure you get down early to watch him! Golden Era Hip Hop and block party Turntablism with the Legendary DJ Yoda, Tensnake bringing the melodic magic and then Solardo playing their debut US show with their own unique brand of high-energy big bassline House music.
Also my Party at Miami Music Week is going to be one for the books. I have a surprise guest playing the closing set, I cant say who but he’s my favorite DJ on the planet right now. Also we have Skream, Soul Clap and loads more on the bill. We’ll be streaming the party Live on Be At TV if you cant make it but if you can, it’s a rooftop pool party at the ridiculously pimp 1 Hotel on South Beach — probably the best hotel in Miami, in my opinion!
WWD: Possibly a bit vague, but what was your favorite party ever? Or better yet, what to you makes the best parties?
Holy Ship is probably the best party on earth! There’s an unparalleled sense of community on board and it’s just the most fun collection of people. It’s really nice to be able to spend a few days with the kids who buy tickets for it and make some friends for life. Dirtybird Campout is also really special for the same reason, they have created a beautiful thing there and I hope that I never have to miss one!
WWD: What do you think you would have done, if it weren’t music?
Oh god! That actually terrifies me to be honest, as I really don’t know. I had really bad career advice and did an English degree at a university which I hated and basically only qualified me to be a Teacher, which I definitely wouldn’t want to do! When I finished University I did a couple of really shitty temp jobs but luckily my DJ career kicked off after only a few months after that and I’ve never had a “real” job since thankfully and hopefully will never need to again.
WWD: Care to shout out any up and comers?
As well as my guys Tan Dem and Trooko, as mentioned above, who are my main priorities this year to break through, I’m really excited about Switch’s new Project called “With You”. It’s super interesting and going to take the world by storm, I think. We have a collab together coming out soon featuring Idris Elba. That one’s really nice. Also, I stumbled across this guy called Tee Mango recently, you should check out his work, he’s the most exciting sounding artist I’ve heard in a while! Like a young Moodyman. Oh and he’s not really a newcomer, he’s an industry legend but he’s about to have a very well deserved big breakthrough as he has some HUGE tracks coming out, the inimitable Artwork, what a guy!