Martin Merkel – Biography 2018
A somewhat mysterious figure within the European Techno scene, this Baden Baden-based maverick German DJ/Producer has often stepped away from the egotistical glare of publicity, preferring to let his music to do the talking.
Originally inspired as an artist by the experimental attitude of Italo Disco and the embryonic German Techno scene, via parties at the likes of Dorian Grey and Omen (Frankfurt) and Tresor (Berlin), Martin Merkel’s nascent career saw him develop an early love of analogue synthesisers – and saw him fill his studio with a desirable collection of Moog, Roland and Waldorf machinery. A self-taught musician, he learnt by experimentation, buying equipment without knowing how it all worked.
“That was so funny and crazy at that time, but I really wanted to produce techno music. I never forget when I heard techno for the first time. At that moment it was clear to me where my journey would go.” – Martin Merkel
As a dedicated vinyl only DJ (there was no mp3 or Traktor software with sync back then), Martin played in clubs every weekend until 2004, when he withdrew and focused more on expanding his production career. This had started with his debut release in 1999 (M-Faces ‘1400 Feet’) a Trance track released on Deep Blue Recordings. As he steadily established himself as a master of sonic excellence and musicality, his creations were snapped up for release on the likes of Monkey Business, Traumwelten (check ’Fahnenkind’), Schallamt, Cinematique, Bonzai, Secondary Tones (check ’Aufbruch ins Land der Elfen’ and ’Agape’), JOOF (check ’Voyager feat. Fe Malefiz’), Monkey Business, and Neverending.
In 2012 he launched his own Shelter 54 label, giving him the artistic freedom to release the abundance of music he was constantly creating, without having to wait around and be delayed by other label’s busy release schedules. This new platform also allowed Martin to produce and release different styles of music under various guises – everything from Deep House, Nu Disco, Tech House, Electro to Progressive House. The Shelter 54 label family was also founded to help other artists release their music and the label has featured the likes of Oliver Gross, Nephtek, Noemi Black, Phirakus, Hortek, Fe Malefiz, amongst others.
In recent years Martin Merkel has moved towards a more compact, travel-friendly digital studio set-up, but his love of synthesisers remains a defining characteristic of his uniquely distinctive musical output today, and his new ‘Constantin’ (Platipus) album is a perfect testament to that love. Martin Merkel emerged from the shadows at the end of 2017 with his first single release for Simon Berry’s legendary Platipus label. This was an introduction for many people and taste of Martin’s self-described brand of “Soulful Techno”, steeped in complex emotions and with an attention to musical detail that comes from many years of dedication to his chosen craft.
In February 2018, Martin Merkel’s ‘Constantin’ album – a creative project inspired by his emotional journey over the past year and honouring the recent birth of his son –is released. Martin’s joining forces with the legendary Platipus imprint also marks a bold new direction in the label’s evolution, as its creative direction moves towards an exciting Tech House / Melodic Techno fusion. The future looks very exciting indeed.
Martin Merkel Info:
Platipus Records Info: