If you ever get talking to the local crowd at Robert Johnson, one of the first parties you’ll hear about is Traffic. Founded and centred in the undercurrent of Frankfurt’s bubbling techno scene, Traffic started out as a label back in 2013, leading the city’s individualist flair first started by minimal labels like Perlon in the late 90s.
Martin Müller, the artist known as Martyné, is one of the collective’s core members. He’s released 5 EPs on Traffic, each one stylistically different but all borrowing from the same pool of sounds. Crossing twisted minimal techno and electro via crisp broken beats and rolling tech house, you’d be forgiven for mistaking one of his records for a forgotten weapon from the 90s.
This inclusive approach to making music translates in Müller’s DJ sets. Like many of his Frankfurt peers, deep digging forms the basis of his musical ethos. Before he joins Frankfurt powerhouse Cocoon’s takeover on 4th May, he sent us a mix that shows off his label’s quirky style.
I tried to create a small journey for the listeners, starting with happy house and going deeper at the end. I thought about it a lot, and it was a lot of fun for me to compile it. It includes records that I like, and some tracks from my surroundings.
From where did you source the records?
There’s no special source for my records, I buy them both online and in shops.
In recent years, sites like Discogs have contributed to a huge surge in dance music’s so-called ‘digging culture’. How do you think the pool of records people are hunting out will look 10 years from now?
No doubt, it’s a big hunt and the next generation will have a hard time with finding new stuff. But on the other hand, the pool of music is so big, and so many people on this planet have added to the pool over the last four decades. You’ll always find something, whether that’s the instrumental of an old euro house record, or the chilled studio sessions of a hard techno producer, there’ll always be something for everybody.
Many DJs and partygoers alike describe Robert Johnson as an influential place to them. Why do you think the club has maintained such an appeal to both demographics?
Robert Johnson is a borderless concept, and the crowd is thankful when a DJ steps beyond his boundaries. This place can bring you to a new level, and the first time visiting is a big experience for everybody. I don’t think about its influence, because experiencing a great night there is always a big step further.
Who were the first DJs you started following closely?
For me it all started at the Cocoon Club in Frankfurt; I loved to listen to Sven Väth, Ricardo Villalobos and Raresh. I’m not sure who impressed me the most; I think the vibe of the night was the aspect that had the biggest influence.
Many of your records sound like they may have been made 20 years ago. Where do you mainly find inspiration for the studio?
My inspiration is always on the same level with the sounds I’m playing out. The more records I hear and the more genres I discover, the more I’m curious about whether I can use these impressions for my own musical “words”.
You’re often found playing smaller parties with the rest of your Traffic label as well as bigger Cocoon showcases – which do you tend to enjoy more?
I love both, the intimate sessions often happen with many friends from all over the world. We’ve developed a great network over the years, and we have like-minded people in each city, which we visit to play regularly. The big raves have their unique vibe; due to the amount of people, you can literally cut the energy in the room. This gives you another possibility when playing.
Traffic has released music from a relatively small group of producers so far – do you have any plans to branch out further in the near future?
We just signed a great EP by Etienne. We invited him once for our night at Robert Johnson, and we’ve stayed in contact since then. Now he’s delivered a great techno record, and will also play at our 5th birthday at Robert Johnson on 11th May. So book your flights, guys!
Before you come to play here, do you have any idea of what to expect from visiting fabric in the past?
fabric was always on my list to visit. Last year I managed to come for the first time, and I was pretty impressed. Ricardo played and I could really feel the potential of the sound system. No doubt, it’s one of my favourite venues. I’m really looking forward to coming to play by myself!