Martha Pazienti Caidan 24 Peckham
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Posted: 29th August 2017

If you’re an avid listener of Radar Radio, chances are you’ve heard of Martha. She’s the Peckahm native with a loyal following and a talent for spinning sounds that span the electronic spectrum. Having joined Reprezent Radio at the age of 16 (before hosting a weekly show for a total of five years), Martha has risen through the ranks as one of London’s ones to watch. Alongside soundtracking our Thursday nights with her texture-heavy mixes and industrial layered sounds via Radar Radio, Martha spends her days producing and hosting a podcast called The Hour, for Resident Advisor, and producing shows for BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. It was at the age of just 19 that Martha produced her first documentary for BBC 1Xtra – Grime Mums, that celebrated the mothers who’ve birthed grime artists like Bashy, Novelist and So Solid Crew’s Megaman.

As much a storyteller as she is a DJ, Martha’s sights don’t stop at London. She’s got talented friends she calls upon from all corners of the globe. Cue: Martha’s Pen Pals – her series that sees her invite people to share their knowledge of their local music scene. That’s anywhere from Turkey and Stockholm, to Cape Town, El Salvador, Sydney and Sao Paulo. Martha’s also been trying her hand at sound art. Having steered well away from art after being made to feel uncreative at school, now she’s feeling confident taking photographs and putting sound together again. It’s something of an art-cross-archiving project, that allows Martha (and us) to revisit the material that holds a special place in her heart. It was last month that Martha debuted her sound art as part of the fellow Babyface girl Georgina Johnson’s Memories exhibition at Protein Studios.

Most recently Martha’s been making dj mixes for Nike's Running Hour and running with Nike London (as ambassador of the Radar Radio run club) for their London’s Fastest campaign that brought running squad’s across the capital together to, well, run the city. “It’s the biggest campaign I’ve done so far and it’s been amazing to be a part of it. So mad to see myself all over Nike Town Oxford Circus and all over my city on billboards! It’s been great to get the rest of Radar running as well – we all spend a lot of time in clubs so it’s important we’re taking care of ourselves too,” says Martha. We can’t argue with that.

Words by Brooke McCord

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO…I’m a DJ and radio presenter on Radar Radio and I make documentaries. I produce radio shows for BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra and sometimes I produce and host a podcast with Resident Advisor called The Hour – it’s kind of in the style of Radio 4 but focusing on electronic music culture. This year I’ve started to show some of my sound art too.HOW DID YOU GET INTO DJ’ING? I joined Reprezent Radio – a station for young people which was based in Peckham wehre I grew up –when I was 16 years old and I did a show every single week for five years. I took it very serious and learnt how to DJ, how to present and produce radio there. It was like a university for us. I moved to Radar Radio when I was 22. Radar’s given me a lot of space to grow and take things to a new level, thanks to the support of the station and the people behind it. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CURATING YOUR SHOW? I collect music constantly, I’m always foraging for new music online and in clubs. I make sure I set aside a decent amount of time each week to go through all my finds, then I programme my show from there. My sets are about celebrating electronic music scenes around the globe, and also about playing with contrasting textures, gliding from pop music to something more abrasive. I’m interested in creating a tension between something you might recognise and something more challenging or innovative. TELL US ABOUT MARTHA’S PEN PALS…Each month I invite a Pen Pal to be a resident on my show. They don’t have to be a DJ or a musician, just someone that’s passionate about their local underground music scene. They leave me voice notes on their phone and pick four tracks that reflect what’s happening musically in their part of the world. I’ve had incredible Pen Pals in Mexico, Seoul, South Korea, Cairo Egypt, El Salvador, Helsinki, Istanbul and Birmingham in the UK. I love hearing direct from local people about each individual music scene and learning about the cultural factors which make the music sound a certain way. It’s an honour to host these folks and give them a space to share their stories and sounds. It’s amazing how we stay in touch too, Cesar in Mexico City sent me new music just the other day!HOW DID YOU TRANSITION INTO SOUND ART?It’s taken me a few years to feel comfortable around art after being made to feel incredibly uncreative when I tried art school. I didn't quite fit there and it’s taken me until last year to feel comfortable taking photos and putting sounds together again. It’s been really liberating. There are elements that I apply to both my radio sets and my sound art, for example playing around with tension in sound. My sound art has been an interesting exercise in archiving as well. My radio show is all about new music so I’m guilty of discarding things after a while in favour of something new. My sound art is a space to archive sounds I’ve recorded and collected, and to revisit material that’s really stood out to me.WHO ARE YOU BACKING RIGHT NOW? I always have a few artists I’m obsessed with at any point - if you know me you’ll know about my love for J Hus haha. And I’m a big fan of ZEFGIRLCLUB, she’s making really interesting experimental stuff out of Sydney, Australia. Then there’s Proc Fiskal in Scotland flying the flag for innovative grime sounds up there. DESCRIBE A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MARTHA… I wake up EARLY to go through some music and reply to emails, then work all day at Radio 1 or RA, producing Annie Nightingale's show or researching for documentaries. If it’s a Thursday I head to Radar after work to do my show, then maybe out into east ldn to DJ. Otherwise I’ll be running in the evening. WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST? When I’m on air at Radar. It’s THE BEST feeling. I love connecting with the listeners and sharing all the music I’m passionate about. WHAT’S YOUR CURRENT OBSESSION? The climbing wall in Bermondsey. I think about it every day haha.WHAT CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT? My cat. I love this guy. His name’s Monty he is my favourite. WHAT ITEM OF CLOTHING SUMS YOU UP BEST? My friends will probably say Air Max 95 lol. Such a London shoe.WHAT’S ON YOUR RIDER? My rider says fruit (any except pineapple) because I'm allergic, my face swells up, not ideal for dj’ing ha… and water. That’s all I need! WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LIE YOU TOLD AS A KID? Me and my sister share a birthday, but we’re not twins… she arrived on my bday when I was 3 years old. I grew up knowing a lot of sets of twins, so legit until secondary school I believed all siblings got born on 1 day… Sometimes if we cba to explain all that we would just say we’re twins. We look super similar. AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Jamz Supernova
Why: She’s my radio hero, her shows are seamless and her work ethic inspires me every day.
Contact Martha Pazienti Caidan