Introducing Nic Martin, the beat maker behind some the biggest names and singles on the Australian Urban Music charts right now. The 24-year-old urban/pop producer from Sydney is miles ahead in the game with a client roster that boasts our industries hottest artists including Jessica Mauboy, Stan Walker, Justice Crew and Timomatic, having produced his Aria chart topper “Can You Feel It”. Most recently Nic has worked with breakthrough Sony hip hop artist Miracle, on his phenomenal EP “Iller” and has upped his own ante with the praise the pair have received for their collaboration.
By simply ‘messing around with beats and loops’ as a 12-year-old on his PlayStation video game ‘MTV Music Generator’, Nic’s career path became more defined when in high school and the composing of actual songs began to form. At the insistence of family and friends to pursue his obvious audio-engineering talent, Nic went on to graduate with a full degree in Bachelor of Audio Engineering from SAE College in 2009 and began working with multi-platinum selling producer Audius almost immediately.
The lessons gained from his work with Audius kicked open the door to record label interest with Sony and saw Nic doing production trips to LA and working alongside some of the industry’s biggest songwriters. It’s no wonder then that he is fast becoming one of Australia’s most sought after hit makers, creating upbeat, catchy pop tunes just made for radio success. His love of hip hop however will never be overlooked and his current foray with lyrical genius Miracle on his stellar debut single “Party of the Year” shows Martin to be in a league of his own.
As he pays homage to his hip hop producer influences such as the legendary Pete Rock, Just Blaze, J Dilla, Kanye and Pharrell, Nic’s production footprint in this game is one that will surely create a legacy of his own in years to come!
What was the biggest influence for you to become a hip hop producer in Australia?
Being told by my family and friends that the music i was creating for myself (mainly instrumentals) was actually good! ha-ha. The feeling I got from seeing people’s reactions when I played them a beat was what drove me to take music more seriously and properly learn the art of music production.
You started your music journey at high school composing songs and beats on your computer – when did you realise that production was something you wanted to do on a full time basis?
I was probably 14yrs old when I first learnt that there were people out there (producers) who actually made a living off creating music for other artists. I was blown away. I wanted to be able to do the same thing they were doing. I then researched and found out who all the producers were behind some of my favourite songs, and I read up on how they created their music – what equipment / techniques etc. It wasn’t until after I graduated my final year at school that I was confident and sure of my choice to take up production full time – and so i went to an audio engineering/production college (SAE Institute) and got my ‘Bachelor of Audio Production’ degree.
You have worked with Stan Walker, Timomatic and most recently Miracle, all supreme Australian urban artists, each with their own unique sound and style. Describe what the process has been like for you working with these amazing talents and how much life has changed for you now that your beats are being exposed to the nation?
Every artist I work with seems to be a little bit different in terms of the process we go through to make a song. With some of the bigger pop artists, it’s usually myself + the artist + a songwriter who all work together to create music. I’ll often start with a basic beat; a simple chord progression over a basic drum pattern, then once melodies and concepts are created – the music is produced around that and I will spend days (even weeks) perfecting the sound that i want for the song.
For urban artists (like Miracle), I’ll usually have a near-completed beat, or sometimes just a sparse musical idea, already made – and then the lyrics and song concepts are created to match the production. Of course, the music is still tweaked and tailored to suit the vocals, and song arrangement & structure is altered to make the song as good as it can be.
My life is still pretty similar to when I first started out; I’m still overanalysing every song i produce and wishing it could be better!! ha-ha. And I still hear songs from producers I admire and worry that they’re always one level above me. But the main difference in my life now is that I’m actually getting respect from people & artists – that I’ve never met before – & actual industry heads as well as A&R’s are hitting me up to work with ‘so and so’ artist, or want certain styles of beats from me. It’s a cool feeling just knowing that people actually want me to work with them! I’m extremely grateful I get to do this for a living.
Can You Feel It – Timomatic ( Sony Music)
How would you describe the difference between the hip hop sound in Australia to that of the US?
The traditional Australian hip-hop sound seems to be a little more organic, sometimes sample-based – and, to be honest, a little out-dated. There are artists here who are trying to put an international flavour in their music, but for the most part, “Aussie hip-hop” seems to be stuck in a timeframe of hip-hop that is no longer appealing over in the US. I personally much prefer the US hip-hop sound and I try to incorporate their production techniques into my own songs for Artists here.
The artist you would love to work with and why?
Kanye West. Just because he’s so ridiculously talented as an Artist and as a Producer – & I feel like I would learn so much from just being in a session with him creating music. Also he was one of my original inspirations when I first started producing.
What are your thoughts on the music production community in Australia – do you think we have one and are we nurturing our beat makers enough?
In all honestly, it’s WAY too small. There’s just not enough producers who are getting opportunities to work with established artists here, and a big reason for that is the record labels aren’t as open to new, up-coming producers, as they should be. Also because the amount of artists in the country is so small it means that producers are essentially competing for placements on albums & singles, and thus there is a lack of teamwork and general assistance from producers to other producers as we’re all just trying to “make it”.
How would you best describe the sound you produce?
When I’m doing urban music, I try to blend elements of other genre’s (like electro) and fuse it with more traditional hip hop sounds (808’s / vintage drum breaks). When I’m doing pop music, I try to blend elements of urban music to make it cooler (ha-ha). Overall i think my music is hard to sum up in one type of sound… i think one of the key traits i do in all my songs is have distinct song structure (verses/chorus/bridges etc.) so I try to avoid repetition.
Your future plans?
Keep working with Australian artists until my production is recognised on a global scale and I can earn my spot amongst the producers who I consider GREAT.
Always Hip Hop,