A DJ Shares His Favourite Music, Artists & Venues
A DJ Shares His Favourite Music, Artists & Venues

A DJ Shares His Favourite Music, Artists & Venues


Martin 2 Smoove regularly DJs at the world’s top venues and award ceremonies, so it’s safe to say he knows how to get a crowd going. Here, he shares his favourite music and artists – plus an exclusive party playlist for SLMan readers…
Photography @Martin2Smoove

As a kid I was always made to dance at family parties. That started my obsession with music, and then Michael Jackson’s Bad album was released. It was such a huge moment in the late 80s and made me discover a variety of other genres. I was also hooked on MTV Base and listened to Trevor Nelson’s sets on repeat.

Growing up in Essex, garage was a staple during my teens. So many songs bring me back to those days, like ‘Girls Like Us’ by B15 Project, ‘Imagine – Asylum Remix’ by Shola Ama and ‘Flowers’ by Sweet Female Attitude. I also loved Craig David’s album Born To Do It which is filled with bangers like ‘Fill Me In’, ‘7 Days’, and ‘Walking Away’. Years later, I got into grime artists like Giggs and Kano – their early music reigns supreme.

The ultimate party playlist starts with hip hop. I like to kick-off with old-school tunes by Jay Z, Bell Biv DeVoe, Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, before moving onto contemporary UK artists like Loyle Carner, Central Cee and Little Simz – her latest album No Thank You has so many great tracks, like ‘Gorilla’ and ‘No Mercy’.

My favourite album right now is Hugo by Loyle Carner. He’s a great lyricist and, as an Essex/London boy, the stories he tells resonate with me

Recently I’ve been playing a lot of Anderson .Paak. His songs have impelling lyrics, flow and next-level beats you rarely find elsewhere. Silk Sonic, his collaborative album with Bruno Mars, already sounds timeless and features the kind of songs I was listening to back in the 80s. I played it on repeat on a recent road trip across the States with my mates. 

Eve’s music always gets a crowd going. I get the best reaction when ‘Who’s That Girl?’ or ‘Let Me Blow Your Mind’ comes on. I also love Justin Timberlake’s early stuff on Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds, mainly because powerhouse Timbaland hooked him up with the best samples.

My favourite album right now is Hugo by Loyle Carner. He’s a great lyricist and, as an Essex/London boy, the stories he tells resonate with me. I can see why it was shortlisted for a Mercury prize earlier this year. It’s impossible to choose my favourite song of the moment, but my all-time favourites include ‘Poison’ by Bell Biv DeVoe, ‘Award Tour’ by A Tribe Called Quest, ‘Simon Says’ by Pharoahe Monch, ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ by Diddy and The Notorious B.I.G., and ‘Touch The Sky’ by Kanye.

One of my favourite soulful tunes to remix is ‘Soul Souk’ by Harold Al Souk. You can tell when I’m at home because this will be blasting from the speakers via SoundCloud. It’s the perfect sundowner song to kick off the weekend and transport you to Ibiza or Mykonos. I download most of my music from iTunes but I love discovering new mixes on SoundCloud and Spotify.

Mark Ronson is one DJ I really admire. The way he layers songs is so impressive and he’s got an incredible catalogue. From film soundtracks to dance anthems, there’s nothing he can’t do. I also love Idris Elba’s stuff – it’s always a pleasure to work with him – and Kaytranada is a real showman. It’s a special night if you manage to see one of his live sets. 

Bob Marley said that when the music hits you, you feel no pain. That resonates with me. I love songs that make you feel good and want to dance. My wife and I chose ‘Too Good To Be True’ for the first dance at our wedding, so that song has a special place in my heart. I don’t believe in guilty pleasure songs but I’m a sucker for Harry Styles and 80s pop music. 

One of my favourite venues in the world is Pacha Ibiza. I had a residency there for several years when I got to DJ alongside Trevor Nelson and play under the same roof as the legendary Pete Tong. I also love Notting Hill Arts Club in London, and LIV Nightclub in Miami always has an electric atmosphere. That said, Ministry of Sound London probably has the best sound system in the world. I have a weekly residency there and the sound is unmatched.

At the end of a long day I’ll play something soulful like Erykah Badu or Snoh Aalegra. British singer Cleo Sol is another regular on my sound system at home.

And here’s that party playlist…

Pacha Ibiza

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