Setting sail on a mammoth musical journey in 1995, Martin Iveson aka ‘Atjazz’ has become well known the world over for his creativity & constant delivery of well-crafted music. Showing no signs of slowing and continuing his musical journey through sound, stamping his assonant trademark on route!
From his misspent youth skateboarding the small towns of North-eastern England to running a successful independent record label, in-between producing and remixing for a wealth of talent around the world, ‘Atjazz’ has become synonymous with the highest levels of style, production and innovation in the independent dance-music world.
Arriving into the Midlands in the early nineties, Martin cut his teeth scoring & designing sound effects for then fledgling computer game developer ‘Core Design Ltd.’ for many games including their worldwide smash-hit ‘Tomb Raider’ series. Alongside this, any time he had not sleeping was fervently developing and producing his own personal style of deep and soulful music.
After 13 years with Core, Martin felt he needed a new challenge and daringly he left his role at Core to develop his own Mantis Recordings imprint to collaborate with like-minded artists and aim to produce music that he felt could take him closer to his vision of focussed and inspiring sound. Producing under the Atjazz moniker on his own label amongst others, he began to see success with his early works, ‘Story’, ‘That Something’ and the seminal ‘Labfunk”, seeing his fan-base grow until he became known throughout the underground scene as an original and emotive force to be reckoned with.
Slowly but surely his reputation for attention to detail, care and love for his art spread across Europe and then to the world. Atjazz strode across the globe, spinning vinyl at numerous events & venues growing his audience and leaving a trail of deep house, broken-beat & nu-soul behind him. In recent years he has been accepted as family in the very exciting South African House-Music scene, winning ‘Best International Producer’ as the Dance Music Awards South Africa. This wonderful and colourful country has since become his 2nd home and fans of his music have now taken to calling him ‘Themba – Hope’ in the isiZulu dialect. He has over time garnered friends and partners from Los Angeles to Hong Kong via Cape Town and everywhere in-between and his aggressive drive to construct new and interesting sounds is complemented by his excitable and inquisitive demeanour. Atjazz is a man who truly helps out his friends but also in the same breath expects tight, quality music and serious production skills from those he puts his faith into.
Due to harsh industry changes, Martin decided to set his label Mantis Recordings free in 2009 after a successful 13-year run, and from the ashes of this came the phoenix that is ‘Atjazz Record Company’ (affectionately referred to as ARCo). This diverse and multi-faceted label concentrates on Martin’s productions and collaborations, and the successes achieved therein have helped the label soar to great new heights. 2015 saw Martin expand his output again with the introduction of ‘Less Than Ten’ which gained rave reviews whilst helping Martin further experiment and play with new styles, sounds & constraints. Parallel to keeping up his own record labels, Martin works very closely with Yoruba Records, R2 Records, Lazy Days Recordings, Suol, Local Talk and Miso Records and has also been a prolific remixer throughout his 20-odd-year career, reworking and partnering on releases for artists across the globe. The list of which is as impressive as it is comprehensive: Nitin Sawhney, Bob Sinclar, Gilles Peterson, Jazzanova, The RAH Band, Karizma, Osunlade, Omar & St Germain to name but a few (even being requested to rework Henri Mancini’s ‘The Pink Panther Returns’ for EMI Records). Martin still very much enjoys reimagining artist’s work as often as his hectic schedule allows, as he himself says “remixing helps to hone your sound” and he is not slowing down in the slightest. His dubs and remixes for St. Germain’s exciting major release on the Parlaphone/Warner France label demonstrate the level of appeal he has internationally. This work also shows his continued commitment to developing his trademark vibe and feel whilst working with interesting and diverse artists.
Fans will recognise that the Atjazz sound is very personal and that he puts a part of himself into every track he writes or remixes. This sound has become so renowned that top-level vocalists, producers & musicians often seek him out to co-produce their own projects. Alongside his collaborative efforts ‘Mist Works’ and ‘Exist’, with Si Tew and Karizma respectively, he loves to mentor and nurture young and exciting new talent such as Jullian Gomes, Jazzuelle, Thee Gobbs and Bruce Loko, giving back to the industry that has given so much to him. He has also recently started releasing tracks under his given name, rather than the Atjazz brand, taking a more introspective swing and freeing himself from any boundaries he might feel burdened with as Atjazz. This tight new sound has the attractive trademark swagger of Martin’s usual fare, but with even more soul added in to really take the listener on a long journey. His strong work ethic and dedication is clear to see and his future looks to be an exciting one.
In 2016 Martin celebrated ‘20 years of Atjazz’ with a 3x CD compilation album of his early works including the re-release of his debut album ‘That Something’ originally released in 1998 on Diversions & Sony/Kioon (Japan) which originally featured the famous ‘Bakabon’ characters from renowned artist ‘Fujio Akatsuka’ on the sleeve design.
As well as a producer Atjazz is also a world-class DJ and continually keeps up his tenacious schedule by performing in major cities the world over. Certainly this is one man who is not afraid to clock up those air miles so he can play for the people he loves. The future is looking ever brighter for this sound scientist, an inspirationally prolific and hugely respected mainstay of the UK independent music scene.