Kevin Martin (British musician)

Last updated

The Bug
Kevin-martin DSC08049.jpg
Aarhus Festival 2018
Background information
Birth nameKevin Martin
OriginUnited Kingdom
Genres Dub, industrial, dancehall, jazzcore, hip hop, dubstep
Occupation(s)Producer, musician, journalist
InstrumentsComputers, vocals, turntables, synthesizers, saxophone
Labels Ninja Tune, Hyperdub, Rephlex
Associated actsKing Midas Sound, Earth, GOD, Ice, 16-17, Techno Animal, Pressure, Justin Broadrick, Curse of the Golden Vampire

Kevin Martin is a musician, record producer and journalist, often known under his recording alias The Bug from England, UK. Martin moved from Weymouth to London around 1990 and is now currently based in Berlin, Germany. He has been active for over two decades, in the genres of dub, jazzcore, industrial hip hop, dancehall, and dubstep. [1]

Dub is a genre of electronic music that grew out of reggae in the 1960s, and is commonly considered a subgenre, though it has developed to extend beyond the scope of reggae. The style consists predominantly of instrumental remixes of existing recordings and is achieved by significantly manipulating and reshaping the recordings, usually through the removal of vocals, emphasis of the rhythm section, the application of studio effects such as echo and reverb, and the occasional dubbing of vocal or instrumental snippets from the original version or other works. It was an early form of popular electronic music.

Industrial hip hop is a fusion genre of industrial music and hip hop.

Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music that originated in the late 1970s. Initially, dancehall was a more sparse version of reggae than the roots style, which had dominated much of the 1970s. In the mid-1980s, digital instrumentation became more prevalent, changing the sound considerably, with digital dancehall becoming increasingly characterized by faster rhythms. Key elements of dancehall music include its extensive use of Jamaican Patois rather than Jamaican standard English and a focus on the track instrumentals.


His projects include GOD, Techno Animal, Ice, Curse of the Golden Vampire, Pressure, and most recently, King Midas Sound (with Roger Robinson and Kiki Hitomi) and The Bug vs Earth . [2]

Techno Animal is an industrial hip hop duo formed in 1990 in London, England by British composers and musicians Justin Broadrick and Kevin Martin. The name addresses the concept of a technological animal and is not a direct reference to the techno genre.

Ice is an industrial music band formed by guitarist Justin Broadrick and saxophonist/vocalist Kevin Martin.

<i>Curse of the Golden Vampire</i> 1998 studio album by Curse of the Golden Vampire

The Curse of the Golden Vampire is an album by Curse of the Golden Vampire, featuring electronic artists Alec Empire and Techno Animal. It was released in 1998. A second Curse Of the Golden Vampire album, titled Mass Destruction, was released in June 2003 on Mike Patton's Ipecac Recordings label, but for unknown reasons Empire was not involved.

Early life

Martin first became interested in music as a teenager going to Handsome Dick's, a record store in Weymouth, Dorset, England, UK. At the same time, he was introduced to the music of Joy Division, the Sex Pistols, Captain Beefheart, the Birthday Party, and Throbbing Gristle. He has described his initial interest in music as stemming from his difficult family situation during his childhood, and said, "It seemed like everything that I hated about English conservative monoculture was being burned and turned upside down through music," and, "Post-punk music was tearing up rule books and asking questions of everything, particularly structure in terms of music, art, politics, you know, the law." [3]

Weymouth, Dorset Town in Dorset, England

Weymouth is a seaside town in Dorset, England, situated on a sheltered bay at the mouth of the River Wey on the English Channel coast. The town is 11 kilometres (7 mi) south of Dorchester and 8 kilometres (5 mi) north of the Isle of Portland. Weymouth has a metropolitan population of 71,083 (2016). The town is the third largest settlement in Dorset after Bournemouth and Poole.

Martin first began making music because he was attracted to a do-it-yourself (DIY) aesthetic. He first worked with a four-track recorder and effects pedal, and said, "[I] was interested in everything that wasn't harmony, melody, and conservative musical structure. Dub seemed to tear everything to shreds, burn it up, and rearrange the embers." (referring to dub music). He described his early experiences of music in London as being very influential for his style and appreciation of music, especially experiencing Iration Steppas and The Disciples in the early 1990s. He described his experience in the London music scene as taking a while to sync his ears up to ragga and digital dancehall, two genres of music for which he has become well known. [3]

The Disciples are a dub roots reggae group that was formed in 1986 by brothers Russ D. and Lol Bell-Brown. They are said to be named by Jah Shaka after producing exclusively for Jah Shaka. They recorded 4 albums of instrumental dub for Jah Shaka's King Of The Zulu Tribe label during 1987 to 1990.

Musical projects


GOD was a jazzcore group that was part of the grindcore and industrial metal scenes. Justin Broadrick, formerly of Napalm Death and later of Godflesh, eventually joined. This was the first of Martin's collaborations with Broadrick, Techno Animal and Ice being subsequent. John Zorn also worked with this group. [4]

Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as: thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.

Industrial metal is the fusion of heavy metal music and industrial music, typically employing repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals. Prominent industrial metal acts include Ministry, Godflesh, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails.

Justin Broadrick Record producer, musician, singer

Justin Karl Michael Broadrick is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist and drummer. He is best known as a founding member of the band Godflesh, one of the first bands to combine elements of extreme metal and industrial music. He was briefly in the English grindcore band Napalm Death when he was a teenager in the mid-1980s, writing and recording guitar for Side One of Napalm Death's debut album, Scum. Broadrick has also maintained a parallel career as a producer, producing records and remixes for groups such as Pantera, Isis, Mogwai and Hydra Head labelmates Pelican. Since 2012, he has been releasing hard techno music under the solo moniker JK Flesh. Broadrick has set up record labels such as HeadDirt, Avalanche Recordings, Post Mortem Productions, Lo Fibre and Heartache.

Techno Animal

An industrial hip-hop and ambient-music collaboration with Justin Broadrick that also collaborated with Dälek, Vast Aire, and Anti-Pop Consortium. John Jobbagy also participated in the group.

Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of instrumental music, it may lack net composition, beat, or structured melody. It uses textural layers of sound which can reward both passive and active listening and encourage a sense of calm or contemplation. The genre is said to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual", or "unobtrusive" quality. Nature soundscapes may be included, and the sounds of acoustic instruments such as the piano, strings and flute may be emulated through a synthesizer.

Dälek band

dälek is an American experimental hip hop group formed in Newark, New Jersey in 1998. The group is composed of MC dälek and Mike Manteca.

Theodore Arrington III, better known by his stage name Vast Aire, is an American rapper from New York City. He is one half of the New York hip hop duo Cannibal Ox, which consists of him and fellow rapper Vordul Mega. He is also a member of the rap group Atoms Family. He was born in Mount Vernon, New York, then lived in Jamaica, Queens before moving to Harlem, and became acquainted with the underground rap scene, performing in many clubs while still a teenager. He was once a part of the underground hip hop group The Weathermen.


Ice included Martin on vocals, saxophone, synthesizer, and turntables; Justin Broadrick on guitar; David Cochrane on bass; and Lou Ciccotelli on drums. Its first album, Under the Skin , was somewhat similar to the industrial metal of Broadrick's Godflesh, but with a more experimentalist bent, notably via Martin's free jazz-influenced saxophone. By Bad Blood (In Bloom/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records), its second album, the band had absorbed a great deal of hip-hop influence, and nearly all the songs featured contributions from guests well known in underground hip hop, including El-P. However, the experimentalism continued, with singer Blixa Bargeld of legendary industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten appearing as well, often alongside the emcees. According to critic Ned Raggett, [5] the experiments are not always successful, but he credits the band for expanding its sound.

Curse of the Golden Vampire

Originally a collaboration between Techno Animal and Alec Empire in an industrial hip-hop vein. The second album, Mass Destruction, featured only Martin and Broadrick and moved into a more vicious breakcore and digital hardcore style with elements of grindcore, industrial hip-hop, and noise/power electronics.

The Bug

The Bug's music is influenced by dancehall, noise, grime, and hip hop. More subtle influences include dubstep and the dubtronica and broken techno of Basic Channel and Pole. The Bug's first album, Tapping The Conversation, was released in 1997 on the seminal Wordsound label. The album was conceived as an alternative soundtrack to the 1974 Francis Ford Coppola film The Conversation . In this incarnation, The Bug consisted of Kevin Martin and DJ Vadim, and existed in more of a downtempo and trip hop vein. From 2001–2004 The Bug collaborated with UK reggae soundsystem veteran The Rootsman on a number of limited edition 7" singles, released on the Razor X label. These releases were characterised by their harsh, aggressive nature both musically and vocally (vocal artists including Jamaican MCs such as He-Man and Wayne Lonesome).

The Bug's second album, Pressure was released on Rephlex Records in 2003. It included a number of more ambient, dub-influenced tracks alongside the ragga-tinged onslaughts. The Razor X singles were compiled on the Killing Sound album (along with newer material) which was released by Rephlex in 2006. Bug projects have included collaborations with a number of singers and MCs including Cutty Ranks, Flow Dan, Warrior Queen and Ras B. In 2005 he collaborated with Mark Stewart and Keith Levene and has released records on Rephlex, Tigerbeat6 and Klien Records. The Bug produced some radio sessions, including a clash with Soundmurderer on John Peel and a 2006 Breezeblock session with 10 MCs.

In 2006, The Bug launched a monthly London-based reggae club night entitled BASH, in collaboration with dubstep producer Loefah. 2008 saw the release of London Zoo , the third full release from the project, on Ninja Tune to critical acclaim.

After a six year hiatus, The Bug returned with their fourth effort Angels & Devils , again to critical acclaim. In October 2016, The Bug brought their new project Sirens to London for a special performance. [6]


A dub project, with releases on the Hyperdub label.

Black Chow

Reggae-dub/trip hop collaboration with Kiki Hitomi, now, under the Jahtari record label (previous releases with Hyperdub). Black Chow incorporates Lo-Fi elements into their music, which is typical of artists on the Jahtari record label.

King Midas Sound

King Midas Sound is a musical crossover project, composed of Martin, London/Trinidad poet Roger Robinson and Japanese artist and singer Kiki Hitomi. Their first 12" release "(HDB014) Cool Out" and debut album Waiting For You... are both released through Kode9's Hyperdub label. "Meltdown" also featured on the 5 Years Of Hyperdub CD release in 2009. Their latest 12", "Aroo," was released on Ninja Tune in 2013.


He also compiled the Macro Dub Infection (parts one and two), Ambient 4: Isolationism and Jazz Satellites CDs for the Virgin Ambient series.


Kevin Martin has discussed his admiration for Jah Shaka, Adrian Sherwood, King Tubby, Lee Perry, Swans, Public Enemy, [7] and Thomas Koner.


He has previously written for music magazines such as Muzik and Jockey Slut . [8]

Partial discography


Techno Animal


Singles & EPs

Curse of the Golden Vampire

The Bug


Featuring – Daddy Freddy

Singles (incomplete)
Remixes (incomplete)

Black Chow

King Midas Sound

Singles & EPs

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  1. Clayton, Jace (Winter 2011). "Kevin Martin in Bomb Magazine" . Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  2. London Zoo review, The Wire, July 2008, p. 44.
  3. 1 2 "BOMB Magazine – The Bug by Jace Clayton". Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  4. "Possession – God – Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic . Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  5. "Bad Blood – Ice – Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  6. Murray, Robin. "The Bug To Bring 'Sirens' To London". Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  7. Archived 16 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Martin, Kevin. "Aesop's Fable". Retrieved 12 October 2016.