Æ: Aglet Eaters

Interactions in Installments: DIN Martin Part 1

Posted in Discover by R on April 25, 2012

“DIN Martin are four guys: There is Carsten Ritter on bass, Martin Zickenrott on drums and electronics, Ole Toense on guitar and me (Martin Joerg Hommel) on guitar and singing. It all started in early 2010 so pretty much two years ago.”

I was psyched when I received an email from one of the Martins of DIN Martin. You see, not only are they from my favourite European country (that I have never visited, fyi) BUT they are ALSO from LEIPZIG which, as we all know, is the birthplace of experimental psychology and the city where Wilhem Wundt set up the first psychological laboratory in 1879 (this fact is disputed by some who claim William James actually set up the first psychological laboratory, but really American cities are just not as romantic – look at the etymology of the word).

Of course, before I could listen to the music, I had to give this hapless boy a brief history of structuralism and like a good student he went and looked up Wundt, the man who (should have) made his land proud. Wonderful! What a great person to have a nice long INTERACTION IN INSTALLMENTS with.

Before getting started, a bit about the music. I believe DIN Martin are presently trying to pass themselves off as post-rock, but really I think they are more pop-oriented shoegaze with post-rock tendencies. You see, their music simply isn’t dark and broody enough to qualify as pure post-rock. It carries so much innocence – not enough to be twee – that I find it’s more pensive than melancholic. Perhaps it IS post-rock, and my conception of PR as darkly – not morbidly, just matter-of-factly – introspective (shoutout to my man WUNDT for that word) is flawed. Regardless, there is such a youthfulness to the songs that they almost appear hopeful in places. I’m certain I’m not wrong in thinking post-rock is not hopeful. Alors, you can listen to them yourself and tell me what you think:

Now, to business. We need to know how DIN Martin formed. Let’s ask our Martin:

I used to live in Bristol, UK till January ’10 and moved then back to Germany. The first person I bumped into was Ole. I knew him briefly as he was in another band before, and they came over to Bristol to play a show and we spend like a weekend together. I also knew Martin as both of us were (and still are) involved in organising a festival in Leipzig. 

We quickly decided to do something together and started as a three piece. We spent a lot of time meeting up for chats and drinks before we actually went to the rehearsal studio, which was really helpful for the process of getting to know each other, getting to know what the others like and so on. It turned out that, coming from different reasons and experiences, we kinda wanted to do and achieve the same things when making music. We wrote a little manifesto with the dos and don’ts and stuck to it. 

Carsten joined after a few months. Him and Ole have been friends for ages and they have already been making music together as well, so it was the perfect match for the band. Together we wrote more material, experimented with sounds, effects, different instruments, vocals and so on and then a year later we self-released our first 4 track EP <i>Elliston Road</i> [which you can pick up here] started gigging and played the first tour which lead us through England, Denmark and Germany. 

That’s how it all started. 

Okay, now here’s something I already know because I have spies on every continent and one’s conveniently based in Germany: DIN Martin is an intriguing name and the story behind it is worth going into. Can you share with us where the name is from? I believe it’s meant to be a pun or a bit of wordplay – is that what you intended? And are you pressuring Carsten and Ole to change their names for continuity’s sake?

Haha that would actually be quite funny but no, we don’t want to pressure anyone to adopt different names for any reasons. Especially not with the name Martin – as you know, we are quite enough here already. 🙂 

Still there were moments when the four of us went to a party and me and Martin started saying hello by “Hi, Martin my name”, “Hello, I’m Martin” and Ole and Carsten just kept going with “Hey, Martin as well.”, “Hi, Martin.”. So yeah it would make things easier, especially when asked ‘why are you called DIN Martin’ but that wasn’t the reason why we chose it. 

Naming a band is always so hard and can be really frustrating I find. You don’t want to give too much away with the name or have it sound ridiculous or whatever, still it’s gotta be something that people will remember. Only sometimes it happens that the name suddenly pops up and makes perfect sense for what you are doing. 

It was actually Ole’s idea to call us DIN Martin and as soon as he said it, we were pretty much like, yeah let’s do it, that’s great. The DIN in German is a standard norm or measurement kinda thing. For an A4 sheet of paper for example you would in German say, this paper is in format DIN A4 (or DIN A3 or whatever). So the DIN says, for example, that all sheets of paper in format A4 are the same size. 

The DIN in DIN Martin is based on the manifesto we wrote. It gives us, or better, it gives the band the norm. It tells us where we are going and what we are doing. After we had finished writing it, we were all at the same level, from then on we all knew what to do. That was actually when Ole said the name – straight after writing it. The Martin comes from the two Martins in the band. Does that make sense? It does for us, but it’s always really tricky to explain. 

It’s great though, what people think it means. There was a guy at our show in Bristol a few weeks ago who said “I thought you were gonna do cover versions of Dean Martin songs but in a shoegazy style”. I thought that is brilliant and I’m sure there would definitely be a market for that! 

What we found out after a while is that there are meanings for DIN in different languages too. In English it’s an old term for noise which fits and in Danish it means “your” which is kinda nice really!

3 Responses

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  1. Martin (not related to the band :D) said, on April 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Just wanted to mention in case it’s not too clear: the “DIN A4” DIN *is* actually pronounced “Dean” (and not “D.I.N.”). I think for German-speakers this wordplay is pretty obvious, but it might not be for others 😉

    Anyway, really nice start for the interview, I’m really looking forward to the next parts!

    • Radhika said, on April 26, 2012 at 9:58 am

      I’m glad you mention that, now the wordplay is EVEN MORE apparent (also hilarious)

      I think you should consider joining the band, there’s probably room for more Martins in there. Even if you’re just their Bez.

      • Martin said, on April 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

        There’s always room for another Martin! 🙂

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