DJ Ron Slomowicz: How did you first get started in the electronic music scene?
Billie Ray Martin: I got started in the mid-80's when there was a huge influence coming to Berlin from England. First Yazoo and Depeche Mode, later Cabaret Voltaire and such. I spent years listening and at the same time exploring my own voice in connection with electronic music. We made it in a bedroom with one of the first cheap synths with a built-in drum machine. Pretty bad
RS: When you wrote "Your Loving Arms," did you have any idea that it would become the international phenomenon that it did?
BRM: Well, I spent two years telling every record company in Britain it would be. It was turned down by every one of them, so I must had some idea otherwise I would not have persevered.
RS: I remember seeing you in 1995 at Prince's Glam Slam in Miami - was that your first US performance? Do you remember what that night was like?
BRM: I don't think it was the first, although I am not sure. I remember the night to be exciting and uplifting, and the audience was great fun
RS:Do you prefer performing in front of an audience or working in the studio?
BRM: I live for performing live and hate the studio. Although I have now found a way to feel less uncomfortable in the studio, thanks to the people whom I work with and the studio environments that I have chosen, and not putting myself under pressure no matter what.
RS: Your last album had a really interesting feel - it felt like a cross between blues and drum & bass - what genres and musical forms inspire you the most?
BRM: All except heavy metal and George Benson.
RS: How did the Ann Peebles duet come about? Is she one of your influences? Have you ever performed onstage with her? Have you considered touring together?
BRM: She has been my favourite singer for many years. I asked her to duet and went to Memphis to see her twice. She is a wonderful lady; I don't think I have a greater influence. We have not performed onstage together. We considered setting up a tour at one point but in the musical climate we operate in it is too hard to try and organize a tour like that. Also, to be honest, I would not even put myself onstage with such a voice.
RS: After that duet and your work with Kristine W - are there any other artists you would like to duet with?
BRM: Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton and Ben Harper.
RS: I notice that you have moved forward from the 60s to the 80s in influences - are you embracing the 80s revival and electroclash?
BRM: Most definitely. Not that I am jumping on a bandwagon with it, but it happens to be what I am doing right now any way. My new single Twisted Love is influenced by Giorgio Moroder and Donna (Summer) in a big way. It just seemed like a good influence to counter a lot of the dreadful samey stuff that's out.
RS:I sense a bit of Ziggy Stardust in your last set of photos - are you a big Bowie fan? Is there a Bowie song you would like to cover?
BRM: I was a huge Bowie fan in the 80's, tried to look identical. Now I'm not, so the photo thing must be coincidental. There are many Bowie songs however, that one could cover. He is one of the greatest songwriters of our time..
RS: What's with the current rollerskating trend? How is the "Hot Skates" project going?
BRM: Well I hope it will start a worldwide rollerskating trend; I believe it could. It's coming out on pink vinyl in a few weeks. On my own label to start with, unless the labels I am talking to about licensing come across with concrete deals. I've just evolved musically and my influences now are more Chic and Donna Summer than anything. The last think I need right now is dreary music.