THEOPHILUS MARTINS / by Olivia Seally

My name is Theophilus Martins, I am 29 and I was born in Providence, Rhode Island.

FF - What were you doing five years ago?

TM - I was just starting to bubble off making music and I was connecting with a lot of the kids in New York, I really wanted to be a part of that scene. And so Myspace was my way of connecting... I remember I hit up Mickey Factz; he was like the first person to show me so much love. I was just trying to be a part of all that. And I ended up being the tour manager for this group from LA called U+I. They actually contacted me online... I put out something with okayplayer and they liked my shit and asked if I wanted to come on the road as their DJ. 

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So we ended up going on tour with Warren G. I connected with Curtains and Kidz in the Hall, they were so popular... they were like one of the bands in LA who were doing shit that was progressive and innovative and they were cool with a bunch of New York cats. So they were like my introduction, I’ve always been the kid on the outside of the group trying to get in, so I just tried to find whatever relationships I could (laughs). We did a song called Beautiful Day, it was me, Evidence, Aloe Blacc was on that fucking song! and Mickey Factz was on it, so that was my way of getting into that. 

FF - What do you do now?

TM - I’ve always been into entertainment. As a kid I did some child acting, I did performance... I didn’t like it because I was super shy, so I started DJing, which was my way of being a performer in music without being the face of it. And then I got more comfortable and wanted to start to make my own music. I lived in London for a good part of last year, I took some time off and I felt I had an understanding of what I want to do, as opposed to

trying to be this great rapper, or an amazing DJ. I was just like why don’t I build the world that I want to live in? So I just do cool shit now; I DJ, I perform, I creative direct. I think that it’s more appropriate for me to just do what I want and plant those seeds now and let that grow and let people see it.

Being a part of art and a part of so many things that you like... I used to look at it as a burden, but then I realized well, for one...

I don’t like putting out music regularly, I want to build it and look over every detail because I care about it. If you get one from me and I don’t feel like putting another one out for a few months, then you’ll just have to accept that. But I also realize in those moments the art never dies, the passion never dies. It can be applied to so many things and I feel like I was trying to channel that energy into one lane, but I don’t want anything I have to force, nothing. So I’m just going to do what comes natural. And for me, that took trust, like do what comes natural?! No! College! Bills! but I was just like I’m gonna be good regardless and things changed from that point.

FF - Tell us about your company ‘Good Posture’

TM - Good Posture... it’s a little bit like I birthed the baby, like I spent last year figuring out who I was and what I’m doing and how to launch it and in January I premiered a collaboration I did with this company called Flexfit. I partnered with them to design this product and then designed this experience, so I had these big 15 foot walls that I designed at Agenda and it introduced my company and what inspired it. Colors drove the idea for the music, which translated to the hats... yellow and blue are primary colors and yellow is this color, like how I felt when I was making this music, it was very much lively, it was cool, it was fun. And that canary blue was like a lot of the music I was making while I was in London, it was very melodic, it was sad, it was emotional. And so I designed a yellow corduroy hat and a blue hat so just attributing those colors into a physical manifestation, so now I’ve designed some clothes that will accompany those hats too. Just making it a full experience, so like I’ve given birth to the baby by premiering it at Agenda, where it got great press and people fucked with it. 

FF - Do you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior now?

TM - OK, well in music... I had my debut LA show two days ago! That show was like a graduating step, I was watching myself while performing, like wow this is what I’ve always envisioned! I performed in a way that I’ve always wanted to and delivered it the way I wanted to and it was a very joyous experience. I felt like ok! I’ve graduated one level, I’m a freshman entering a new stage of being an artist and being fearless. It feels very new, it’s like first day of graduation, you have family dinner and walk around like yeah! (laughs) it’s that kind of feeling, where I feel accomplished. I know who I am now, God damn! It took twenty five years (laughs) but I’m thankful, it took a lot to get here but it was worth it.

you can listen to Theophilus Martins here.
As told to: Olivia Seally / Video:
Olivia Seally / Photos: courtesy of Theophilus Martins