People: Hitting the decks

Martin Badder ACSI weaves the worlds of investment management and dance music together with his band Swingers, which has played headline slots at noteworthy festivals worldwide

Contact if you have a hobby you think will interest other CISI members. You  will receive  a £25 voucher as a ‘thank you’ if we publish your storyYou might not automatically connect the terms ‘deep house’, ‘tech house’ and ‘nu-disco’ with the world of investment management. But forMartin Badder ACSI, investment manager at Accrue Investment Management in Bath,this fusion is all in a day’s work as he indulges his love of DJing and music out of the office.

Martin plays keyboards in his own electro swing band called Swingers, now in its third year. The three-piece band plays DJ sets with live musicians, and has played headline slots at Glastonbury, Boomtown, international arts festival WOMAD and the Isle of Wight Festival in 2016, bringing a rock show attitude to the dance music scene with vintage remixes and glamorous onstage dancers. The band, which has been likened to Basement Jaxx, gives an extraordinary, energetic and charismatic  performance: “Glastonbury was a highlight,” says Martin. “We had 10,000 people in the field watching us on the Saturday night; it was so much fun.”

But the biggest crowd Martin has played to is 120,000 in Phoenix Park, Dublin, when he was playing keyboards for Pina Kollars (Real World Records): “The noise from the crowd was unbelievably loud; it sounded like a jet engine!"

Martin has played in most European countries and further afield: “I played The Viper Room in California which is probably my favourite venue so far. Los Angeles seems to be so focused around music and fashion; it’s really an inspiring place to visit.”

Martin was born in Bath and educated at Corsham Comprehensive School. He can trace his love of music back to watching a keyboard player on Top of the Pops, which led to him beginning piano lessons at the age of four. He started writing and producing electronic music as a teenager, signing his first major record deal with London Records at the age of 17. This was followed a few weeks later by a publishing deal with EMI.

“I was a keyboard player first, playing in my own bands and for other artists. I spent ten years touring the world playing keyboards with Countermine, my first band. We supported The Stone Roses, Ronnie Wood, Blondie, Simple Minds, The Charlatans and Bryan Adams.”

“We had 10,000 people watching us on the Saturday night; it was so much fun”

Martin’s financial services career began after his decade of touring, when the first record deal came to an end. He began as an account executive at Hoodless Brennan, now Beaufort Securities in Bristol. “The managing director gave me the challenge of acquiring 100 clients. After establishing my client base, I passed my exams within the first year.

“The DJing came later, and now gives me an opportunity to play my own tracks out. I was asked by a friend to fill in for him at a small club in Bath called The Common Room. Having never DJ’d before, I enthusiastically gave it a go. Sticking to 90s house club classics seemed to work and formed a good starting point. Pretty soon I was DJing once a week or more.”

Now at Accrue Investment Management, Martin still looks after many of his original clients from the early days, while balancing his more conservative day job with regular dance floor gigs.

He says there is a lot of mileage in playing tracks that sample a recognisable vocal line: “This gives those on the dance floor something to latch on to. I get so much pleasure out of playing music to people, looking into the crowd and seeing smiles on everyone’s faces. This is the best thing in the world. It feels so good to be able to do this and is very addictive!”

When he is not out DJing, Martin is in the studio producing his own material. He refines these tunes on the dance floors of his regular nights before releasing them: “I have one track out so far in 2016 and have another two out in December 2016: ‘Mandem skank’ on Datatech and ‘Freak yeah’ out on Bunny Tiger.”

One of Martin’s main New Year resolutions is to teach his two-year-old son, Bodhi Blue, the piano, and when he is not playing his music he is a big fan of Crossfit, training six days a week, which gives him the energy to perform well both in the office and on stage.

This article was originally published in the January print edition of The Review. The print edition is available to all members who opt in to receive it, except student members. All eligible members who would like to receive future editions in the post should log in to MyCISI, click on My Account/Communications and set their preference to 'Yes'.
Published: 01 Feb 2017
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