Martial Simon, formerly known as DJ Martial, remakes Deniece William‘s Footloose hit “Let’s Hear It For The Boy.”
The New York-based DJ spent the course of the past two decades touring the United States while also managing SET Artist Management. Martial Simon has now taken his talents to producing, first releasing the single “Kryptonite (I’m On It)” with Smooth City in 2020. Fast forward to today, the producer has brought back the classic “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” for a modern rework, released on his own imprint, GET SET Records.
Opening with an infectious tune and uplifting sweeps, Martial Simon adds a modern bounce to the ’80s song. The New York-based producer emphasizes the track’s lighthearted beats, cutting back on the original’s synths while highlighting cheerful piano riffs. Powerful claps and kicks drive the song’s beats and bring groovy sensibilities to the track, elevating the song to new definitions of funky. While vastly different from his first bass house and G-house influenced single “Kryptonite (I’m On It),” Martial Simon’s remake of “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” taps into a more airy side of house, displaying his versatility in the studio.
Knowing Martial Simon’s unique background in DJing, artist management, and now producing, we were pressed to learn more about how the longtime music veteran took on the challenge, and succeeded, in remaking “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” into this era’s disco groove.
Check out Martial Simon’s remake of “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” below or stream the song via your favorite music platform.
Jillian Nguyen: You’ve had an interesting history in music with your roles in the industry. How did you begin your journey with music and get to where you are now?
Martial Simon: I started DJing in 1993 after my older brother brought me to a rave. When I went to college, I supported myself by DJing constantly on the side during and after. In 2006, quit my full time job in television production to purse a fulltime DJ career and never looked back. Since then, I started a booking agency called SET Artist Management.
What permanent changes do you see happening in music after the pandemic?
There will be a market correction for sure. Naturally, I believe the big-tier artists will be fine; however, the more mid-tier talent and those just starting out will have a tough hill to climb. Now more than ever, artists must be relevant and play to what is around them and be flexible. The good news is there are platforms that didn’t exist prior for artists to stay engaged and be relevant. Like any industry, the music industry is pivoting with the climate change. As the world begins to “open” again, we will see new areas emerge for talent, just like we did during COVID with the burst in popularity of TikTok and Twitch and its effect on music, to live-streamed concerts and DJ sets and beyond.
Were there any challenges pivoting from DJing and talent booking to producing and launching your own label?
In the early stages in the pandemic, I was able to focus my energy and time toward producing and starting the label. The biggest challenge is now figuring out the right balance for three companies and [ensuring] that they are all successful. Having the right people around you all working together is pivotal, and I am incredibly lucky to have a strong team and support system. We are now getting back to normal with the DJ company and bookings, and at the same time our label is starting to take off, so there needs to be the right balance and workstreams.
Like most people in the pandemic, we’ve all had to look at how we allocate our time and balance everything in a new way—all while still working from home in most cases. However, we are ready, willing and able to take on these positive challenges, and what’s even better is it means more work for our team and openings for potential new team members as we grow.
What do you look for in artists on GET SET Records?
Do you have the characteristics and qualities to shine while possessing that inner force to power yourself to the top? Not all paths are easy or lead to immediate success. Can you lean on your traits when times are down to drive [through] to the next level?
Personality and drive [have] to be at the top of the list. I approach everything with a sense of humor and remember that we aren’t saving lives—we are making music. Music is the great equalizer, and we do it because we enjoy it. So if it’s not fun, then what’s the point, is really my motto. I also am a very dedicated person, and my businesses are built from passion, and I make sure to instill that into everything I do.
Now that you have launched GET SET Records, what’s next for the label?
I personally have 5 records in the hopper. My goal is to release songs regularly over the next few months and continue to grow our GET SET artists and music portfolio.
Do you have any favorite artists that are currently influencing your production career?
Really into covers and records that slap. Covers by R3HAB, VINAI, Luca Debonaire, KALUMA and KLASS. Records that slap by James Hype, Dubdogz, Hook N Sling, Bhaskar, SMACK, Sak Noel and Salvi.
What was the process like behind the remake of “Let’s Hear It For The Boy?”
My music taste really drove the purpose of this song. Covers are all the rage right now, which I’m thrilled about and what developed is an energetic dance cover of the #1 Billboard hit from 1984 (in the movie “Footloose”) that’s infused with 2021-style sound. By focusing on strong vocals and a catchy beat, I aimed to stay true to the original while making it blend into today’s music culture. The song really has a kick to it and a funky bass line, plus a unique piano riff to capture that “feel good” element. The chorus is the focal point, so I stuttered and doubled her voice in an EDM tone by chopping and screwing the vocals with one-shots and effects. I wanted to have some much-needed fun while staying true to the roots of the original anthem.
Your debut single “Kryptonite” and “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” are quite different. Do you have any plans on exploring other subgenres of house music?
I love bass house (aka “Kryptonite” cover/sample) with a G House feel. I also love Electro Dance, which will be infused into some of my upcoming music.
What are your plans moving forward as we’re beginning to see live venues and music festivals open again?
Keep grinding 100%. I want to stay focused on the progression of GET SET and SET Artist Management. While I would love to perform as much as possible and get back out there—I love to make people dance and bring some joy into their lives. That’s what really drives me, but it’s not just about me. It’s about our team and the end goals and bringing good music to everyone especially during tough times, and then to celebrate when we’re out of them.