Inspired by movement, sport and her self-founded running collective 'Tempo', Martha is a DJ making waves wearing On's new Cloudsurfer running shoe.
Freedom, structure, and peace of mind. Just three of the reasons DJ and broadcaster Martha grew to love running, and was inspired to found Tempo, a south London running collective. Based in Peckham, the collective brings together a community of DJs and musicians who love to run, encouraging each other in sport as well as creative practice. There’s no pressure to run fast, it’s about positive impact on mind and body, encouraging people to give it a go.
Looking for a shoe that supports her running, and values, On’s Cloudsurfer is a perfect fit. The running shoe has been revamped 13 years since the brand’s first hit the market with revolutionary CloudTec®. On’s latest CloudTec Phase™ delivers the smoothest ride ever, for that ‘running on clouds’ feeling with CloudTec Phase™ midsole technology that also delivers a cushioned landing. Also making waves in sustainability, they use the dope-dyeing method for colouring the upper, saving 90% of water compared to conventional dyeing methods.
Making south London her playground wearing the Cloudsurfer, we caught up with Martha to chat Tempo, making connections through running, and how On’s new technology is helping her make waves.
What does Peckham mean to you, and what makes it stand out from the rest of London?
Peckham is where I grew up. It means a lot to me because it was my home. I think it’s been through a hell of a lot of changes in my lifespan, which has been incredible to see – but it’s not an easy place to be. It’s not an easy place to live; it’s not an easy place to be creative. But, you know, there are a lot of creative people here and creativity always finds a way.
How does running help you connect with the city, and what does that do to inspire you?
I started running because this city, London, is a tough place to live. And I sometimes felt like my rhythms weren’t really aligning with the pressures. I always find that getting out there for a run helps me just connect with the city a little bit more and get into some sort of sync. And it makes me feel like I can keep up, just because I’m making my own priorities, making my own routes, going my own way. It just really helps kind of regulate things.
Running specifically, you don’t need much. You can just take yourself, and I really like that. You don’t have to book a slot or anything like that, you can just go when it suits you. And when you’re a creative person living the ups and downs of the creative lifestyle, it’s really nice to be able to put your own routines in place and just go out and connect with the city whenever you want on your own terms.
So how did you get into DJing, and is there anything that you’re kind of working on now?
I started DJing two years after I started doing radio. I started doing radio when I was 16 years old in Queens Road, Peckham at Reprezent, which is now a fully formed FM radio station in Brixton. At the time it was just our youth club on the bottom of a block. Being around the young people who were curious about radio and music, and also the mentors that worked there, really shaped the way I see the world.
The values that I picked up about passing on any knowledge that you do get, listening to other people, being consistent, and making room to experiment and try things and make mistakes. Those are values that I’ve carried with me throughout my whole journey, and will always carry with me because they’re so important to me and they underpin everything I do from movement to music.
How do you make waves within your industry?
I make waves within the industry by being consistent, following my body’s own rhythms and intuition, but also reaching out to others and building community and supporting other people as often and wherever I can.
How did Tempo start, and what is it?
Tempo is a community of DJs and musicians who come together to run every week, and we are based in Peckham. I set up Tempo about four and a half years ago. The original intention was to spend time with my music friends outside of the club environment. Doing something that is perhaps a little more positive for our minds and our bodies.
But I will say that Tempo has never really been about running. It’s about everything around the running – and the running itself is just an activity that we come together to do. So there is absolutely no pressure to run fast, or to run for a million miles – it’s really not about that. It’s about giving it a go in a way that suits you, and connecting with people that are into the same things.
What goes down at these sessions after the run club?
Once a month, we get the decks out and we just very informally teach people to DJ for our open deck DJ session. So we still run 5k, as we do every week, but we just stay a bit later and we get DJing basically. It’s an opportunity to look at the equipment close up and to ask questions and to watch how other DJs do things. That is all born out of my roots in community radio, and that pirate style of observing the DJ that is on before you and after you. Seeing their tricks and getting tips off them and seeing how they do things, and having that room to ask questions is also really important. I’m really happy that we can offer a session like that.
So within that space, how does technology help that practise? How does it elevate that session?
So at Tempo’s open deck sessions, once we’ve focused on the evening’s movement section and we’ve got rid of all of that nervous energy, we can then take in the equipment when it comes to DJing a lot more. We finish running, head upstairs and have a look at the equipment. We try and stay up-to-date as well with new developments within technology, so we got some new decks recently.
Since I’ve started learning to DJ and observing other DJs, technology has evolved and things have changed so much. Things have become slicker, you can do more with the CDJ – it’s practically like an instrument these days. You can loop stuff, you can add all of these different effects to really adapt the songs that you’re playing and make them sound so unique for every DJ set.
How does running support you in everyday life? This could be regarding your mental health, fitness or even keeping a healthy balance.
I started running to try and bring some structure to my week. When you’re working in the creative industries, you never really know what you’re going to be doing from week to week. I find that adding runs into my schedule really helps to put some pillars into my schedule, and then I can build from there. That really helps me mentally, to have an idea of what I’m doing and be in control of certain things, but also have room to build routines that work for me.
What do you look for in a running shoe when you’re out on these runs?
My approach to running is all about comfort, so I look for a shoe that is non-invasive and supports me. Running is about feeling strong. So I’m looking for a shoe that can reflect that and support me to keep on going.
How has the new Cloudsurfer technology helped you?
I’ve been trying out the new Cloudsurfer technology today. It’s also super comfortable and allows me to run for longer. Something that really appeals to me about On is that they’re always working to be more sustainable with every drop. I’m enjoying that it’s super comfortable, which is gonna help me run for longer.
Whether running a personal best or a podium finish, the Cloudsurfer is designed to support you with every step. The new model is available online for £150.00.