What’s surprised you the most about living here?
The amazing people here who have often like myself come here because of the access, or have stayed because of it. I feel blessed to have some many inspiring friends who are in my life. On the critical side the inversion continues to be the biggest factor in my desire for better standards of living here. It is the dirty secret that I wish would go away.
How would you describe the scene here vs. the one you came from or grew up in?
Well I have some strong opinions on that. I hope not to offend anyone as I get on my soapbox. I feel very lucky to have been able to go to warehouse parties with Richie Hawtin playing in Detroit, or hear Traxx and Paul Johnson in Chicago in the late 90’s early 2000’s. Being so close to the birth of house and techno was amazing and I think the musical education available in those cities is hard to come by here. I think that the average person out at the current clubs or parties has a lower standard for what the dj should be doing than in other bigger cities. I stress average in that sentence because I don’t want to insult the people here who I know have higher standards. In Chicago or Detroit if your mixes aren’t tight or interesting, people won’t be psyched. I am really hopeful that the amount of new shows, promoters, etc, will bring that bar of performance up. I’ve had some great conversations with other dj’s and producers here about their craft and I think that there is great potential for this place to grow. I believe a big part of why that standard is lower than it should be, is the lack of headlining dj’s from out of town. I understand that no promoter is going to pay for a “expensive” dj to come and then lose money because there simply aren’t enough fans to make it worth it. So I think people need to be constantly supporting each others gigs and such to make this scene grow into something where we can get to quality acts here.
The other big difference for me is there is no techno here, that I have heard. I think there might be other people playing it or making it and if they read this then reach and get a hold of me! I hope at some point I can help build a critical mass of folks interested in playing/producing it that we can build a scene for that as well.
Finally the best part of SLC scene is that it is a small one and you can find and meet other artist pretty quickly. I can’t say enough about how friendly and supportive people are here and to have entered into the house scene relatively recently I really have quickly found friends and people to play with.
What equipment do you use for DJing (or producing)?
Two Technics 1200’s, a old Pioneer 600 mixer, an ever growing record collection and Traktor timecoded vinyl. I just ordered a new CDJ and I hope to be moved away using my laptop by the end of this year. I don’t trust my computer and don’t want to be dependent on it. I love the feel of records and the timecoded vinyl was a great tool for incorporating digital tracks in. I am not a purist and will use digital tracks but dammit, nothing sound as good as wax; snap, crackle, pop!
What goals do you have for yourself when it comes to music?
Last year my goals were to figure out the scene, support other artists, and basically start playing out again. I felt I accomplished that well and had some great learning experiences. For example my first show at Red Door my computer failed and I closed it and played all vinyl for the first time in 8 years. I forgot the joy in doing just that and people seem to dig it. Since then I’ll happily play on CDJ’s but will try to use turntables as much as I can. This year my goal is to try to continue to check out other DJ’s, start listen to more of the live sets (producers who playing their own beats) and to try to continue to play out more hopefully some b2b sets as well. And to do a techno show!
What kinds of music/artists do you like to listen to or support when you’re not playing out?
At home my partner and I listen to a lot of motown, old jazz singers and soul. I like buying old records too to play for her. During the period where I stopped djing I basically stopped listening to new dance music. It was really good for me because I feel more balanced now in my musical tastes.
Locally I’ve been supporting other dj’s. I love your sets Jesse because they remind me of Chicago, Red Spectral is great a inducing emotion in his music, Artemis’s has tons of passion which is contagious, and Jeff Larson knows how to play a crown well and get them dancing. My buddy Siak is producing some cool electro beats in a great style.
How would you describe your style of selecting and mixing?
Mixing=Fast and raw. I love the third space. It’s the space that happens while two tracks are playing at once. I also try to mix into tracks in the middle sometimes rather than just safely mixing end of one track with the begining of the next. I use my ear rather than some computer algorthim that “suggests” a track. Selecting tracks is was makes me love mixing. It is never the same and leads to infinite possibilities depending on mood, audience, etc. I firmly believe two different dj’s can make the same track sound different depending on how they play it, what they mix it with,what they layer with it.
Selecting = I spend a lot of time listening to music before I buy it. Even then, I’m constantly weeding out music that I don’t like from what I play and bringing in new stuff. When my fiancee reads this she’ll roll her eyes because she knows how much time I spend on this. And I love her for that!
I use a lot of sites to find music, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Bent Crayon Record Store, Decks.de, talks with my friends, Beatport (a lot of heads get down on that site but you can dig so well in there I have to use it). I have the philosophy that I try to only buy vinyl that I can’t get digitally, a byproduct of this is it keeps my sound more underground. There are so many great producers putting out music it’s hard to keep up. I miss the records stores in the midwest. You can get lost in them!
Anything else you want to share about the mix you made for NCM?
I mixed it in one go after spending some time picking out what records to play. The hope was to make it sound like a live warehouse dj set that I love. I also tried to throw in old Detroit records I dug up with newer vinyl tracks to keep the old sounds going. My hope was to make a mix of house and techno and that it becomes it’s own sound. Thanks for reading this and letting me rant; I appreciate the opportunity and everyone that has a passions that allow them to grow and support others. As always big thanks to my homies from the midwest who are the reason I became a dj, and anyone who has supported me by coming out even when sitting at home is so nice! And special thanks to Victoria for allowing me to be who I am and the loud music that comes with it.
Catch Matt this Friday the 16th of January at Zest. Info >