Exclusive: We dive into the past, present, and future with Matrixxman
Matrixxman has been on our radar for quite a while, and with all that’s been happening in the talented artist’s life, we knew we had to sit down to ask some questions when the opportunity arose. Famously known for being the co-labelhead of Soo Wavey, with San Francisco based record label with dance veteran Vin Sol, his work in techno, hip hop, and the many styles that hang in-between. With an album out, a move to Europe, and a string of tour dates in tow, we chatted with the Producer/DJ to learn more about his world.
Hey, it’s good to talk to you. How’s everything going?
All is well, thanks. Just staying busy trying to bang out tunes in between parties.
I see you’re currently on the road, performing all over Europe. How has the latest string of shows treated you?
Kind of crazy. I had zero idea what to expect in many of these places, as it has been a first time for me to play in locations like Stuttgart, Utrecht, Glasgow, etc. But it’s been magical. I’m rather humbled by the raw passion for techno I’ve witnessed with crowds in this last month.
You’ve also relocated to Europe, what have been the pros & cons on moving here from the other side of the pond?
It was a matter of time honestly. There just simply isn’t the infrastructure in the states to support gigging this kind of music continuously. Granted, there are cool things happening here and there but one could argue that the entire USA has about as many parties as, let’s say for instance, France alone does. For whatever reason, it’s an obscure form of art in America. The implications of that are mind boggling to me considering that Detroit techno and Chicago house played pivotal roles in creating all of this.
Some of your earlier production has been for some of the west coast’s most thriving artists of today such as Ty Dolla $ign and YG, take me through your transition in to Techno music from Hip Hop. What was the reason behind the change and how has the journey been so far?
Hmmm. I had actually always been into techno (well, for the last 15-16 years or so), it’s just that it was difficult getting things started with dance music. The accolades with rap seemed to come along relatively easily but I eventually lost interest in the urban stuff. Although amazing things were happening, I guess I got frustrated and came to the conclusion that I should be producing for myself instead of other artists. Quite a narcissistic choice on one hand, but the whole process of having to pitch things to people just became tiresome. I witnessed a lot of false starts; brief glimpses of success in the industry that were inspiring yet also disillusioning at the same time. My thoughts were that if I’m going to be living hand to mouth, I might as well do something that I really find fucking exciting. And that excitement was simply not present in rap anymore.
Shortly thereafter I experienced a profound catharsis of sorts, insofar as it was really liberating to just “do me” as it were, and not worry about hustling in some sort of competitive rat race. Call it coincidence or providence, but that’s when things started to take on a life of their own. I can’t quite put my finger on when this shift happened but before I knew it, the dance music I was making started opening doors that were previously closed. A “gateless gate” had been unlocked (in Zen koan terms) if you will.
The internet has created so many new ways for fans to find emerging artists, who have been some of your favourite finds in the past year or so?
Thanks to the internet I have discovered and connected with some awesome artists like Elad Magdasi, Setaoc Mass, Espen Lauritzen, D-Leria, Stranger, the list goes on…
Your album Homesick received critical acclaim, how would you say this project compares to your previous releases?
It definitely is much more of a narrative-type piece of work as opposed to the terse nature of EPs where you are not able to explore a wide range of moods or emotions.
One of my favourite tracks from that album was “Packard Plant,” it’s extremely layered and feels like a journey in itself. Talk me through this song and how it all came together.
This particular track is basically me reimagining the plant (which is presently a desolate site of abandonment) in its full glory 50 to 100 years in the future. If one could paint a mental picture of the most exquisite array of self-aware robotics whizzing and whirling around in a delicate dance of creation, that might be somewhat close to what I had in mind. Presumably at that point in time it would not be cars in the production line but spaceships and perhaps even sentient ones at that.
What has been the biggest learning experience of your career so far?
My biggest learning experience might be disappointment that happened at certain stages from trying to conform when I was younger. Do not compromise your creative vision in the slightest. Be true to yourself and it will surely resonate deeply with others.
For those who aren’t familiar, how would you say your general mixes for podcasts or Boiler Room for instance, would differ from your live sets?
My club DJ sets are perhaps a little more aggressive at times but there isn’t that much of a difference frankly. The Boiler Room mix is a spot on version of what I like to play in the ideal club environment. Same thing with other recordings like The Bunker mix or La Bacchanale mix more recently. If I had to say, the only variable might be varying degrees of going harder or softer depending on the crowds’ vibes at different gigs respectively.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and in to 2017?
A gang of wax is on the way including a rhythm tool EP, an all acid EP, collaborative efforts with Vin Sol, Echologist (Brendon Moeller), and more. I’m also in the midst of working with a band that is um, absolutely legendary. It’s somewhat removed from the the techno realm but still connected in a sense. Can’t spill the beans just yet, but more on that soon 🙂