DJ Awards Feature Interview – Mat.Joe – Hip Hop production definitely trained our sampling skills and our understanding of organic sounds and laid back grooves.

As part of our support for the DJ Awards, we sat down recently with a number of the Newcomer nominees to discuss their careers, the nomination and more. Third is the Berlin-based house duo – Mat.joe.

Mat.Joe Matze and Johannes, two young men with a Hip Hop and House affection conquering Berlin. Their productions come to life in a Neukölln backyard where studio equipment and DJ decks meet desiccated plants. A natural development when music has become the top priority from dusk till dawn. Back in 2006, rap, breakdance and skateboarding were the passions that made them best buddies and this deep connection is reflected in their music, again and again. In 2008, they formed the producer team Twomanics and concentrated on authentic and credible hip hop productions for independent artists.

Originally from Hannover, they moved to Berlin for new artistic challenges and after MySpace, mixtapes and candy, Mat.Joe have found their own style: crispy House beats paired with rhythmic Soul and Hip Hop elements. The result is deep, dancefloor-qualified, warm and rough. Inspiration is found everywhere between subway rides, late night showers and favourite bars. New ideas are kept manically on every smartphone nearby. This is sound autism at the highest stage. Mat.Joe’s love for music and the ambition to improve are the main ingredients that keep the engine running. See you there.

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to chat with us at Decoded Magazine today. How are you both? 

Thanks for having us. We’re superfine, dressed up and on the way to a photoshoot. New press pics!

Congratulations on the nomination for Best Newcomer, let’s briefly talk about your journey here. How did you join the dots between hip hop and the house sound you now play? 

Thank you! As you guys already know, we have a strong hip-hop background producing beats, going to jams, graffiti etc. but both of us always had an affinity to house music so it felt natural to go four-to-the-floor one day. We tried out some things just for fun in the studio and realised that we really feel at home with house music until today.

Not many people know this, but Progressive House DJ and Selador label head, Dave Seaman is a pretty good breakdancer. How would you guys do in a dance off do you think? You still got some moves? 

Oh, of course, we still got some moves but we’ve never been professional break dancers. Should be alright, though! It’s always inspiring to see other people’s cultural background and how it has influenced them and reflects their personality.

What music were you exposed to in Hannover, and has the move to Berlin opened your minds as much as you thought it might?

We listened to all kinds of stuff: funk and soul, everything indie, minimal techno, of course, a lot of hip-hop and yes, the move to Berlin was necessary to expand our horizons, grow as artists and build a musical network. The new input, the whole vibe of the city really helped us to take our music to the next level.

Clearly, having a background in Hip Hop leads very naturally towards a deeper house sound, you only have to look at Loco Dice or Armand van Helden to see the possibilities. What are your goals for the next 5 years? 

To keep going, to be experimental – maybe even learn a new instrument – and to cement ties with Jackmode, our agency and The Volume Group, our brand new management.

Mat.Joe2 decoded

Every artist has a track that gained the attention of the world and made their name. Talk us through the track you think broke your sound.

Heart To Find. We’re always on the hunt for RnB pearls. This one is not very rare but it was a one-hit wonder. We got our hands on both the acapella and the instrumental and worked our way through. It’s probably the way these elements are chopped together combined with the bouncy drum programming and bass line that formed the typical deep character of the song.

With close to 100k Facebook fans it’s easy to see you are becoming hot property, how do you think you will deal with being famous and being recognised wherever you go to DJ? Can we expect your rider to start asking for only blue M&Ms?! 

Never. We’re just happy that the people like our music and that the whole project turns out so well. We actually don’t like being in a demanding position – we want to give! And the more people know about us the more we get heard.

Do you find the taboo that appears to exist in House music regarding ghost production is a nonsense and actually, we need to embrace these artists and the incredible work they do? 

We understand both sides of the coin: at the end of the day, it’s a well-paid part of the music business. One should also keep in mind that certain producers really like acting in the background so we’re totally neutral about this.

Having made hip-hop in the past, which techniques transfer well when making House music, and what do you think gives you an edge? 

Hip Hop production definitely trained our sampling skills and our understanding of organic sounds and laid back grooves. The given edge is mostly the time we take to analyse and reshape our sound.

Tell us about your forthcoming music. Any plans for an album?

We’ve lots of things in the pipeline so let’s see if it’s enough for an album haha. We’re focussing on original singles and selected remixes at the moment but we’ve spoken about this a lot lately so it’s definitely an option for the future.

Where are you most looking forward to playing over the summer? 

We just played Fusion Festival which was incredible and we’re looking forward to more festival shows, Ibiza and our first ever Brazil tour in September.

You got together in the days on MySpace. How do you find social media these days, and do you think artists connect with fans effectively enough? 

Well, without social media we wouldn’t have this interview right now. Nowadays, it’s extremely important to take care of your online presence and yeah it’s the perfect way to stay in touch with your followers and let them know what you’re up to. We’re using Facebook’s live feature quite often now as it’s a great opportunity to interact with fans and let them know what kinds of mischief we’re doing all day.

Well, it’s been wonderful to meet chaps. best of luck for the future. Is there anything in closing you’d like to add? 

Thanks a lot! Don’t eat yellow snow and see you on the next show!

You can vote for Mat.Joe along with all the other nominations for Best Newcomer at the 2016 DJ Awards here.

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About the author

Before Decoded started, UK Editor, Simon Huxtable ran a successful podcast for new and established artists covering many forms of electronic music. No slouch on the decks himself, he has DJed at some of the countries best venues and has an ever-growing portfolio of releases under his current production moniker - Real Gone Kid.

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