Matthias Meyer has emerged from his Hamburg upbringing and slotted neatly into the world of deep house, releasing tracks such as ‘Tout Va Bien’ and ‘Salt City’ and securing a residency at Berlin’s legendary Watergate. His grasp and passion for the more celestial side of house and techno relates as though he has always been around.
His first Ibiza residency took place at Pacha this summer and this accompanied a nomination in the Deep House category at the DJ Awards, cementing his reputation as one of the foremost spinners in the genre. Verification of this can be found in his recent Boiler Room set recorded in Berlin, a hypnotic, intricate mix that can be enjoyed in the club or on the sofa, an equilibrium that can only be achieved by a select few DJs.
At the end of a very encouraging summer, Matthias spoke with Decoded.
Your remix of Butch’s ‘Shahrzad’ was something of an anthem at this year’s Burning Man. Have you ever been, and would you like to play there?
Oh was it, that’s nice to hear. I was actually thinking of Burning Man when I worked on it because the main melodies really reminded me of the Robot Heart bus. Long story: I had an offer two years ago from a big camp. They offered me two tickets. It took me a little time to find someone who wanted to go, by which time they only had one ticket left. Then due to a misunderstanding they thought I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come or not and in the end the last ticket was gone. Real shame as it would have meant I was on the line-up for Robot Heart. Damn! Next year I will have to plan more in advance. That’s the way to go, as you need a lot of preparation like renting an RV with friends, buying food and stuff. I’ve heard my music gets played quite a lot there, so I would really like to go one day.
Your music strikes that neat balance between the dancefloor and the skies, where groove meets ethereal textures and melodies, particularly prevalent on labels such as Anjunadeep, where your remix of Ryan Davis’ ‘Brun’ featured. And with another collab with Ryan coming up, how important do you think it is to keep these elements close by each other?
Yes you are right. I love those elements and I really try to have them in my tracks. I think it’s really important to keep ‘your’ style and be unique. If you try to copy other trends and styles you will always come second! It takes longer sometimes, but it’s worth it in the longer term. Nowadays people come to see me cause of my ‘style’.
How much of an honour is it to be nominated for the Deep House Award in this year’s DJ Awards in Ibiza?
You’ve had your first Ibiza residency at Pacha this summer. How was it, and how is the definitive deep house sound received there?
I personally think it fits perfectly to Ibiza. I am really happy to see that this kind of music, like which features at the WooMooN parties and Rumors, is coming back and those hippie, spiritual vibes of 20 years ago are strong in 2017. I always play the warm ups at Pacha and it works great. Sometimes I play on at the villa after parties and there it works even better, especially with great weather and sun.
What were the pieces of music or artists that caught your attention as a kid and took you into the world of electronic music?
I would say DJ Koze is one of my biggest influences. He is also from around the Hamburg area and did lots of different music. He was really big into hip hop – like me – and had a hip hop project called Fischmob, before he had a band called International Pony that was more focused on funk and electro. Then later he went more into the house and techno side of things. But you can still hear this background in his recent tracks. This is the same for me.
You’ve been resident at Watergate for 5 years now. Is Berlin the ultimate place to express yourself musically, in terms of not having to fit into a certain mould? In other words, where you can find your niche and people will be receptive to it?
‘Cause I know the club and the people so well I feel really relaxed when I play there. I really like the warm-ups at the club and especially the closing on the Waterfloor where I play at least 4-5 hrs and where the sunrise next to the water fits perfect to my music. That’s my niche in Berlin, there I feel comfortable with my music and the crowd’s feedback always proves me right.
Which labels do you find are consistently releasing quality music that you can confidently turn to and be secure in the knowledge that something will always find its way into your sets?
I am a big fan of Lee Burridge and All Day I Dream. From the very beginning I played almost every release. My good friends from Giegling are doing an amazing job and I really love the experimental melancholic stuff of theirs. Mule also release excellent ambient-orientated music which I play at the beginning of my warm-up sets. Of course I like Innervisions, but not everything. I really like the Africa and house influenced records.
Your music has featured prominently on liebe*detail. Have you ever considered starting your own label?
I always thought about it. When I finished ‘LA Strings’ years ago I always thought if I start a label this would be one of the first ones because this track reflects 100% my style. It’s housey, super driving, hypnotic but still musical. Plus it has strings, I love strings. But then I also wanted to do a new Watergate release, at the end I decided to just release it as an EP there.
Your sets are known for being intricate, dream-like journeys. How much work do you put into taking people with you through the maze of sounds and feelings, and how much of it is concerned with reading the crowd and working out where to go next?
For me it’s really important to ‘create a journey cause I find it very boring to play the same kind of style all throughout the set. I am not really into playing techno bangers, or if I do, then it will only be for a short amount of time. So mostly I start a little deeper to have headroom for later, because when you start banging from the beginning it will always go down later. I love to read the crowd, I think it’s one of the main jobs of a good DJ. Last week for example, at some point the lights in the club went down to almost zero and I couldn’t really see the crowd on the dance floor and I almost freaked out. After my set I left the booth and it was really crowded, so it was all good in the end.
My intention for the Christoph was to strip the original down to some of the sequences that I liked the most. When I like an element in a track I usually try to make the most out of it for the whole remix. I filtered the melody of the original to that hypnotic loop which I kept throughout the whole mix and made the baseline the dominant element of the track. The result was that hypnotic groove that makes the track work so well on the dance floor. Pretty simply but very effective, ;)
And your future plans. What can we look out for?
I am going to Asia and Australia for a month of touring and detoxing. After that I really have to get back into the studio and make more music with other people. I really enjoyed making ‘Hope’ (my contribution to the 15 years of Watergate compilation) with Ryan Davis because it was a good match. I took care of the beats and he more focused on the score of the track. Maybe one day I’ll look at starting my own night at Watergate where I can look at inviting my favourite artists to push that style of music more. Let’s see.
Thanks so much for your time, Matthias, and we wish you the best!