TIP026 Matt Black

Matt Black has been DJing and making music for around 15 years. His original love was hard core and drum and bass but it was upon hearing a John Digweed mix tape back in 1994 that he realised his calling in life He began by playing in pubs and bars around South London before getting his first club gig in 1995. Since then he has played for a number of London’s biggest underground promoters, including Absolution, Feersum, Neighbourhood Dilemma, Sunflowers, Savage and more. He has also played at Audio Deluxe in London, Empathy in Bristol and Riff raff in Middlesbrough as well as The Gallery in London where he warmed up for none other than Dave Seaman Matt is also gaining an international reputation; he has played a 3 date mini tour in Poland and headlined the Afterhours cafeteria in Mexico. Matt is not only a DJ, but also produces tracks. He has had releases and remixes signed to labels such as Tactal Hots Music, 99percentrecordings, Polytechnic, Jeepers and also Segment records, the label that he owns. With various releases and remixes in the pipeline you can be sure that Matt will definitely be one to watch in the future.

What was your first ever record?
First ever record I bought myself was Madonna – Into the Groove, though my parents bought me lots of records when I was young and I had one of those Fisher price record players so I showed an aptitude to DJing from a very young age!

Who were your Heroes and Influences growing up?
I had many musical fazes when I was young, in my mid-teens I was into punk metal and hard core then i got into Hip hop and early house and then drum and bass in the early 90’s before rediscovering house music in the mid 90’s, I suppose the biggest influence on me musically then was John Digweed as it was one of his mix tapes which helped me to discover the music i love now though i have also been influenced as a producer by people like Quivver, Redanka and Nick Hook. Nick taught me a lot as a producer and helped me learn about studio craft through working with him on my own tracks and a couple we did together, although in the early days he did most of the work while I made the tea.

Which came first DJing or Producing?
DJing definitely, I started going to the Camden palace in the early 90’s, and started buying rave tunes from a record shop in Orpington before moving to London, and discovering record shops like Music Power in Haringey and Black Market Records in Soho.
I got into production through a friend of mine whose brother had his own studio in his house and i would go round there and hang out with him all the time and he let me make tunes as well, it was quite a basic set up though, the old Akai sampler only had about 1 minute of sample time on it and we had to use loads of old floppy discs to load the samples which took about half the day on its own!

What’s the story behind this mix?
I know it’s a cliché to say, it’s supposed to be a journey, but that’s how I like my DJing to be, to start at a certain point and finish at another one but it’s the adventure in between that makes it interesting.

What’s the home studio set up like?
Pretty basic at the moment. I don’t have a studio as such, so it’s a laptop, some monitors and loads of soft synths and plugins. I’d love to have a dedicated studio space but we don’t have the room available at the moment so I just work where I can, I’m hoping this will change soon though.

Any future plans you would like to share?
My new single Lightcycle which I produced alongside Kieran J is out now on 99 Percent Recordings and is doing quite well which I’m pleased about. I’m also currently working on a couple of remixes which should be done and out in the near future hopefully. I would also like to finish more original material but that’s kind of the bane of my life right now!

What’s your take on the Analogue vs. Digital debate?
As I have worked with both I would have to say analogue is always going to sound warmer, but digital is really catching up now and there are so many plugins which you can use to give your productions more warmth, but to me it will never sound the same as an old piece of black vinyl on a 1210.

Are there any producers/labels you always go to for new material?
There are one or two names that I always look out for but it changes from time to time, but names doing it for me right now are
Guy Mantzur and Khen
Steve McGrath
There are a few others but those are probably the main ones right now.

What makes them special to you?
They just have a sound I really like and their productions always sound spot on.

What’s your dream DJ gig?
Oh that’s a tough one and it changes all the time. I suppose I would still like to play somewhere like Space in Ibiza, there’s always been something special about that place and it’s not too far away to fly which is a bonus.