Mat Zo doesn’t do ordinary. This 22 year-old London, UK-based DJ/producer is paving the way for a legion of young EDM artists looking to subvert the limitations of genre classification and promote a general love of music. He has been heralded as the heir to Above & Beyond‘s Anjunabeats throne, listed in the top 100 DJ’s by DJ Mag, and hired by Tiësto himself for a remix but despite all the notoriety, he hasn’t let the spotlight get to him. He’s developed his own distinct approach to fame, touring, EDM and so far, it seems to be working quite well. He hasn’t lost an ounce of enthusiasm towards his music, which seems to be steadily getting better and better with each passing year. If 2012 hasn’t already been a big year for Mat, it’s about to get even bigger. Let’s just say his next project is…ambitious.
As we prepare for the Saturday Sessions: Halloween Special next weekend, check out this interview our of the headliners for the event Mat Zo did for Salacious Sound earlier in the year in the middle of his and Porter Robinson Language tour.
totem here, reporting on behalf of Salacioussound.com. I am standing here with musical prodigy and Anjunabeats recording artist Mat Zo.
totem: Mat, you just came off a killer set here at the London Music Hall.
So how does it compare playing tiny nightclubs and medium-sized halls as opposed to a huge party at say, the Ministry of Sound in London, England?
MZ: Ummm, there’s not that much difference. I mean the smaller parties you obviously have a bit more connection with the crowd but other than that, I really enjoy both
totem: You’ve also played many outdoor music festivals all over the world, Creamfields in England or Ultra Music Fest in Miami comes to mind. How do you prepare your set for a huge festival as opposed to a smaller venue? Is there anything you do differently?
MZ: I just keep in mind when I’m making my track-list what the crowd is gonna want. If I’m playing at a smaller place I’ll tend to keep it a bit more reserved and not bang it out too much. When I’m playing a festival, there’s kind of a license to punch people in the face repeatedly.
totem: Alright, shifting gears….what’s going through your mind when you drop something like “Mozart” or “It’s Yours” and the crowd just goes wild as it so happened tonight?
MZ: Well, I’m usually a bit drunk so not that much.
totem: (laughing) good answer. Right then, so you’ve been recording as Mat Zo now for almost six years now, correct?
MZ: yeah, about 5 or 6.
totem: Your tourmates Porter Robinson and The M Machine have only been around for about 2 to 3 years…does this make you feel like a veteran on the Language tour?
MZ: Not really, I mean, everyone in Europe started a little bit earlier than everyone in America so I just have the advantage of growing up in London rather than the U.S. That’s the only real thing but I’ve been pretty impressed with Porter‘s knowledge of dance music. It definitely rivals mine….The M Machine as well. So yeah, I feel like American DJ’s know what’s up.
totem: Anjunabeats is known to be a breeding ground for young, up-and-coming talents. What are the benefits of being around and working with like-minded artists such as Tyler Michaud or Arty?
MZ: Well, especially with Arty, there’s been a really good feedback process between me and him. I get inspired by his music and he gets inspired by my music. We work off each other but individually, we make stuff that’s so different yet it’s inspired by the same stuff.
totem: So you grew up in a city with a rich musical history, Cleveland right?
MZ: Well, kind of. It has a museum.
totem: Yes! The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You played in a rock band when you were younger, didn’t you?
MZ: Well I’ve played in two rock bands and a funk band. I played in quite a few bands when I was younger.
totem: How exactly did you make the transition from rock musician to electronic DJ & producer?
MZ: Well I think it all started from watching MTV when I was about eight years old. They had this special club and dance show on Fridays or Saturdays where they would play songs by Daft Punk or The Chemical Brothers. That was really where my interests began to veer away from grunge bands like Alice In Chains and more towards electronic music. But even when I played in bands I was always trying to incorporate elements of electronic music. We would use weird synth pedals and stuff like that. I guess I just decided at some point that I can make music by myself, I don’t need a band for this.
totem: You received a lot of attention after you won the Baroque Remix Competition for your remix of Lustral‘s “In My Life”. At that point, did you feel as if you had “made it” as a musician?
MZ: No…I’ve never really felt as if I’ve made it to be honest. I still feel like the underdog. But I guess the moment I broke into people’s consciousness was when I did that remix for Tiësto‘s “Driving to Heaven”. He actually approached me and that felt really good.
totem: Is he someone you aspire to be like in the future?
MZ: Kind of. I mean I think he’s a great DJ, he makes crowds go nuts and yeah, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now. But I don’t really aspire to be like anyone, I just try to make good music and see where it takes me.
Words from: http://salacioussound.com