We have been relentless this week with all of these releases! From the Amp Live feature we kicked off the week with to the slew of premieres we are truly laying it on this week. To keep the trend rolling we thought what better day to drop the curtains on yet another special artist spotlight that comes to us in conjunction with a guttural remix of Truth‘s “Radiation”. Mat the Alien is tuning in from the road today so we’re more than happy he took the time out of his busy schedule to open up to us for a little while. Dive in and find out what that seasoned producer and turntablist has been up to and what got him started on this musical path from the beginning.
The Dankles: Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with us Mat, would you mind introducing yourself to those new listeners out there on the web?
Mat the Alien: Originally I’m from just outside Manchester, England but got into snowboarding in the mid 90’s and made the move to Whistler, British Colombia. My dad opened a record shop when I was 3 so I grew up around records, music, and concerts. I started out drumming, then when I was fourteen I stumbled upon DJ’s mixing electronic music. That was 1988 and it has just evolved for me from there.
Over time new styles of music have influenced me; I like to do DJ sets that are multi genre and have a contrast of sounds. I take people on a journey with me into sound. Right away I was drawn to the DJ’s scratching in the UK like XTC (Intallex) and pirate radio show tapes from DJ Hype….Shit am I rambling on a bit?
I’m always making lots of beats, remixes, and edits for my sets. Along with traveling around most weekends I get really into snowboarding and mountain biking in the summer months. Last year I started a record label Really Good Recordings, if your in Whistler I have a weekly bass night Really Good Tuesdays alongside The Librarian (Basscoast Festival founder). These Tuesday night shows have been going for 5 years, we have lots guests come in and its a fun crowd with kids from all over the world who are living in Whistler for the season.
TD: We just saw you play a little stint of shows out here in CO back in January; do you enjoy coming to play and hang out here in Colorado?
Mat: It’s always a really good time!! I’ve played the X Games, Boulder, Vail, and last summer Sonic Bloom for the first time which i really enjoyed. It was such a diverse festival and the crowds seemed really open minded. I had also been hearing a lot from people on my travels about Sub.Mission, Nicole, Cervantes, and Beta so I was really happy to finally check out those spots and meet all the people involved. I’ve known Ben Samples for a while too so I always run into him when I’m in town. That week was also the SIA tradeshow too so I got to see lots of friends from the snowboard industry who were in town for that and even squeezed in a day at Keystone with Shank Aaron!
TD: You have been a staple in the scene for over a decade now, what was it that first sparked your interest in music all those years ago?
Mat: Being a drummer, the band would stop and start, and people would clap in between. Then when I first went to an illegal warehouse party the DJs mixed from one track to the next seamlessly using mostly music I’d never heard before. I was hooked instantly. On top of that seeing a DJ manipulate and scratch a record to make bugged out sounds from a simple tone made me want to learn about all aspects surrounding the culture of DJing and the music involved.
TD: To this day you are still consistently churning out new material, how do you like to keep things fresh and current for yourself?
Mat: I’m a crate digger from the vinyl days and that hasn’t changed in the digital world. I’m always looking for new fresh sounds and over the years I have got to know lots of guys making sick music and they’re always sending me their new shit! I think now is an exciting time for music; there’s a lot of people thinking outside the box and making amazing beats that defy the rules of a certain genre. Of course people always like developing and pushing the genres they are in .
TD: Aside from playing all around the globe you have also had the chance to work alongside some very gifted artists, is there anyone that comes to mind right off the bat that you still would like to work with?
Mat: I’ve been trying lately to collaborate with more and more people to see where things go. The list would be endless really if I started to talk about possible people, I kind of just like when things line up and happen naturally. I have been talking to Reso, Liquid Stranger, G Jones, Stylust, and Knight Riderz about doing some stuff so all those would be a really good start.
TD: Today we are dropping the curtains on a brand new remix of yours. This comes in on a completely different note than the last track we premiered of yours ‘Alien Twerkshop’; do you continually like to change up the music you put out to the public?
Mat: Yeah after I do a beat at one tempo ‘ll usually just flip from 100 to 140 to 160 and just try new things. Im in the process of putting “Alien Twerkshop” on a 45 (7” record) with a Stylust edit mix on the B-Side. I’m also finishing up a compilation from the label with all Canadian producers along with an EP-LP type thing I’m working on.
TD: Since early in your career you have been notorious for bending genres and blending elements many other producers wouldn’t think of doing, do you think this is something that helps your sets stand out in a way?
Mat: Hopefully, I’ve seen genres be born and develop over time so id like to make my set kind of represent stuff that has influenced me over the years. Being versatile to me is fun so I can do all sorts of shows and adapt to certain vibes rather than just dropping the same set every time. Last month I did a tour across Canada with Monster Energy and Dj Pump, Dj Illo and Vinyl Ritchie that was all 7” records. I really enjoyed it because your more limited to what was pressed on the 45’s and get to show another side of DJing, they’re tricky to play at the club too. Nu Mark from J5 joined us on 4 of the shows and the finale was with him and Cut Chemist who are 2 of the most creative DJs I know.
TD: You’re one of few producers that still brings the vinyl element into your live sets, are you consistently switching between electronic controls and the turntables while you’re up there?
Mat: Serato, a Rane 62, and the old school sl1200 from Technics is what I use. Sometimes three turntables can be a pain on the big bass systems and in dusty forests but I love how it combines new and old technology. I can use cue points, loops, fx, but then also skratch the record and manipulate parts as well.
TD: Todays remix is for Truth whom hail from all the way down in New Zealand. Have you ever had the opportunity to take a trip down there to spin some tunes on their home turf before?
Mat: No I’ve wanted to though and heard the snowboarding’s really good there. Three places I have yet to travel is New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. Being in Whistler I’ve met tons of friends from those places. Truth came up to do my Tuesday night in Whistler a couple of times and I like what they have been doing for the Dubstep sound by really bringing the original vibes back to the crowds over here. They started coming over here at a time when a lot of people were ready to explore a bit more into the deeper side of the music. “Radiation” was one of my favorites from their LP so I tried not to mangle it too much, being such a fan of the original. I wanted to make a version that made it a bit more double time and added a few bass elements and pads etc.
TD: From the looks of it you have still be hitting the road pretty hard, where can people look to catch you in the next couple of months?
Mat: Tuesdays in whistler w the Librarian and Boss Galleon Ben. Then at the end of march I have a few dates in Montana, I’m also always hitting up the Canadian cities. Some fun Monster Energy events are coming up for snowboarding too (World Ski & Snowboard Festival- Whistler + Ruckus in the Rockies in Lake Louise) also a surf event in Tofino to top it off. This summer ill be back at Shambhala for the 13th year! I will also be back at Basscoast plus a bunch of other festivals which will be announced soon. There’s a full list of shows on my website.
TD: Before we know it summer will be upon us, are you getting in gear for a busy one this year?
Mat: Always keeping busy, but trying to make it fun at the same time and I do like sleeping a bit. Works well to line up gigs and festivals up where I can enjoy the places too and not do the rush in and out type of thing. I also have the family and a 3 1/2 year old boy Called ET! who keeps us busy.
TD: That’s about all we have for you today, are there any last words or shot out you’d like to slide in here before we sign out?
Thanks for the support you guys, my website is a good hub for anyone to check out my stuff and there’s links on there to all my other sites where you can grab mixes and tracks aplenty!