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It has been a pleasure to watch the rise of MATT WALSH from a close distance. He has recently produced a string of great remixes for some big names with Alex Jones and, alongside Steve Cook, has built up quite an underground following as Clouded Vision. This month sees the release of his debut solo release ‘Honey Comb EP’ (listen on the right) on Wax:On’s label as well as the launch of his very own imprint under the Clouded Vision banner. I met up for a lunchtime drink with TIga’s favourite new DJ and Bugged Out resident in a blissfully quiet East London pub to talk about going it on his own, signing artists and to compare notes on certain production techniques.
Dan: What you drinking?
Matt: Is it too early to booze it?… Pint please.
Did you always want to make music under your own name?
Yeah eventually. I think I just didn’t want to pretend that I could do it straight away. I didn’t want to take all the credit for something I knew I couldn’t do.
Well there are some big name hitters right now who make no secret that they work with others on productions. Brodinski with Yuksek or Tiga with the Dahlbacks, for example. It has become acceptable, it would seem. How do you go about making tracks? Do you start with a demo at home?
Oh yeah. The stuff that comes under my name is me now. I think putting your own name to something – it’s really got to be something that sounds like you. It’s got to sound like something you’d play in your sets. My Clouded Vision stuff was never really peak time stuff so I’ve had to separate that now – it’s more like a hobby.
DJs spend so much time in clubs, listening to things on big soundsystems, seeing how crowds react. Whenever I go into a studio with anyone I’m always immediately humbled by how great they can make a record sound but it’s only recently I’ve realised I do know how records should work in a club.
A lot of people use engineers but engineers aren’t usually the type of people who go to clubs. I’d say that 90% of the things people have suggested to me – I’ve said no. Obviously it has changed from when I first started doing it and I was probably agreeing more. But I know this is what I want and “this is how we’re doing it.”
There are a lot of eyes on you right now – people are expecting you to make some big records. Do you feel any pressure?
I think everybody’s under pressure. When I first started getting gigs in London, it wasn’t really heard of that you had to have records out. The people that I followed weren’t producers – never. That idea didn’t exist. The big DJs that I went up to see every weekend, it never crossed my mind that they had to make music. They were just people who knew other people’s music and played it really well. I was quite lucky to jump in at the time to be booked just for being a DJ, like you have. If anything, you’re probably one of the last ones who is getting booked because people know you play good stuff. Now there is such pressure on us to have this ‘sound’ whereas producers are getting booked after making one track and they haven’t got a clue what to do with a pair of record decks.
So you’ve spoken about your love for Bugged Out for many years. I lost it the first time they asked me to play…
Yeah obviously it was one of the club nights I used to go to relentlessly when it was at fabric and I’d always make the effort to travel up. Because I lived out on London and got the first train home I always had to stay till the end and that was where I fell in love with late night music. Some of my mates would go and sit at the train station and I would say no, I want to listen to Damien Lazarus.
It’s cool how a lot of people are booking you to play that last slot in a night.
I think that’s because not a lot of people want to do it. There’s so many guys out there who are making massive records and playing peak time and are very good at it. I don’t think that’s necessarily where I want to be. If I can be known as the guy who plays after them that’s great. I’d rather do that then try and compete with the biggest guys in the business. I love the darker stuff – it stems back from the long nights at fabric. I think the music I am making fits that slot well and I always like the challenge of keeping people on the floor.
I think absolutely everyone I really admire represents more than one sound. It’s vital and is something you do well.
If you think of any of the older guys, they’ve all done more than one thing. Not just a mix CD of 130BPM bangers.
What have you got planned for the Clouded Vision label?
I’ve got two more releases under the CV name plus some remixes and then we’re going to have a go at releasing some other records. One from Photonz and one from Mugwump – both of which did some really good stuff last year. I want to try and do vinyl but it’s a bit of a sad time…
It is, yeah. The last couple of years have seemed kind of bleak for labels so it’s encouraging now to see a few people starting to take a punt again with vinyl releases, even if it’s just a couple of hundred copies.
Yeah, it’s almost like the electroclash bootleg scene all over again but with a slower disco beat.
How did Honey Comb come about?
It’s taken from a Nitzer Ebb record which randomly came on my iTunes one day. I really liked the bassline and was messing around on a synth in the studio and found the same noise so just used it. It’s coming out on Wax:On’s label, two tracks and three remixes all of which fit the younger, under-25s kind of sound which I find myself in a lot. But I’m also releasing another EP with the same name but different remixes on Sei A’s label which fits the over-25s, late night thing.
Here’s a question which I nearly deleted…
Is it about my hair?
It’s not about the hair, as such…
There isn’t a Matt Walsh clothing line yet.
Ha! Not in the works? T-shirt?
Not even a t-shirt. I’ve been doing some work for Nike actually, they’ve asked me to design some stuff so maybe, yeah [laughs]. Maybe a nice barber jacket or the first Nike Brogues.
Dan chatted to Rory Phillips last month. Read it here.