A Sit Down With DJ Mattew Dekay
As a DJ, his appearances have quickly built up a loyal following wherever he goes. He developed his sound while playing extended sets at an early residency at esteemed Stalker club in his hometown of Haarlem, Holland. He has gone on to become not only a headline name in his native land with regular appearances for Dance Valley and Extrema, but now across Europe, developing his profile as one of the most in demand DJs on the circuit. As of recently, Matthew's appearances have been restricted exclusively to Europe.
Dekay's work is admired across the board. Through his epic DJ sets, Matthew has built up a truly global following, conquering territory after territory, airwave after airwave with demand for him on an upward gradient month after month.
"I seriously believe that we're moving into the next era, where you can offer people more than just selling the music".
So what did you grow up listening to?
I was obsessed with the band Level 42 for their funkiness, interesting chord structures and harmonies and their lead singer/ bass player Mark King was my idol growing up.
You were a producer first and then became a DJ, often the opposite to most, is that still how you see yourself?
For years I would have told you that I would consider myself a producer/composer first and secondly a DJ, but after playing internationally for over decade I have totally fallen in love with DJing and developed my skills of working the dancefloor. If someone were to force me to choose one I'd pick producing music before performing. Hopefully that doesnt happen as I really think they go hand in hand and feed off each other.
Having formed the "Matthew Dekay" band, have you found that you feel more comfortable working alone or do you enjoy working as a team?
It doesnt matter. I like to work with many different musicians cause its always feeds your creativity. And sometimes I just like to create my perfect world and I really enjoy being alone in the studio.
When did you discover electronic music and how did you decide to embark on this musical path?
I wasnt introduced to electronic music by radio or a club experience. Rather, my first contact was at music conventions held during the early 80s where they played that type of music to showcase the uses of the new instruments. My father was really obsessed with gear, keyboards in particular, and he took me to these international music conferences where all the big name manufacturers came to announce their new products. Around that time, there was also switch from analogue to digital synthesizers. These experiences blew my mind and I recall how I was carrying these product catalogues with me everywhere staring at them and somehow just inherited this passion for gears. Later, I abandoned the educational path in classical music as studying repertoire or wanting to become a piano virtuoso wasnt so appealing to me. In my opinion, music shouldnt have rules. Embarking on a musical path with electronics enabled me to break out from classical boundaries and improvise my own style.
Where has been your favourite place to perform during your career?
I love Hungary in Europe. For me its the best place on earth to perform. The reason is that the people are so open minded over there.
How have you changed as a musician in this time?
First of all I don't consider myself a musician. Yes I do play the piano but I rather categorize myself as a composer rather than a musician. As far as composing music I've done a full 360. I first started off with samplers, synthesizers and mixers with no use of a computer. Then I moved to a computer based studio and was one of the first to do full productions inside the computer. I remember there was not a lot of variety in choice of plugins etc. Today I've gone back to the hardware and have been collecting vintage synths, mixers and compressors etc. I think it's the only way to sound different today from the majority.
What are your intentions for the imprint, do you see it as a platform for pushing your own music, or other artists who you support?
I am trying to concentrate exclusively on a small group of musicians and really nurture their talent and creativity by providing a free and open community environment. I feel loyalty is paramount, meaning I dont want to end up with 50 artists on the label all with a single track signed. Its very important to me that this is a group project and everyone involved feels like they have total creative control to write and release music that they may not be able to do on other labels.
How did you perceive the transformation within the music industry over the last 20 years?
The industry has changed in a way that it has become very difficult just to make a living only out of music sales. The proportion of income generated by stage presence and performance increased significantly so producers had to enter the DJ world as the audiences demand for seeing the composer of a particular record playing it publicly increased. When I re-entered the electronic music scene around the early 00s after a short stint in cinematic music, I did not aim to be a DJ. I was actually a terrible DJ back then. I just wanted DJs to play my records.
You've been in Australia, how are you liking it?
I simply love it here. I always get such a great vibe here. The Australian attitude; always positive, happy and smiling is contagious. I cant help but be in a good mood here. The food options here also are so great.
Deep down did you have a goal that you wanted to achieve or did you just go with the flow and let fate pave the way?
MDK: I always knew what I wanted. Its kind of strange but I wasnt really interested in doing other things at a very young age. I just wanted to be better everyday in playing the piano and learn more about studios. I also wanted to be better every day in making arrangements and writing songs. It was and still is an addiction. So I think I started some engine or something and that brought me to the point I am today.
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