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A Sit Down With DJ Matt Lange

13:44 Nov/01/2017

LA-based producer and DJ Matt Lange was inspired by the aggressive industrial programming of early Nine Inch Nails and Aphex Twin’s brutal contrast of ambient and jungle. Packed off to Boston’s Berklee College by his parents, Lange undertook a music-production course and began home recording on an old laptop. Introduced to BT by one of his college mentors, Lange worked as an engineer on the trance producer’s Grammy nominated album, These Hopeful Machines. He then began developing sample libraries before striking out on his own to create official remixes for The M Machine and Usher, while co-producing Glenn Morrisson’s platinum-selling progressive house album.

Like many artists, Matt always faces the struggle of being true to his artistic vision and making tracks that are more in line with what record labels want. Thankfully for us all, Matt has fully embraced an eff you mentality towards labels and he only seeks to make music that pleases him. Matt’s music is so authentic because there is not a commercial bone in his body, this allows him the freedom to create some of the most unique sounds around, this is fully evident on the Patchwork EP.


"My music is always very handmade, I do not ever use any outside material. Creating it all I have."

Can you explain the way that you produce a track. Do you start always from the start of it?

All of the above really. I find if I start with a groove, I’ll end up going in a more techno-ish direction, and if I start melodically, the opposite. Often I’ll start with sound design, because programming or manipulating records, and that could start the entire process as well. They all have their place, and not being locked into any one way of working is quite liberating.

What are your favorite pieces of studio hardware?

The newest toy is a little modular synth I've put together. It has a few modules from companies like Make Noise, Mutable Instruments, Pittsburgh Modular and others. I find it very inspirational to create all these unexpected happy accidents, as well as more traditional synthesizer type sounds which just sound better than most other synths. Not all sine waves were created equal. I'd be lying if I said my favorite piece of hardware isn't my Eventide DSP4000, however. That thing ends up on literally everything I do. It's my favorite reverb and fx processor ever. After that, my guitars and my Rhodes. It's so easy to get stuck in the box with all the plugins available now, but nothing inspires me the same way as physically touching strings or keys.

Tell us about your interest in electronic music…

I was introduced to Aphex Twin’s Richard D. James album in the late 90s. Around the same time, Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile came out and it really pushed me in the right direction. It combined orchestrated elements with cool electronic programming and songwriting. I pretty much grew up being a metalhead, so it was a combination of many different styles I loved. It really pushed me in terms of electronic music programming, production and the marriage of acoustic and synthetic material.

Which FXpansion products are you using and how are you using them?

I use Bloom and Etch the most. I like Bloom for creating interesting modulating delays that can really have a unique character. Etch is a great filter for sound design with all the different kinds of filter types, distortion, modulation destinations and modulators. Very powerful plugins.
Is it possible to list for us the Top 5 djs or EDM producers that have the major influence in your style of your productions?

I don’t listen to much “EDM” per se, so here’s a list of any genre

1) Telefon Tel Aviv - These guys changed the way I wrote music the first time I heard their first album, “Fahrenheit Fair Enough.” Still trying to catch up to them!
2) Richard Devine - The mad scientist of sound design. Every time I see Richard I walk away so totally inspired and ready to create new things (not to mention wanting to buy a ton of new gear...)
3) Tool - Literally every element of this band has influenced me in some way, be it Danny Carey’s drum pattern’s, to Adam Jones’ chord progressions, to Maynard’s melodies as well as style of lyricism.
4) Steve Reich - his piece “Music For 18 Musicians” captivated me when I was 16. All the motifs, isorhythms, phasing... It’s the perfect blend of inspiring me intellectually as well as emotionally.
5) Meshuggah - The kings of super groovy polyrhythms.

Where does the point of inspiration come in for a track?

Honestly, as cliche as it may sound, anywhere. It could be from any random sound, a walk in the hills, a song that strikes you in just the right way, personal experiences.

Are you active and passionate user of the internet and the social networks?

I try to be relatively active. I try to post at least one thing per day, and I enjoy starting discussions as well. It’s a nice way to stay in touch with fans on a more personal level, and at the same time it’s quite great from a marketing standpoint as I can quickly see what kind of stuff my followers are interested in, and what they’re more apathetic to.

Tell us about your debut Ephemera on Deadmau5’s mau5trap label?

I’d been releasing music with Above & Beyond on Anjunadeep for five years, and they’d put out a compilation album of various tracks of mine. Mau5trap’s A&R had heard a techno record I’d done and reached out to my management asking if I had any contracts. I had all these techno records just sitting on my hard drive and sent them six or seven files but didn’t hear anything for six or seven months. Then they hit me up on Twitter after hearing a track called Scorched Earth Policy and within two hours there was already a record contract. Essentially, it was for a single and an option for an EP, but I gave them an album instead, which allowed me to be more creative.

What’s the most insane thing you’ve done to create a unique sound?

To be honest I can’t really thing of anything off the top of my head that’s totally insane. I’ve definitely had some funny experiences, such as getting the cops called on me by scared parents because I was recording the sounds of their children in a public park with a shotgun mic - and without their permission of course. Ha! Typically I start my sound design process with recordings I make, and they could literally come from anything from field recordings to taking a screwdriver to an electric guitar, to taking a cello bow to various metals. I’m really attracted to organic, modulating sounds, so that’s why I pretty much always start there. After that it could be any litany of processes. I love granular and spectral based processing of course, but even simple stuff like straight pitch shifting , or using very short delays can be a ton of fun.

What’s been the biggest career moment you’ve had so far?

It’s hard to say. After a while, these events are just another thing that has happened. It’s nice when it does, certainly validating and can briefly make you feel pretty great, but none of it is particularly life changing. It’s your career, and if you stick with it for a while the credits tend to make a pretty nice list when you look at it objectively. My biggest career moment recently has been taking complete control over my career with no one left but a lawyer, and while that has brought forth a whole new set of challenges, I’m more excited and in general happy than I’ve been in a long time.


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