Matt Maurice is something of a DJ legend, rivalling some of the greats. Despite this huge talent, Matt remains incredibly humble and a real pleasure to work with. Matt and I have worked together many times over the last few years and he’s never failed to bring a refreshing approach to the planning and production of each of my clients’ weddings.
If you haven’t yet heard of Matt, you’ll soon be very much acquainted with his amazing work, because he’s one of the Love Scarlett partners. After reading this interview make sure you go and take a listen to the man himself and the exclusive Love Scarlett Mix he lovingly put together for you all.
So I guess the first obvious question would be, “How did you become a DJ?” Just fell into it really. I can’t honestly remember never playing music on a deck. I played music to people from around aged 10 at a youth club and I had my first professional gig at the age of 14.
In the many years you’ve been doing this, how would you say the music scene has changed for DJ’s? The obvious one would be the massive diversification of music. When I started DJn I was mainly in to soul and funk. Then the Balearic and Acid House music scene in the 80’s opened a lot of people musically. It’s continued to splinter off into lots of little sub genres ever since to create a massive melting pot of styles.
How do you keep your music knowledge up to date? I get sent a huge amount of promo material from both the UK and US. However, with most of my DJ sets being within the Wedding and Events industry, it’s impossible to play music that’s unknown. If I did, I’d have empty dance floors. My 17 year old son Conor also tunes my into lots of new music I may have missed.
What’s on your NO playlist? Anything that has a dance routine attached to it.
What would you do if a couple submitted a playlist that was totally unsuitable for getting a wedding party started? I would advise them otherwise. This I’ve done in the past, although if they insist I’ll always follow their wishes. Clients book me for my experience, If they want to choose every song and when to play it, they may as well plug in an iPod.
Can you blend any music genre? This is what I do best. To me, looking at a playlist is like reading a map. I instantly see the best route to take. The skill is in mixing the different genres together and this really does come from years of experience.
Okay, Okay. You’ve DJed all over the world – Italy with Duffy singing in 2010 – with this in mind, what is your favourite venue? And place you’ve DJed? Italy with Duffy! A set in between two bands complimented by three days in a lovely hotel on the side of a mountain overlooking the Almalfi Coast. DJ heaven.
What are your music predictions? Same sounds just a different label.
Who were some of your influences when you started DJing? A now not so well known DJ called Tony Wilson (not the one from Manchester). He used to be the resident DJ along with Paul Oakenfold at Future on a Thursday night all the way back in 87 / 88. The music they both spun opened me up musically.
You’ve always been very eclectic in your musical tastes… What was your music education? Playing a diverse selection of venues, clubs, warehouse raves, pubs, 5* luxury hotels, swanky bars and house parties. This teaches you how to read the crowd. Then to producing music, this teaches you the structures of tracks and helps you appreciate the complexity of all music. This is why we like to take on DJs that have been around the block a little and are not just wedding DJs. They need to have a little bit of history in other forms of playing out.
What’s your greatest dance track of all time? There are so many. From a party perspective, let us go with Ten City’s “That’s The Way Love Is”.
First dance choices get a bad rap, what alternative first dance tracks do you like? I keep and publish a list of all the more original choices. Anything that’s relevant lyrically. Up-tempo choices work well. Too slow can sometimes look a bit awkward.
So are you ever not in the mood to play cheese at a wedding ? We love a bit of cheese, it’s what weddings are made for. If there is such a thing, it has to be cool cheese!
How much creative input do you have in shaping a couples play list to deliver the best set? I’d say on average about 50%. When I see the musical map of requests my knowledge shines, with my input linking everything together with the best possible route.
What tracks clear a dance floor? Slow songs and anything too obscure.
Which up-and-coming producers/DJs should people be paying close attention to? Conor Maurice. My son and right hand man.
How do you read the energy of a dance floor so you can keep it filled and the party rocking? I look at the faces and read the crowd. If something isn’t working, off it goes!
How do you go about trying to stretch the audience and their tastes at a wedding as your trying to meet the needs of such a wide audience ?electro and indie-disco If the guests are up for it and into a particular genre, I’ll delve deeper until I feel they’ve had enough. A diverse selection works best.
You’ve been a major player in the DJ wedding scene for many years. How have you managed to stay current throughout the ever-changing music and needs of couples ? I get inspiration and ideas from the couples themselves. From the request lists they submit to me, from these I’m forever discovering new and old tracks I missed.
Vintage and indie rock has become a major player within the mainstream world in recent years, Why do you think this is? Indie and rock have always been big for me and I think we all like a break from the 4 to the floor of dance music.
What tracks are you obsessing with right now? Personally, I love my deep house music. However, if I played this at the events I’m booked at, no one would hire me.
Saint or sinner djs MC over tracks? What’s your view? Sinners. For weddings, I’ll introduce the first dance if required, then say goodnight at the end. I always highlight this fact when my clients book and that’s why they do. Music speaks for us.
What’s the best record ever made? So many to choose from but let’s say, Chic “Le Freak”.
Who’s your all-time DJ hero and why? Tony Wilson. He totally changed my idea of what can move a dance floor. He’d play Detroit techno next to The Clash, The Cult and the like. Also, the late DJ Larry Levan’s old mixes from the Paradise Garage in New York.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had? Nothing lasts forever…
What can’t you live without? My family, my music then my Weetabix.
How can couples make Matt Maurice smile? By saying thank you, that was amazing!
What’s next for MMEM? More good DJs joining our books complimented by the growing sound and lighting production side of the business.
Last question, can you try and list me ten of your all-time favourite albums?
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
Leftfield – Leftism
The Streets – Original Pirate Material
Bob Marley – Legend
Beatles – Love
Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
The Libertines – Up The Bracket
Johnny Cash – Man Comes To Town
Amy Winehouse – Back To Black
Words By Penelope Cullen