There is nothing better than chatting to a DJ who is truly in love with their job, Matt Southam has been professionally DJing for over 13 years and has been at the forefront of filling dance floors of the best clubs and venues in the UK and internationally.
What you get from Matt when you chat with him is a real sense of the love and appreciation of the journey he creates for his clients, so its no surprise why Matt is gaining a big reputation for getting the wedding party started and why his DJ schedule is already neatly stacked for 2013.
We caught up with Matt to chat briefly about his music journey and what’s keeping the dance floors filled this season
How and when did you fall into becoming a DJ
When I was 13 the local youth club (which my Dad ran at that time) they had some decks. I really loved music, so before long I was DJ’ing the youth club discos! From there it developed to friends parties and eventually owning my own set up and getting regular bookings in clubs and bars.
You’re based on the South coast. Is there a noticeable difference between playing locally and in London?
Certainly with the younger crowds. London seems to be more ahead musically than the coast, so what is a big tune in London may not be on the coast for another month.
What’s the best place to find new music for you?
I get sent a fair amount of music plus keep an eye on a few blogs and music charts. I still occasionally miss stuff though, and pick up on songs via postings and links on twitter and Facebook.
What’s on your no playlist list
Anything too cheesy, particularly novelty songs with a dance routine!
You produce short music sets for street dancers, tell us a little about this?
Street and Cheer dance teams are very competitive so they always want to have the best music mixed. I put together short (under 2:30 mins) mixes which can feature up to 20 different songs so a rather large mash up but all are mixed with effects and breakdowns and end in a big explosion!
What was the first record you ever bought
I think it was Snap – Rhythm is a dancer.
Mp3s, CD or Vinyl and why?
My love is still vinyl. I don’t miss carrying it but I do miss trying to find those hidden gems in a shop and having a real hands-on experience. I was never that attached to CD so jumped quickly to serato and used control vinyl with mp3s on my laptop. These days I’m all mp3 with a controller but still purchase the odd bit of vinyl for nostalgia and have my technics 1200’s set up at home.
Can you blend any music genre? Is there anything you wouldn’t play?
I class myself as an “open format” DJ meaning I will play happily across genres and I tend to move fairly quickly between styles. With regards to what I won’t play it would have to be heavy or thrash metal. It’s not a genre I know enough about to play a good set.
One of dance music’s true innovators, John Digweed is from your home town of Hastings. Who and what were your DJ hero’s influence on you?
Musically I have been influenced by the huge rave scene that existed in Hastings during the 90’s. I was too young to go to many of the events but bought many of the tape packs! DJ wise it has been the late DJ AM who has played a big influence. He was not only a great turntablist but was also an open format DJ who could play everything from indie to house.
What DJ or DJs inspire you today
DJ A-Trak. Another amazing turntablist (he won the DMC in 1997 aged 15) who whatever genre he is playing he plays it like a hip hop DJ and still uses technics turntables in his sets rather than cdjs (although using a dvs like serato or traktor)
What’s your greatest dance track of all time?
Tough question, perhaps new order – blue Monday or Franki Knuckles – tears. If I was to go back to my garage days it would be MJ Cole, crazy love or as a floor filler Robin S, Show me Love. How many can I have? ha ha!
What is your number one party floor filler and what else would be on the playlist?
Depends on the crowd but would range from Robin S – show me love, Billie Jean, Beyonce – crazy in love or Whitney – dance with somebody.
How much creative input do you have in shaping a playlist for a private event?
I like to have some control over the order even if there is a long playlist. I am being booked for my experience, and know that some songs work better later in the evening than at the beginning. I let clients know that if I get a list of 5 songs I can think of 20 more that will work with those so I prefer a guide rather than a strict list.
How do you read the energy of a dance floor so you can keep it filled and the party rocking?
It’s all about taking the crowd on a journey. Give them time to grab a drink but keeping the floor busy with other people. At most private events you have a mixture of people so it’s important to try and keep everyone happy.
With private events I’m booked to entertain so that’s what I do, No one remembers if you have great musical knowledge they just want to dance and have an amazing time.
To educate or entertain with music?
I’m seeing more classic house and garage appearing on wedding playlists in the last year. Perhaps those getting married are at the age where their clubbing days were the late 90s early 2000.
Saint or sinner, DJs that MC over tracks?
Sinners, certainly in the private event industry. I have never liked it, If the song was meant to have a DJ shouting over it, it would have it.
What’s the best record ever made?
Michael Jackson, Off the wall.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
Play to the ladies, if the ladies are having a good time the guys won’t be going anywhere.
What can’t you live without?
Coffee, my headphones and my beautiful girlfriend who is ever supporting.
The dance floor is empty. What do you play to fill it?
Again this is all about reading your crowd but Michael Jackson, Billie Jean or a Rihanna number if they are younger, usually does it.
When flying abroad to DJ I always used to say at checkout I had spoken to “Rebecca” in customer services and she said I could have the extra baggage for my records. 70% of the time this used to work! There is always a Rebecca in customer services.
Last question – can you try and list me ten of your favourite albums?
In no particular order:
- Notorious BIG – Ready to die
- Michael Jackson – Off the wall
- Justin Timberlake – Justified
- The Streets – A Grand don’t come for free
- Oasis – What’s the story morning glory
- Steve Wonder -The Definitive Collection (its a compilation but still a great album)
- Daft Punk – Random Access Memory
- N.E.R.D – In Search of…
- Chic – C’est Chic
- Dr Dre – The Chronic
To book Matt for your wedding or event please contact Matt Maurice Event Music & Production
Words By: Matt Maurice from Matt Maurice Event Music & Production