Talking EDM and India with Matt Minimal and DJ Lion, headliners at Go: Madras 2019
French techno DJ Matt Minimal started producing music for parties at the age of 14, and since the age of 16, has been signed up under labels like 1605 Music Therapy, Respekt, Sabotage, Neurotraxx, Perfekt Groove , Binary404 and many others. Talking about his approach to his music, Matt says, “I compose music with my heart and soul, and also try to do what I really like to do and not what others do. It’s really hard but I try to keep focus on me, and not on the other productions.” Ahead of his performance at Go: Madras, we caught up with the musician, when he shared his thoughts on performing in India and also about his upcoming projects.
Is this the first time that you are performing in India? How excited are you to play at Go: Madras?
It’s my first time in India and I’m really looking forward to play at Go: Madras, where I think the crowd energy will be perfect.
Tell us about the music you have produced so far and how different each of your albums are from each other?
I have released around three albums so far, namely The Espion, Child (2016) and Gateway (2017). Most of the time I produce tracks around 126 BPM, other times, I make something faster — it depends on the day and the ideas I get then. For example, while the Child album was more melodic and had melancholic vibes, Espion is more straight techno.
Can you tell us how you make a new track? What kind of console do you use?
I start to play on the keyboard and my drum machines in order to get ideas, then I start to make the structure of the track and the atmosphere. Then, little by little, I try new elements and see if its sound fits with the rest of the track. I’m using Ableton with hardware like Moog Sub37 and Elektron Analog Four.
Which are your favourite compositions? Who do you consider as an inspiration in the circuit?
I really like the track Luka Leon, which is one of my favourite techno minimal songs since the beginning. Among inspirations, it has been German DJ Stephan Bodzin since the beginning.
What do you when not composing music?
I love coding web applications!
Zhivorad Milich, who goes by the stage name DJ Lion, hails from Serbia and Bulgaria, and is one of the region’s most popular artistes in the underground music scene. He is also the owner and co-founder of Patent Skillz Records from Bulgaria and is now based in Berlin. Ahead of his performance at Go: Madras, Zhivorad tells us about his journey as an EDM artiste and his previous journeys to India.
How do you look back on your journey over the years? What are the big lessons you learned along the way?
My journey started at the age of 18, when I moved on to bigger towns and cities, wherever my personal and professional commitments took me. Each place was a learning experience — this diversity of environments made me flexible and open-minded in life. I must be honest that the journey was tough, but challenging at the same time. My first performance was during my schoool life, when I was collecting cassettes and recording songs based on my music intuition. Then I got excited to take them to my friends’ parties and celebrations, where I would play my music. But my real first gig was in the best club in my hometown, where I was recommended at the age of 16.
How would you describe your musical style? How much has it evolved over the years?
I think that my music style has evolved in accordance with the time we live in. Music has always reflected the people’s mood and emotions. My music style reflects the dynamic groove and the burning spirit of today’s youth, who are looking for opportunities to let their extra energy and futuristic aspirations out of their bodies, while living under the pressure of ordinary life. This music style recharges and brings them back to life. In other words, each new track has its special story.
You have come to India many times before. What convinces you to come here time and again and perform?
What brings me back here is the spirit of this country, which is so unique and close to nature. Here I have a feeling which I miss at many other places, a feeling of something natural and spontaneous — as if I am back to something I have been missing for years. India is a recharge arena for my soul, and the audience here is the mirror of all the values of this country.
Take us through how you prepare for your live performances.
I visualise each live performance in advance and watch it in my mind as a movie, where I look at a few points that are very important — like location, audience and my set, in accordance with all that — including introduction, main part and the final touch. Each detail has its importance and all details have to be put in harmony. It is important to feel it before the gig, to make a picture that you love and if you love that picture the audience will love it too, because these couple of hours and the atmosphere during the period is in your hands and mind.
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