Matt Hardinge is an merging DJ/producer whose name we just copped recently thanks to his work at Inside Out where he lined up alongside label head, Stevie R. Theirs is a collaboration that’s really impressed us, as their track, Measuring the Universe, has proved a real winner on the office stereo. With all this in mind we decided to throw a few choice question in the direction of the man himself…
– Tell us about the beginning of your career, what were the sounds/parties that got you started?
I learnt to DJ while at University so my early gigs were student nights and house parties. I took a little break after Uni to join the rat race at a 9-5 with a football club in London. After deciding to get back into DJing I played a few small events around London before becoming a regular at Ministry of Sound and then moving onto the more underground events.
– Am I correct in thinking you went to the Limelight in NYC? How was that experience?
My early days of club life were indeed in NYC and although limelight was my first taste of action no other club has inspired me as much as Arc (aka Vinyl) which was also in NYC. Seeing as though I wasn’t 21 yet, Arc was my go to as it was 18+. The thing that made Arc special is that it didn’t have a liquor license and therefore everyone had the club was there solely for the music, the vibes were incredible! Danny Tenaglia played every Friday and Saturdays were guests such as Lee Burridge, Danny Howells, Sander Kleinenberg any many more.
– What were you into before house? Anything amusing from your youth you’d like to disclose?
My music taste was very varied before diving head first into dance music. I listened to a lot of 90’s hip hop with Nas being a firm favourite. I also liked bands such as Rage Against The Machine, Beastie Boys and Sublime. Sometimes when I need to refresh the ears a little I will put on some of these old albums to take a little break from the 4/4 beats I am always listening to.
– Do you think your sound has changed since the beginning? How has it evolved?
My sound has certainly changed since the beginning. When I first got into dance music I was listening to progressive house, tribal house and a bit of trance, I also had an unfortunate brush with hard house as well. Now things have slowed down, gone a bit deeper while still maintaining the grooves and energy found in the music I first started listening to.
– How did you get started with making tunes?
My first DAW was Reason. I played around with it back in 2001/2002 and it never really took off. I ended up taking a break from production until 2011 when I purchased Ableton and things started to come together. Now I work solely on Ableton and find the workflow much better than other DAWs.
– What would you say is your greatest achievement from a musical perspective?
It’s hard to say really, I’ve played some amazing gigs all over the world and made some tracks that I am really proud of. I suppose my greatest achievement is the work in progress with my label Motek. It’s been a long and challenging road to get things to where they are today and I am extremely happy with the progress so far.
– You have a release due out on Inside Out Records soon. How did that come about? And what’s it like to work with Stevie in the studio?
Stevie and I met last year and we saw eye to eye on many different aspects of the scene and thus became good friends very quickly. At the time I was using my own studio in the mornings to do my solo stuff and would meet Stevie at his studio in the afternoons to explore some collaborations. I use Ableton and Stevie uses Logic so when I went to his studio I would let him sit in the drivers seat. We both have similar ideas when it comes to making music so the chemistry worked out very nicely.
– Was this the first time you used a vocalist? How would you rate the experience?
You will soon see this isn’t the only vocalist that Stevie and I have worked with together. There’s a few more gems in the pipeline which is very exciting. Shawni is a relatively new name on the scene but someone that is making moves very quickly. Her voice is obviously amazing as you can hear but working with her was a dream, she’s not only a lovely person but extremely professional as well!
– Could you describe the EP to us? What can people expect from it?
The whole idea of this EP was to have something completely different to the ‘cookie cutter’ house music everyone is hearing these days. The original isn’t really something that’s going to be picked up by DJs but hopefully something that will reach a slightly different listener. This was never meant to be a dance track but more of an emotional piece of music with a different meaning.
– And what about the remixes – do you have a favourite one?
There’s no possible way to pick a favourite remix on this package, I love them all! They are all completely unique and will each serve different situations perfectly… I’ve already played a few of the remixes at my recent gigs and the reaction has been great so far.
– If your house was burning down and you could only save one thing what would it be?
I’d run to the fridge and grab my bacon.
– Finally, what have you got coming up? Anything else exciting we should know about?
Remixes, remixes, remixes. Lots of them!
Interview by Ian Fleming
Stevie R & Matt Hardinge’s Measuring the Universe is out soon on Inside Out