Matoma is a producer and DJ from Norway. Active professionally since 2014, he’s built a strong following across the globe on the back of his eclectic sound. Music in Minnesota’s Aaron Williams caught up with him after his show at the Loft in downtown Minneapolis in the wee hours of the morning on Friday January 26 to talk about his set, tastes, and global impact.
MIM: Were there any particular high points of your set tonight?
M: Oh of course, theres always high points. I think that the dynamic of playing so much diverse music makes for so many moments in the set. Of course when I play my old new remixes, and today I actually played eight new songs from the album coming out in march. This is why I wanted to do a tour right before the album, To try out the music to see how the crowd reacts, and so far it’s been like, we played in denver last week, vancouver, and calgary, and its been amazing.
MIM: One thing you do really well is blend a variety of style. There’s hip hop, every which subgenre of electronic music, you’re all over the map,and one thing that’s really cool is that the crowds are receptive to all of all of them.
M: I think there are so many djs today that play one type of music, and they think they can play that for one, and a half hours without getting people bored, but if you play the same tempo for one and a half hours, you’ll lose a few people, and that’s why i love for example, trap music, I love hip hop, house, deep house, electro, I love tropical, I love new disco. That why In my sets i always try to blend that music i’m currently listening to and creating, and making a vibe out of it.
MIM: Another thing I want to ask you about is your love of hip hop. I think one other thing you do well is sample, you have a taste and a nose for that. I’m wondering specifically about biggie smalls. You’ve sampled him a few times on some big hits. What about him do you think is so sampleable?
M: First of all his way of spitting lyrics and flows, he was a magician with words. Also his voice is very radio friendly. He sings in a pitch that makes it easy to play melodies on. Some hip hop artists sing very flat. Because he made records that were based on funk and soul music, for example, juicy is a sampled soul record from the 70’s that they put a hip hop beat on. I think that’s one of the reasons my melodies work so well on his voice. When he raps, he actually has a chord structure in his songs.
MIM: On another note, You’ve made your tours “Climate postive.” Can you explain what that means and what strides you’re trying to make?
M: I’ve been doing this for three or four years now, and I have always loved nature. I come from a small town with 1000 people who live on the countryside. Its alumber town. It got me thinking, the last few years we’ve noticed drastic changes in the weather, as well as what’s happening on the both poles, and with the polar bears having no place to go. And then you have all this political bullshit going on where they say “it’s not real, its not happening,” Just look at the glaciers. They’ve gone from a place where they were 10 times bigger and they are now, and they wont’ come back, because its just the way of nature. I discussed with my girlfriend what I could do to improve. I have a bad concience for flying so much, Its a part of my job, but it’s something I’m not proud of. I spoke with my management about ways we could donate money or something to offset flying so much. We went to a company that sets up a plan. They calculate how much CO2 per person well put on per person, and then we donate the amount plus 15% over so that were positive to different types of charity. We also teamed up with United Nations on this one, because they also fight for climate positive work.
MIM: Have you talked to others who are gonna follow in your footsteps? Do you see yourself at the forefront of that?
M: No, I don’t think about that actually. There are so many people who do that type of stuff for promotion, it’s not like that. I’m doing this because I feel it’s necessary. And also maybe I talk about it if I meet other artists, I’ll encourage them to do the same, but I’ll never push on them. I’ll never try to advertise it, because it’s something that comes naturally to me.
MIM: Well that’s good, you’re the real deal. I think we need more people like that, taking steps, looking at their current situation, and finding out what’s in their control to make a positive impact, and it’s refreshing to see people doing that in an industry where you’re so visible.
M: I do that all the time, with other types of charity, for cancer Ive done a few events in Canada and the states, I’m doing stuff in Norway, I’ve worked with the Red Cross. It’s something that I feel comes naturally for me as a person, I’m all about that. Some are all about fame and glory and making money, and that’s not what I’m about.
MIM: One last question, your on this big world tour you’ve been around the world, is there one place you’re going on one place you haven’t been that you’re looking forward to?
M: Of course I love playing in the states, but there’s one place in ending my world tour with and its actually the place I’m living in Norway, two sold out shows.
MIM: Do they love you back home?
M: They do, they’ve supported me for many years, and I hope they continue to. But all over the world I’ve had support. But that’s the show I’m super pumped for.