20 years of techno
Dance music is such a fickle industry that it is true to say that many so-called artists operating within this sphere are people who have created a record on a whim, and through a combination of luck and timing, experienced the typical ascent. A string of dj-gigs they are ill-prepared for, the overnight change into emporor's new whatever, the usual substance-abuse swiftly becoming a habit. Unfortunately it is these self-promoting types who tend to break through more often than not. All of this bullshit detracts from the artists that are sometimes right underneath our own noses. The artists that have far more respect, understanding and genuine love for their craft. Mat Playford is one such artist.
Mat's passion for music began at the tender age of 5 years old, where he took it upon himself to be the tape operator at his mother's aerobics classes. This was a huge signpost of what was to come, and accordingly, throughout his teenage years and to the present day, Mat has spent many hundreds of hours and their equivalent in pounds tracking down keyboards of all ilks and vintages. It's clear that Giorgio Moroder and Jean Michael Jarre count as his most prominent influences.
After building, creating (and curating, considering it's contents) a small studio in his mid-teens, Mat followed his inspiration and enrolled at Leeds College of Music for 5 years, opting to study Commercial Music Production & Management. By the 4th year he had been asked to lecture at the college.
Around this time Mat had taken a couple of driving jobs for a dj agency and it was through this outlet that he met two US house producers who would further shape his future. It was 1996 when Mat met Sandy Rivera & Angel Moraes, and it was also in this year that he went to stay in Brooklyn to hang out, soak up their advice & skills, and generally have his mind blown by what was now possible. Experiences like this breed life-changing moments, and these times fuelled Mat's mind and gave him the confidence and drive to keep pushing forward. A tour with Sandy Rivera came about, and further experience was gained, with overall the most important thing to Mat being the ability to see beyond his surroundings. Indeed in his hometown of St Albans he had spent time with many producers who were breaking through in the world of drum n' bass, 1996 was a pivotal year for this form of dance music, and the likes of Photek and Source Direct were local boys who had truely transcended their surroundings. From those moments onward there would be no mental barriers to overcome.
A deal with Arista came about, based around a collaboration with acid-house exponent Paul Woolford, and as a nice sideline Mat ended up scouting and signing a track by US house producer Matt DiMario (as M1 "Electronic Funk"), furthermore cementing his bonds with the world of A&R, and picking up yet more experience, this time with the mechanics of majors, as the original track by Mat & Paul sat languishing in "development-hell" to use a considerably more Hollywood expression; Arista signed it and sat on it. Around this time Mat was also ploughing a huge amount of energy into a record shop called Play Music in Leeds, and in it's first year this was nominated as Best Independent Record Store in the Musik Magazine awards. The sheer volume of experience Mat picked up along the way throughout all these moments and right up to the present day has ensured that he keeps his mind open to new trends and possiblities within the scene, rather than choosing one direction and staying within that.