LessThan3: How and when did your adventure in drum & bass begin?
Matt: I started listening to drum & bass around the age of 15. I first discovered it through reading about reviews in dance music publications and buying tapes at my local record store. From there, I started DJing with my friends, and production followed about four years later.
LessThan3: Did you have previous musical training before you started with D&B?
Matt: Not really, I played a bit of guitar, bass, and drums, but none of them to a very high standard. I still do everything by ear and have zero music theory.
LessThan3: What was your original production setup?
Matt: When I first started out I was using a program called Acid, which was really good for chucking loops together, although very basic. I then moved to Reason before settling on Ableton–which is what I still use today.
LessThan3: Your brothers Nu:Tone and Other Echoes have also been in the game for a while–did all of you start getting into D&B around the same time?
Matt: Roughly the same time–I was the first to start listening to it, but I used to make tapes with all the new music I was hearing and send them to my brothers.
LessThan3: What was the Gresham household like 15 years ago? Did you guys all sit around the same computer sharing production techniques?
Matt: To an extent, but for the most part we all worked on our own setups and kind of taught ourselves through trial and error. We did share knowledge but I think a lot of our sound comes from just experimenting ourselves.
LessThan3: Brothers not excluded, who were some of your D&B heroes during your formative years and why?
I’m a big fan of all the obvious ones like Goldie
, Roni Size
and LTJ Bukem
. I just loved how all three of them had such unique styles–you could almost always tell one of their tracks or DJ sets apart from everything else that was going on at the time.
LessThan3: Were there any D&B parties that influenced you before your career began?
Matt: There were a load of nights that I went to when I was first getting into it. The one that stands out the most was Logical Progression,which was LTJ Bukem’s night; that was massively influential to me. Some of my favorite DJ mixes are from that era.
LessThan3: Was there any particular tune that inspired you to start producing and/or DJing?
Adam F’s Circles
and Moving Fusion’s Turbulence
were two that I loved just as I was starting to discover production. People like MJ Cole
were really inspiring me around this time too. I actually started off mostly writing two-step garage, but then moved over to drum & bass.
LessThan3: Since starting, you’ve produced quite a few anthems that have received massive DJ support including Spacejam, Fiberglass, and Together. Is there any single tune that you’re most proud of?
I’m still proud of Together
–I don’t think I’ll ever tire of that one. It just seems to convey what I love about drum & bass and it’s pretty mind-blowing to me that it still gets a reaction in a club. There are others that I’m more proud of like Slow Motion
and Summer Sun
, but they’re much less well known.
LessThan3: You’ve had releases across quite a few labels, including Dillinja’s Valve Recordings and DJ Marky’s Innerground imprint. However, the vast majority of your releases have been via Hospital. What has this label done for your career and what does it mean to be part of the Hospital family?
Matt: When I signed I was pretty much unknown, so I owe a huge amount to them. It’s great working with them and the other artists on the label; day to day it’s just really good fun to work alongside such talented and nice people.
LessThan3: Speaking of releases on Hospital, your new album Polyphony just dropped on July 30. How would you compare this album to one of our personal favorite LPs of yours, Reality Checkpoint? Have you received any feedback on the album from any notable DJs?
Matt: I had quite a few people message me and call me up to tell me how they like the new album, which has been really reassuring. It’s always really hard to step back from your own music, so compliments like that are always great to hear. Reality Checkpoint was quite an introspective album; I remember being quite determined at the time to not repeat Now More Than Ever, and similarly with this album I’ve been really determined not to repeat Fear Not. I like to jump around in terms of what I put out, whether that’s something very synth-led like 2999 or something more organic-sounding like the majority of the new album.
LessThan3: Polyphony features a handful of tracks with vocalists–how did you go about selecting the vocalists for the album?
Lifford was a no-brainer really, as I’d loved working with him on the Nu:Logic
project. Will Robert is a really good friend and he’s just really easy to write with in the studio. Aside from the way the vocalist actually sounds, the main thing is whether or not they are easy to vibe with. If you don’t feel like you’re on the same page, it often isn’t worth forcing the recording session in my experience.
LessThan3: The tune Homeward Bound is just south of 130 BPM, which may seem like a bit of a ‘relaxed’ tempo for D&B listeners. What was the motivation for producing this brilliant track, and will we see more departures from D&B from you in the future?
Matt: I wanted to make this album a really laid back listening experience, and that track was written towards the end of the album-writing period as something that would emphasize that vibe. I’d been listening to a lot of trappy tracks that had these haunting vocals on them and I’d been really inspired. I went in and wrote the main structure of it in about two hours and it came together really quickly. I’d like to think I’ll produce more music like that in the future, but it’s always hard to tell–I just make what I feel like making at the time.
LessThan3: You co-produced a track on the album with Nu:Tone and Dutch producer Maduk. How was the production workflow with a third person contributing considering you’ve produced quite a few tracks already with Nu:Tone as Nu:Logic?
Matt: We all got into the studio one day when Maduk was over in the UK. It was great having some extra input from him on that initial studio session, and I think it shows in the track. He then took the track back to Amsterdam before sending over the parts for me to finish.
LessThan3: Do you have a favorite track on the album?
Matt: I really like Transcending and Triangles at the moment, but I’m always changing my mind. If you ask me again in say a weeks time, I’m sure it’ll have changed.
LessThan3: Will you be touring to support the album or playing any forthcoming festivals?
There are a bunch of club shows coming up, most of which are in the UK and Europe for the time being. I’ve done the majority of my festival shows for this year already, but there a few left like Sun and Bass
, which I always look forward to.
LessThan3: Any DJ/producers you’re particularly keen on right now? Why?
Matt: I really rate what Ivy Lab are doing lately–they just have a diversity and class to what they do and it never sounds too forced either.
LessThan3: When you’re not listening to D&B, what do you usually listen to?
Lots of really under-produced acoustic music. I’m finding it’s the nicest stuff to play when my ears need a bit of a rest. Two artists I’m listening to loads lately are Daughter
and Thomas Oliver
. I have to give a shout to Jungle
too, whose debut album has just come out this week which I think is brilliant.
LessThan3: If there were LessThan3 minutes left in your very last DJ set ever, what tune would you end it with?
would probably be an appropriate one!