We are so happy to bring you the latest in our 'Behind The Beats' series - which this time focuses on the incredibly talented DJ MATT EFFECT.
The woof-tastic, tune-gasmic DJ has audiences across the globe in a spin! His influences are wide ranging and his appeal is as broad as his passion for good music. Guidetogay.com sat down with him to find out why he is on the A-list of promoters globally.
When did you start DJing - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I started DJing over 9 years ago and it was a favour for a friend, who was someone I would trade music and ideas with. His birthday was coming up and he asked me if I would play his party. I was so excited I said "yes" without hesitation. But then realised I had no idea how to DJ, so he taught me and just before his birthday, he got me a few gigs at a bar he worked at. My early influences would have to be artists like Bee Gees, Boney M, and a lot of other disco sounds, which is where my love for house stems from. For a passion, as a kid I remember I would play my mum's vinyl of Boney M's "Nightflight To Venus" and listen to that and "Rasputin" repeatedly on the HMV stereo we had.
What do you personally consider to be the defining moments in your artistic career?
Oh wow, that's a big one. I think there are too many to say one is the defining moment. But one that sticks out is recently I was playing dayclub. I look down for a moment, look back up and all I see is every face in that club, looking right at me with smiles on their faces, singing at the top of their voices. I'd say moments like that where you know you've captured the crowd and they respond is what I love and aim for each time I'm DJing.
What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?
Challenges would be ensuring you're getting people into the moment. I love DJing because you know you're there to entertain. I did a lot of drama studies and music as a kid, so you'd be taught to grab people's attention and hold them there. Sometimes it's a backing sound or you're filling a big club or party, but it's the same idea. Capture their attention and hold them.
With making your own music, it's a lot of trial and error and you can't know until you've put in the man hours, play it live, then know what works and what will lift it further. I find it all interesting and both have their place.
The process of building a set is unique to every DJ. How do you approach the task?
With an open mind, hahaha! You can plan and plan but then at the time, none of it may be right. Years ago I wrote down every track I wanted to play for that night (in no particular order), got to the booth before starting, crumbled up the paper, throw it over my shoulder and changed the whole set. It was the right way to go at the time. So these days I may plan a bit, but I don't like to plan one song after another, just to have a good time.
What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets?
There are songs that work as openers, closers, etc. But I never have a strict plan for every set. But sometimes there's that song you know needs to be played at a certain point to take you where you want everyone to go. I do love a journey, taking the crowd somewhere they can enjoy themselves. It's great to see people get that feeling.
Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?
The gig itself is what pushes me to play a certain way. I can have an idea of what I think would be appropriate, but you will never know until you can in the booth and start. Even my residencies can have a different feel each week pending the crowd. It's always good to see the response and read the crowd.
What has been the weirdest thing that has happened to you at a gig?
We sometimes get those people that ask "Do you have a charger?" or "Can I charge my phone in the booth?" I get people asking me "Can I buy you a drink?" Mostly if they hear a song they really like or tip me a few bucks, which is sweet of them. I don't get too many weird things happening which can be a blessing. However once I had someone tip me $50, which was rather large considering the entry to the club was like $15. But he asked if I had an artist he liked, I told him no but come back next week and I'll see what I can do. I went straight home and found some tracks and sure enough, the next week he was back and he was very happy.
Having played all over the world, what are the key differences in the gay scenes you have experienced?
I've found gay people can be more thankful for your efforts. Not to say straight people aren't appreciative, but most gay people have had to fight for their place in the world. I feel this attitude may change for the new generation of gay people, mostly because they are born into the age of internet / accessibility, acceptance and equality (which Australia is still working on). I do love getting a text, Facebook message or comment, and even I get Scruff messages from people saying thanks. I send those kinda messages to lots of DJs, producers or artists for their hard work and a great show. Thanks takes 2 seconds but gives people so much in return.
What are your current 5 favourite tracks?
Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MØ - Lean On (Edson Pride & Erick Fabbri Remix)
Calvin Harris & Disciples - How Deep Is Your Love (Leo Blanco Remix)
Leona Lewis - Thunder
Joe Gauthreaux feat. Inaya Day - You Are My Family
Robin S & DJ Escape - Shout It Out Loud (Stephan Grondin Remix)
As you can see, I have varied tastes in tracks but I love most styles of music. It's gotta connect to people, which I love about music.
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