It’s hard to deny that Australia is one of the most exciting hotbeds of uniquely exciting talent right now. Returning to production duties for the 4th release on their evolving Meanwhile imprint, GMJ & Matter have just released ‘Eldarin’. Having already enjoyed the success of their ‘Lost on Origin’ (MW001) and ‘Gauntlet’ (MW002) EPs, they have now come together in the studio for a third time for their new label venture. This immensely talented duo is continuing to make waves from Port Phillip Bay, Australia, with their distinctive and renowned musical style. Having already joined their creative minds on over 50 production credits for the likes of Anjunadeep, Balance Music and Proton Music, GMJ & Matter’s combined talent is a formidable force and they are justifiably revered names in the underground dance scene. So we thought it high time DMC sat down for an in-depth chat with these guys to find out what’s going on…
Gavin and Matt, a big welcome to DMCWORLD and congratulations on the release of ‘Eldarin’ on your exciting new Meanwhile label. The first thing we want to know is what’s the history of your studio partnership?
Gavin: Big thanks for having us! Exciting times for sure! Matty & I met late in 2015 when I initially I sent him a message online saying I really liked his music, and he had also done an interview for PHW that really resonated with me. So, both being from Melbourne, it was the right time to connect. Funny thing was that he was about to reach out to me, so it was meant to be! Soon after, I was at his place working on our first EP ‘Superposition’ which ended up on Proton Music.
Matt: We’ve both always been drawn to the same type of deep and hypnotic progressive music that takes you to another planet. Initially, we had one goal in mind, and that was to write our first collaboration to play at Rainbow Serpent festival the following year. Two tracks came out of that experience, which formed that first Proton Music release. Fast forward to today, and we’ve at least 20+ credits to our name!
Talk us through the making of ‘Eldarin’? How does the creative process work when you’re making music together?
Matt: ‘Eldarin’ was one of those tunes that came out of nowhere. We laid the foundations of the track in my studio over a few beers, while messing around after finishing a mixdown session for another release. The project went somewhat stale for a while (we totally forgot about it!) and we were stoked to find that it had some potential when we pulled it up 6 months later. A few more beers later and after sending the project back and forth a few more times and ‘Eldarin’ really started to take shape.
Gavin: Yes, ‘Eldarin’ was an interesting one! In general we usually start a track at either of our places, then pass it back & forth online as we both work on it, then come together to do the final mixdown. But for this one, I was back at Matty’s place doing another mixdown and we pulled it up and thought wow, this actually has a lot of potential! It’s amazing what you can hear differently on different days or when in different states! The creative process between us overall is very natural and most of the time we feel exactly the same things about a track, but we are not afraid to call out things either. Constructive feedback is a big part of us continuing to push ourselves to improve and get better.
This release also features two remixes courtesy of Sri Lankan DJ/Producer Subandrio and Columbian duo Kamilo Sanclemente & Dabeat. What do you think of their interpretation of your work?
Gavin: Both remixes are absolutely fantastic! I think the beauty of the release is that each version really stands alone in terms of the type of sound & individual signature.
Subandrio, Kamilo and Dabeat are all amazing producers and I feel they really brought something special to this EP! We connected with them personally at ADE at 2019 after chatting online over the years, which makes the EP more special.
We’re going through a tough time in 2020 in the music industry – and yet you’ve managed to launch your Meanwhile label – how are things going on that front?
Matt: We were both saying just today that, contrary to popular sentiment, 2020 has been a great year for us! What better time to sink all of our energy and focus into growing and nurturing our fresh new label. It’s been such a great project to work on and I’m stoked to be able to do it with my mate too!
Gavin: I guess in a way there may never be a better time to start something in an online space, as the majority of musical activity has been there this year. All the amazing streams that have come from the situation the world finds itself in have been a beautiful thing and also a forum for new music to still touch people. Artists have potentially had more time in the studio to create more new music.
Overall, of course, it is a terribly difficult time for the industry in many ways with no gigs or touring and people’s livelihoods threatened, which is incredibly sad. But for us, we were very ready to launch, and my “day job” has been virtually non-existent since March, so I have had more time to focus on the label. We have the intention to really give the label our all, releasing high quality stuff and building an authentic strong brand, so despite the year being a hugely challenging one in many ways, the label has been inspiring and the response really encouraging.
How’s the music scene holding up in Australia? Is the scene going to change positively to recover and develop in new ways?
Gavin: Well, I guess it has been a case of not much happening for most of the year in terms of gigs etc. as mentioned above. But there are some things happening now in states such as Queensland, and some gigs on the horizon in NSW as well, which is really great. Here in Victoria, we are in a pretty hard lockdown right now, but we hope that after these 6 weeks, things will improve, also with warmer weather coming.
I think one of the most amazing things to see through this is how people and industry’s adapt in the face of adversity. No doubt the industry will positively recover and the music loving public will have an even greater thirst for the joys that come from connecting in person with music to experience a state of unity. I believe the stripping back to what really matters will have many positive effects on us when we come out of this, though the way clubs and outdoor events operate may well be changed for the foreseeable future. But, we will adapt and rise again! Music knows no limits or boundaries.
Matt: I have no doubt in my mind that the scene will be back, stronger and bigger than ever after all this. How good is that first party back in the flesh going to be?!?
Who in your home city of Melbourne deserves a shout out for keeping the positivity flowing during this pandemic scenario?
Matt: Almost too many to mention, but I’ll have to shout out my label partner, Mr. GMJ for being a solid rock throughout this year and big respect to everyone who kept the spirit alive with all the live stream sessions over the last few months.
Gavin: Musically speaking, many people! We are proud to have been sharing our online Meanwhile streams over the year, so a shout out to Matty on that one! There is always real positivity and genuine care coming from Anthony Pappa and his lovely partner Louise! Danny Bonnici, Thank You City, David Leckenby, Joe Miller, U-One, Shane Byrne (Shambollix), Liam Sieker and many more! Respect to all those giving their time doing streams and creating things that bring people happiness and keeps the positive energy flowing – the world needs it!
Let’s rewind for a moment, what are your earliest musical memories?
Gavin: My earliest are as a very young child listening to my parents Beethoven and Mozart records.
Matt: My earliest musical memory would be from around age 3 or 4 when I’d mastered how to change and play tapes on the ghettoblaster at home. I would repeatedly remove my sister’s tapes and chuck on the Ghostbusters Theme, crank the volume and bounce around the living room like an idiot. I clearly remember deciding to push the volume meter all the way to the top one day, just to see what would happen. It’s no wonder I ended up making, and DJing, over-amplified electronic music, hey?
How did your musical tastes develop? When did dance music come into your lives?
Gavin: Since I was a young boy, I loved music with electronic elements, so for me the progression to dance music was a natural one, but into more underground music in the early 90’s. Clubbing and raving from the early to mid 90’s was a huge part of my musical development, followed soon after by hearing ‘Renaissance Volume 1’ and ‘Northern Exposure’ – which forever opened my love for “progressive” house.
Matt: I grew up on blissful 80’s power ballads and still have a soft spot for those mushy tracks today. It was a much simpler time and the music had so much love and feeling back then! The 90’s that followed were a lot more confusing in comparison, to me. A lot of my friends were into grunge at the time, which I didn’t connect with. When electronic “clubbing” music, and specifically the UK trance culture arrived here in Australia, I knew I’d found a place to call home. I moved to London in early 2001 and spent the following 5 years soaking up as much of that experience as possible!
At what point did you get into producing and DJing? Who/what have been big influences in your music career so far?
Matt: I started collecting vinyl while I was in London in the early 2000’s and then began DJing shortly after. While DJing was always fun, I’ve always considered myself more a producer. I’ve been making music with computers for as long as I can remember. My first tracks were written in the mid 90’s using an old DOS program called Impulse Tracker, which allowed you to program 8bit sounds using hex codes as commands. The experience was pretty raw, but it was enough to suck me right in, and I guess that’s where my passion for writing electronic music all began.
Gavin: DJing 1996, producing 2005. Biggest influences: Oliver Lieb, Sasha & Digweed, Guy J, Dousk, Kasey Taylor, Matter, Jeroen Glas.
In what ways do you think your particular journey through life has influenced the electronic music you make and play now?
Gavin: Music is such a personal thing and, if you are authentic in your creation, writing what comes from the soul, the sum total of life experience does come through your sound, creating the “signature”. For me meditation, presence and spiritual practice, consciousness exploration has been a major part of my life for many years, and a huge part of my reflection in sound. This continues to unfold through the music for me. Also life experiences, travel, nature and many things play a key role in the states I create music from. Music is my first language and connection to the bigger picture and expression of that.
Matt: I think it has everything to do with it! From the ghettoblaster, to the DOS software, from the London culture to Rainbow Serpent Festival, all the way up to our new label today! Our experiences through life all play their part in influencing our music today, and I’m ever grateful for that.
If you could play for a whole night with any DJ (ever), who would be at the top of your wish list?
Gavin: Guy J.
Matt: No question about it – Guy J. No one crafts the journey better.
If you could remix any track by any artist (ever) what would be at the top of your wish list?
Matt: I would love to remix one of Sasha’s older ‘Airdrawndagger’ tunes.
Gavin: Too hard to narrow this one down… maybe LSG ‘Blueprint V1’ or Underworld ‘Dark & Long’.
What new projects should we watch out for from you both in the coming months?
Matt: Gavin and I have been busy in the studio! We’ve just finished a brand new 4-track EP for Meanwhile, which we’re really excited about and just in the process of lining up some big remixers. We also have a few releases and remixes about to drop for the likes of Proton Music, Agnosia and Mango Alley, to name a few. Throw all that in with a bunch of solo and side projects going on at the moment, not to mention my first ever album that is nearing completion! So, I guess we have a stack of tracks that we can’t wait to share with you all!
Gavin: There are also fun streams coming up for Burning Man & 21c progressive house, as well as continuing our Meanwhile series. I have a number of collaborative projects on the go with some fantastic artists, as well as originals and remixes on some great labels.
And finally, what’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Gavin: Realise deeply that true happiness and peace comes from within this moment.
Matt: I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”