What gives me the most pride to be Canadian is this countries dominance of music. Both mainstream and what can still pass as underground. From Drake and Beiber to your local DJ / Soundcloud producer there’s no denying that us maple leaf having hockey lovers know how entice an ear. And the best part is the trend show’s no sign of slowing down. Case in point, Matt Zanadro, Toronto based Big Room producer and resident at The Hoxton. We discuss his milestones to date and milestones to come. Listen to the exclusive mix provided alongside the interview as you get to know.
*If your in Toronto this weekend you can catch Matt alongside Skrillex, Dillon Francis, DJ Snake What So Not & Henry Fong for The Mothership Tour’s two day Canadian stop.
You’ve been leading a pretty huge year this year. Opening for MAKJ at Ultra, sharing the bill with Skrillex on the Mothership tour, Electric Elements Festival just passed. What’s been checked off your bucket list this year?
Thanks a lot, the year has been quite a ride already with so much to look forward to. I didn’t actually open for MakJ at Ultra but rather his DERP party in South Beach during WMC – which nonetheless was amazing and actually initiated a collab with him. Electric Elements was an awesome first taste at the summer festival season, and the Mothership show this coming weekend should be heavy as well!
The main goal on the bucket list right now would be to solidify a major deal that I’ve been working at for the past 8 to 10 months. It’s clear in this industry that the big shows will only come once the music is strong enough – so I’m taking it one step at a time and focusing solely on that right now.
Have your musical influences changed at all since you’ve been meeting and greeting the industries heavyweights?
Great question, I’d say it’s changed quite a bit. Focusing all my energy towards production has changed my perception on electronic music as a whole, and I’ve gained a lot of respect for artists I didn’t necessarily follow before (or grown more for some I already respected). I’ve always been fascinated in meeting the personalities behind the alias’ to try and understand they’re approach. It’s really motivated me to focus on creating and backing a sound that I believe is true to myself, taking inspiration from others but also trying to be unique and identifiable. Although I’m not nearly there yet, this approach has created a clearer path in what I should pursue and release myself.
Are there any big collabs forthcoming as a result of sharing stages and parties with anyone? Any you able to mention at this point in time?
Yes! I’m currently working on an insane collab with MAKJ, and I believe that happened from a lot of lucky situations happening at the right times. Being the resident DJ at the Hoxton in Toronto allowed me to open for him twice last year, also earning his trust to win the contest to open for him down in Miami. After Miami and hanging with him down there, he became interested in some of the music I’ve been working on, landing the dream collab we’re wrapping up now. I also have something cooking with JDG from Australia who’s been killing it out there, and Gazzo from New Jersey who just released Funky Beats on Flamingo which I love and everyone should go check out! Also starting up something with my good friend and other Toronto artist Shaun Frank, who has done an awesome job with his club covers incorporating his voice in his productions – look out for him as he’s got some huge things in the works.
What has been the crowds responses to the unreleased material?
Pretty mind-blowing actually. I’ve been playing out 2 of my un-released tracks, “Bombshell” and “Knock It Down” virtually every set, and between the consistent shows at the Hoxton and lately Electric Elements, it’s given me a lot of confidence that the tracks (and style) really do work live. Earning support from some big name producers I look up too on them also encourages me to continue pursuing the direction I want to head. Playing other unreleased work without anyone knowing it also gives me the opportunity go to back and tweak it in whatever way I feel I should, if it doesn’t translate in the way I want it too. That’s by far the most beneficial aspect to improve my own productions.
And while we’re on the subject of production, your quite active with edits. Perhaps less so with full blown remixes. Have you been holding back on the interweb for all the gigs you’ve been doing?
In a way I guess. I’m pretty passionate with my edits making sure that they’re done to the best of my abilities and not just simple mashups or acapella overdubs. The last 2 edits I put out (Mambo Freak and The Only Way) consist of some original production work, which is the direction I want to head with them. With the free remixes I want to start releasing ones that are a little less conventional. I’m really excited about a new one im working on which is a high energy remix of The Offsprings – “Pretty Fly For A White Guy”. I was a big pop punk/alternative rock kid growing up and want to showcase that in the electronic side of things I’m doing now. That being said, these types of remixes take a lot more time, so it’s really not about me saving them for live shows but more about just finishing them in the best way I possibly can.
Another avenue that’s boding well for you is your residency at The Hoxton in Toronto. How and when did that begin?
The Hoxton has been an absolute blessing and can’t thank the team behind me over there enough for it. I used to play every now and then at The (late) Social before it relocated/renamed to The Hoxton. I’ve always been extremely passionate about proper open sets, complementing and not upstaging the Headliners style, while still keeping people interested and moving. I kind of ambushed the guys who ran the Big Room/Commercial Saturday nights (who coincidently manage me now) at their office, explaining that this is what I promise to deliver night in night out. They gave me a shot and they’ve been happy with me every since. That was just over a year and a half ago.
Just looking at the schedule for the next few months I’d say The Hoxton is in the middle of it. How do you see the venue representing Toronto in the wild world of Electronica?
It’s been really interesting meeting and discussing past gigs with all the big names that they bring through, and it’s awesome to hear from them that the venue is one of there favourite places to play. So many situations with massive names coming and playing surprise sets after their big production shows simply because they love the venue and group of people running it. I’ve been so spoiled playing it as often as I do, and when I hear the love from these guys towards the venue, I really step back and reflect on the opportunities I’ve had playing there – I really don’t take it for granted. That being said, I’m clearly thrilled being a part of such a place as its definitely representing Toronto in a positive light on a global scale.
How do you see Canadian music doing around you?
Extremely well – the scene keeps growing and growing and more and more talent is heading to contend on a global stage. I’m working hard to try and be a part of it and don’t see it stopping any time soon.
When and if you stop and take a second to look back at all these accomplishments over the year, what do you think?
I see it mostly as motivation to keep pushing forward. I’ve always been so passionate with music and never felt that it was something I “had” to pursue due to outside pressures. When I see this bit of success, it gives me the confidence that I can continue doing what I really love to do – It has me working harder and longer, rather than sitting back and getting comfortable.
If you knew what you know now then, what would you do differently?
Simply got started on production earlier. I started the DJing thing right around the same time I got into electronic music in 09/10, but really didn’t start getting into the production side seriously until a year and a half, 2 years ago. I got into the harder electro/fidget scene in 2010 and used to follow Lucky Date, Zedd and Porter Robinson really closely, and even talk to them through facebook/youtube. To see where they’ve gotten to is mind blowing and just sometimes think I should of started earlier. I’ve always had extremely high expectations, so when I would first try and produce and couldn’t quickly get things to sound where I wanted too, I’d become extremely discouraged. I wouldn’t call it a regret by any means, but I sometimes think about it.
Looking forward now, to your date with Skrillex in on the 31st. Think you might begin a pre show ritual or two for this one?
Haha no definitely not – I’ve never been a “ritual” type of person, even when I played jr hockey, I’ve always just kind of went with the flow. I have a very bad habbit of leaving things to the last second, so ill probably just have a couple drinks, stay laid back and have fun with it. That always leads to the best experiences for me.
What do you have in store for your set? You don’t have to give it all away, just want to gauge your own anticipation.
It’s so hard to say being the first act of the night. I’ve gotten so used to feeling out a room as it slowly fills up from all the open Hoxton gigs I’ve played, so I’ll just come prepared with all sorts of music and try to follow with vibe the crowd is asking for. There will be quite a bit of unreleased/brand new stuff near the end though no doubt.
Care to sign this off with some shouts?
To everyone that has been supporting not only the music, but even myself as a friend since day one. Doing interviews like this makes me chuckle at the idea that someone is interested in what I have to say, and I’m so thankful for that and promise that I’ll work as hard as can to deliver.
Thank you Matt for your time. Looking forward to seeing your name all over the place in the future.
Thanks a lot guys!