Earlier this fall, Norwegian producer/DJ Matoma (né Tom Stræte Lagergren) took to the road for his Party At Your Place! tour, a 40 shows in 40 nights cross-country tour supported by Cheat Codes, Steve James, Steve Void, and Baynk. We had the opportunity to sit down with Matoma for a quick interview before his sold out show at ai in DC.
Daily Beat: So this is stop three, right? How’s it going?
Matoma: It’s going amazing. Tonight is sold out, tomorrow is sold out. We were 30 tickets away from sold out in Philadelphia, too. Yeah, every show has been great so far and yesterday [in Del Mar] was amazing. 10,000 people in the crowd.
DB: Wow, congrats. So you’re doing the whole 40 shows in 40 nights thing. What brought you to the decision that you were like, “I’m going to do this,” because that’s wild.
M: Yeah, it’s pretty intense. I think I will be quite tired after the trip but I get so inspired by meeting all these people. For example, we had a meet-and-greet right now with 15 people and just hearing their stories was great. There was a girl who worked as a lawyer and two people working in the White House and a lot of students and just hearing their stories and how my music affects their life. It’s really inspiring and it inspires me. I think that’s the reason I manage to do this, to actually be able to see the crowd.
DB: So you mentioned you draw inspiration from those people, but where else do you draw inspiration from with your music?
M: Nature of course. I love traveling and I love seeing cultures, meeting people, and I love especially nature. So this summer I went a lot of hiking trips with my girlfriend and I spend a lot of time when I’m not producing or doing shows with my friends and family just going to different places and experiencing. I love hiking especially, so this summer I went up north to Norway hiking to one of the most beautiful places in Norway and I’m scared of heights, so to be able to climb a mountain that is over 1,500 meters is pretty epic.
DB: Have you ever wanted to experiment with actual natural sounds in your music?
M: I have natural sounds in my music, wood blocks for example. In “Stick Around” for example, I took a sound that I recorded, a wind noise, and I pitched it together with the flute to make it sound more acoustic and more natural.
DB: That’s awesome. So I wanted to touch on how Hakuna Matoma [Matoma’s living album] is actually a playlist on all of the streaming services that you’re updating as you go. What brought you to that decision because that’s something that people aren’t doing in this space right now.
M: My vision for the album was just creating a dynamic album where I could release music without having to think about an EP or an album. I could just release music as I wanted on the go. For example, when I made the “Paradise” track with Sean Paul a few days before Coachella, I wanted to bring him out for Coachella and I invited him and said, “Let’s make a moment out of it.” So on the same day, after the first show on the Saturday we released it on the Friday and we played it on the Saturday at Coachella.
DB: That’s awesome, and you recorded it a few days before. Is that your fastest turnaround for a song?
M: A few days back, I did my new song and it came around in two days and I produced it on this bus and I’m playing it tonight and I talked with my manager and he will have all the legals done by Monday and we will release it in a few weeks. It’s pretty different, if you ask Stien [Matoma’s tour manager] what he thinks about it, I think he will say that it’s a new and unique sound. I’m always trying to develop myself and always trying to make new content and new music but have a red thread so everything is fitted together in a perfect way and people can really hear that it’s me, that I produced it, but in a fresh way. As I did with like “Everything Is Nice” and moved into “Stick Around” and moved into “Paradise” and moved into “Running Out” and “False Alarm”. “False Alarm” for me is a very different track from all the other songs I’ve produced but you can really hear that it’s me that produced it.
DB: So is that just how you keep yourself fresh and a challenge you have for yourself?
M: Yeah, I always try to challenge myself and I think it’s easy for a producer to get lost in a typical sound and in their ego. For example, Calvin Harris is always developing himself, he always stays fresh. Tiësto for example, too. He’s been around for twenty, twenty-five years but he always manages to develop his sound, to sound current but at the same time have his unique sound to it. And I think that is why he is so respected and well-known in the industry because he’s managed to turn around on all these different songs and genres but add his unique sound to it. So I’m just trying to do the same.
DB: That’s great. And I think you’re fighting the good fight because there’s so many artists in electronic music right now that just find the thing that works and that gets them on stages and keep doing it. So, keep doing it haha.
M: Thank you. I think you will know when I play the song tonight, the new song, and I hope and think that you will like it.
DB: So I was going to ask what’s next for you but I guess you have 36 days of the bus and touring and flying.
M: Actually, I think we have 38 days left. And then I’m going on a backpacking trip in Asia to China, Vietnam, Laos, and the Philippines, maybe Bali. I’m going there to get more inspired by Asian music and culture and get inspired to produce more. I love the culture there and I love the history behind all of the countries and I would love to spend more time in Japan for example and experience the samurai culture and history but maybe another time.
DB: Finally, if you could be any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
M: Ice cream flavor? I’d have to say a flavor that has a milkshake flavor to it with a banana, chocolate, brownie thing. Yeah, that’s it.
The new song Matoma hinted at was “All Night,” his slick and rousing single featuring The Vamps, which recently got a remix treatment from Alex Adair. True to his word. the track is different from his oeuvre (in a great way) and you can still pick out that red thread. Follow Matoma on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out when he’ll be at a venue near you.