DJ, producer and resident for one of the most respected brands in dance music, Matthias Meyer forms part of Watergate’s original roster, who over the past 10 years have played a pivotal role in the club and record label’s success.
Matthias has also continued to establish himself on the world’s stages, touring across Europe, USA and further afield to showcase his unique sound.
Ahead of his performance for the 10 Years Of Watergate Records showcase at E1 on 9th November, we sat down with Matthias to talk through highlights of the past decade, his diverse playing style and what to expect in London this weekend.
Hey Matthias, Thank you for taking the time to chat with us ahead of your performance for Berlin’s mighty Watergate Records at E1 London. Watergate have become a widely recognised source of prolific underground music over the past 10 years, with a multitude of releases from talented artists including yourself. Tell us what it is about the label which stands out for you?
Watergate Records is all about family. Almost everybody who releases on the label – or does a remix is also at the booking agency and a resident in the club or artist who’s playing at the club frequently.
You’ve been a core part of the Watergate family since it’s inception, how have things changed since the early days of the label, to now?
At the beginning Watergate only released Mix CDs from residents and friends. Most of the time they also released the exclusive tracks separately. Later they released single EPs from residents. Nowadays it’s become a serious more open label, with Mix CDs and single EPs from lots of different artists but still Watergate related.
It’s been another hectic year for you, with a jam-packed tour schedule taking you around the world to DJ. What’s been your favourite destination to play in 2019 and why?
Our annual Brazil tour is always the highlight of the year. Last year we played at six of the best venues in Brazil during one tour. This year was no exception, but for me our 2019 was the best. There was almost no shows with less than 1000 people and they just go crazy whatever you play. The crowd is always enthusiastic and loves everything you do. I feel a lot of freedom to play what I want over there and there is so much love. I feel South America in general is a great territory for my music. I also played a lot of North America gigs with great success, I feel my music really resonates over there.
Your playing style has been known to feature a diverse arrangement of sounds from hair-raising melodies to deeper house grooves. Talk us through how you approach your DJ sets.
Playing journeys is what I really love. I just like lots of different music – I was never really a fan of dj sets with just one particular style. Once upon a time a friend said to me “Matthias you are playing so many different styles but it always sounds like you!“ I think that’s the best compliment you can get. Sounds funny but sometimes I compare it to making love. It’s just not fun to go all in at the beginning. You need some headroom for later. Hahaha!
Your show at E1 celebrates 10 years of Watergate, with yourself playing alongside some renowned selectors and fellow family members of the label. What are you most looking forward to about the event?
London is always a great city to play in and also Watergate showcases are always fun because you play and travel with friends. The Adana Twin boys are really good old friends from Hamburg where I lived before I moved to Berlin. But, I’m actually dam most excited about the venue. I’ve heard a lot of great things about E1 and it will be my first time playing there!
This will be the first time yourself and the other artists on the lineup will be playing at the venue in London, as Watergate makes its debut. How do you think E1 will compare to the record label’s home in Berlin?
To be honest, I can’t really compare as I’ve never been to that venue. But I did some research and the pictures look amazing. It looks more like a bigger industrial venue but still with a sweaty intimate vibe – that’s what I see from the pics. Watergate is more like a modern club with a big main room and the watercolor downstairs is really, really intimate – especially in the morning. I think E1 will be a good fit for our showcase.
You’ll likely have many fond memories from playing at the Watergate club in Berlin over the years, but are there any iconic moments which will always stay with you?
I’ve been a resident for more than seven years I think – so that’s a really tough question! The most memorable gigs are of course the longest ones, or my own. I played a few times with my old friend Solomun from Hamburg and he also likes to play long sets. He was playing in the main room and me the closing downstairs. I was already playing for 5-6 hours and he came down and we played another 5-6. After that he continued and I was just dancing!
We also created a new event at Watergate called The Spell with more deep music. I’m kind of a resident at this party. Most of the time I start upstairs for a few hours and then also do the closing for at least four hours. For my birthday back in August, I had the honor to play all night long in the main room except for one hour of Stimming live. That was amazing!
Your quality over quantity approach to production has led to a high impact string of releases during your career on respected labels such as Liebe*Detail, Anjunadeep and of course, Watergate. Can we expect any new music from you soon?
An old friend of mine who was a manager of a really big pop band came to my home studio over a decade ago and I showed him a few big records from our “scene“. He said can you remember anything from the track you just showed me? I said no. He said, “You see, shit”, haha! This stayed in my head and I always try to make a more unique, memorable track. That’s also why I need more time than others and also because of touring of course.
I’ve just released remix for a canadian pop band called Hoki. Next up is a new own EP for my own label and also some other remixes. I’ve also finally finished some more originals, but I can’t give you any more info on those just yet!
Are there any tips you can give to aspiring artists looking to hone their sound and production skills?
If you want to find your own sound, sometimes it’s great to spend some time finding samples you like. Sample yourself or record your own drum sounds, put it into one folder and try to work with it. For me it’s also ok to use presets, because it’s the same as with tracks for your DJ set – it’s the way, and which sounds you use. Everybody has a fable for a specific type of sounds.
I am also a big fan of making mistakes on purpose – most of my biggest tracks happened like this. Just throw some random effects on a channel or add a sample and do audio to midi and see what happens. If you are lucky you create a new interesting melody or groove and you can start a new track from it.
Finally, can you tell us about any exciting plans or developments in the pipeline for next year?
I will finally start my own label called Strangely Enough. The first release will be from myself with three really different tracks. I want to handle it like my DJ sets – more unique music. Different styles but it will always be more deep, yet still with a lot of energy.