ERA 95 is the alter ego of 24 year old Matt Roberts, a Midlands based House producer and DJ coming straight out of Leicester City.
With a fine experienced ear for dance music, Matt’s seven-years DJ experience playing on raw underground stages has helped shaped his modern productions to exhibit a unique, driving house sound, characterised by basslines thicker than a Kardashian and drums that knock harder than Anthony Joshua.
Piano Groove – his debut record as ERA 95 – lands at the end of this month on his own Lost Treasure Records: a timeless slice of bass-heavy house music that we predict is going to do big things this year.
So with that ringing in our ears, we’re delighted that Matt found the time to drop an exclusive mix for The Night Bazaar, alongside a very insightful interview. Enjoy.
Thanks for talking to us today. Covid notwithstanding, how has your year been so far? Has it been a productive few months?
It’s an absolute pleasure, thanks for having me! This year has been a bit of a funny one for me actually but insanely productive. I had a footballing accident earlier in the year where I unfortunately broke my ankle, so as a result, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands! These last four or so months have really given me the time to make lots of records, nail down my signature sound and then sift through the selection to find the best cuts to release!
Tell us about the club scene in Leicester. It’s probably not as known for its nightlife as some of its neighbouring cities, but often that can prove rich breeding grounds for thriving underground scenes. Is that the case?
Leicester’s nightlife is actually pretty cool these days and there has been a huge boom of younger promoters experimenting with nights at more intimate venues within the city. There’s a selection of key promoters as well that push their chosen music genre and i would honestly say there’s a night for every given taste if you know where to look and go. There are notably some larger events brands who I can shout out for really contributing to their respective scenes in Leicester though. “Beastwang” is one of our cities most popular events which is headed up by my good friend and artist manager Nico Singh. It’s a pretty multi genre night but has strong roots in UK Garage and DNB, whereas the city’s house scene is represented heavily by the “Full House” crew hosted by Finn and Sonny (Murphy’s Law). These are the guys who are consistently bringing top tier artists to our city and are keeping the nightlife exciting for me!
Given that smaller venues are probably those that have been hit hardest by lockdown, and will also probably receive a much smaller proportion of help from the government over the coming months, how do you think the Leicester scene will look this time next year?
I think that the creatives in Leicester would never let our scene die to be honest, myself included! I am pretty concerned about what the future of the clubbing industry as a whole is going to look like though by next year. I can see quite a few people being deterred by new restrictions for partying and the fear of potentially getting the virus, so it’ll be very interesting to see what that does to local crowds. I’m actually hoping that the complete opposite happens though and people are more hungry for a night out and a boogie than ever haha! Only time will tell, but our scene will be very much alive in 2021. I can assure you that!
You’ve been DJing and producing under various aliases for some time now… what prompted the switch to become Era 95?
I think that i’ve always wanted to explore different sounds through the years to widen my musical knowledge, pick up various production techniques from different genres to find my edge and generally just enjoy what each culture has to offer. Each scene attracts different crowds and I’ve always just wanted to entertain people through the power of music so I’ve dabbled in lots of scenes to find my comfort zone. I think now I’ve got about a decade’s worth of experience, i’ve really found myself at home with House music (pardon the pun). I absolutely love the crowds that show up to listen to this kind of music and I find the whole experience of house to be centered around unity and good vibes which holds extreme importance to me. My favourite quality of house is the technical yet minimal feel of a well made groove and i think that once the groove bug gets you, there’s nothing else quite as good for the soul as House music is.
Piano Groove sounds like it could have been made at any time in the last 20 years, which for us is definitely a good thing. Is timelessness an important quality for you when it comes to making music?
It absolutely is! I think it’s really important to preserve an element of authenticity within your music and pay homage to the original sounds. I really appreciate that comment, thanks! House music feels like it’s constantly shifting energies within its culture and sub genres, so i think making something a little closer to the source should age well for the DJ’s out there. Personally, I like to make an array of records that are relevant at any given time during a set as I like to go through the gears and play smoother stuff initially then work my way up to the more techy/acid side of things. I’m hoping that my releases will preserve a good shelf life though haha!!
It’s coming on your own label… what can you tell us about it? Is it going to be an outlet solely for your own music or will other artists be involved as well?
It is indeed! So, Lost Treasure was originally dreamt up by myself and label partner Nico so that we could build up our very own independent brand for quality house records and parties centered around midlands based talents initially with the scope to expand to a worldwide family of producers. I love the idea of dedicating myself to something I can put my whole life into, so i’m really excited to take the journey of building up an unknown brand to be a household name and experience all the thrills, lessons and memories along the way. Initially, the first few singles will be from myself, however I’ve got a number of friends within the scene who are currently working on some records for us which I’m super excited about. One lad I can shout out though is Kai Rodriguez, he’s definitely going to become a label regular as his sound fits perfectly with what we want the label to be about so give him a check out! I’ve always got my eyes and ears peeled for fresh talents like a typical A&R would do but this might be a great time to shout out that we’re currently accepting demo submissions at the moment too! As the label begins to age, I’m really keen at doing some exclusive vinyl runs as well and running a Lost Treasure clothing line to boot. Skies the limit really!
Tell us about the mix you’ve put together for us… any stand out records?
I always like to mix a number of different feels in my sets and work up through the energies, so I kicked the mix off with my forthcoming single Piano Groove as it’s a perfect little introductory track to set a vibe with. I then just played a selection of cuts that I absolutely love at the moment! You’ll notice that my style is to blend between minimal grooves and more techy sounding cuts, so expect some sweet sounds and some more driving bits to dance to! I also lean in towards some more G’d up records at the end of the mix, throwing in some acid sounds and finally sealing off with “Cheddar” a naughty little gangsta tune by an upcoming talent called “Kez” out on Endor’s label “Doctor Session”.
Is this a fair reflection of what you play live?
Absolutely. I always tend to give my crowd an analysis though so that I can fit the energy of the room. I’ll always turn up with a bag of tunes which can easily groove a room out or have it drenched in sweat! There are certainly a few tunes in this mix though that will end up being go to’s for the next six months.
What else do you have coming up over the next few months?
After Piano Groove releases on the 31/07/2020, I’ve got another two follow up singles scheduled to release on Lost Treasure in August and September which will showcase the variety of sound we’re interested in. After I’ve put those bits out i’ll be turning my attention to some of the bigger players in the scene’s labels to find some other homes for my records! I’ll of course be working hard behind the scenes to get other guys signed and promoted through Lost Treasure too. Mainly though, i must admit i’m SO ready for a party now, it’s been almost 5 months since i’ve played to a crowd so lets hope in a few months time that i’ll be able to host some Lost Treasure parties at a beloved Leicester venue called “Sophy” (Formerly known as Sophbeck, an iconic staple in Leicesters underground scene).
Finally, what’s the best record you’ve heard this year and why?
It’s really difficult to say actually, there’s always tonnes of quality house music to listen to, however there is one tune that comes to mind and i want to shout this one out for a reason!
It’s called Chemistry by Marco Strous and currently, I believe the only place you can find this track is on Blanc’s youtube channel. Not only is it an incredibly written record which captures and embodies what house is, it’s overflowing with technical production quality and is actually the last thing Marco is putting out for a while due to taking a break to look after his mental health (which I’m a huge advocate of and heavily support!). So if you haven’t heard that yet, fly over to Blanc’s youtube channel and give it a listen, you wont be dissapointed!
Thanks for the interview guys and I hope you enjoy the mix! – Matt x