On The Record: Matte Blac
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Local DJ/producer Matte Blac, aka Matt Barberi, will forever be a risk-taker. While the Matte Blac moniker is an extension of his creative side and the sophisticated sound he covets, he said his alias is also when his “party side comes out.”
Growing up in England, exposure to house music came easy and so was his decision to become a DJ.
“People are becoming DJs for all the wrong reasons… because it’s cool. I became a DJ because I’m a terrible dancer. (It) seemed to work out for me,” he joked. “I don’t believe you should play it safe anywhere. Why would you want to play what everybody else is playing? At that point you’re not a DJ, you’re a jukebox.”
Whether placed in a position to crank out tunes of groove ambiance for a crowd of a few hundred or producing his own tracks, both scenarios are equally enticing for the dance music purist.
Barberi, who headlines his monthly Lush event at eleven44 Friday, believes that ultimately what makes the act of music creation such a fulfilling art form is no matter what unexpected direction a song may eventually go, there is never a wrong turn. All avenues lead to satisfaction.
“It’s extremely important to always be pushing boundaries in this industry, you could definitely say starting a house music only night in Honolulu is a big risk,” he said. “I’m looking to keep evolving and learning as an artist and DJ. Pushing boundaries, staying fluid while staying true to what defines me as an artist.”
There is a lot of fusing of dance music categories or sub-genres these days. Nothing captivates Barberi more than soulful vocals and heavy bass lines. So long as those two ingredients exist, a blissful state will result.
“Genres nowadays are pretty messed up,” he said. “It’s really hard to group different genres of house, techno, deep house, tech house … I think just stay true to a sound you like and don’t worry about genres,” he said.
With the rise of rave festival culture and the arrival of EDM into the mainstream, there is hope EDM may be the gateway genre that leads curious listeners deeper into its origins.
“Getting people to broaden their horizons when it comes to music in general is definitely a work in progress,” he said. “I’ve had more success back home in Europe but I’m here for the foreseeable future so it looks like I have time.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.