At this stage of Baltimore Club’s evolution, the most celebrated artists are ones that have been around since the genre’s early days: Scottie B, DJ Class, Rod Lee, etc. Whether it be because of a lack of communication between young and older generations of the genre or if the interest just isn’t there anymore, club music in Baltimore doesn’t seem to be a genre for the youth--at least, not nearly as much as it was less than ten years ago. There’s still hope, though. Matic808 is arguably club music’s most exciting young DJ/producer. Last year he remixed Kanye West’s Yeezus album in its entirety, gaining him attention from unlikely publications like The Wall Street Journal. This year has been much more chill for him as he has yet to release another full length--just loose mixes on Soundcloud. Eager to know when he’d be dropping more exciting mixes and what he feels Baltimore Club’s best interest is moving forward, I chatted with Matic808 to see what’s up. Check it out!
True Laurels: From Boiler Room, to Noisey to Pitchfork, Baltimore Club has gotten a significant amount of attention this year. As someone in the culture, what does that do for you? Do you get fueled by it?
Matic808: I definitely feel great about people paying attention to Baltimore but I think they’re kinda late. People should’ve come two-three years ago when the original interest was still there. Now we’re really starting from ground zero. I’m happy about the press but I feel like Baltimore Club should be something that the whole Baltimore embraces--even if it’s just all the young people.
Your last full length project was the Bmore Club remix of Yeezus. How are you gonna follow that up?
Matic808: I’m working on a couple EP’s right now but I’ve had a major creative block recently. Ideas aren’t coming as quickly as they used to and I’m not sure how to completely get over it.
Why do you think that is?
Matic808: I really don’t know what it is. Original content pushes you to think harder so switching from remixing to original stuff takes more brain power. Or maybe I’m overthinking it.
Do you feel like there’s shame in being strictly a remix DJ?
Matic808: I don’t think people should be ashamed of that but, for me, I know I’m much more than just a remixer. I don’t want to be known for just that. So I do feel some kind of way when people call me a remix DJ.
You and Black Zheep DZ recently worked together for “Mr. Slick “. Do you think that exchange between rappers and club producers needs to happen in Baltimore more often?
Matic808: Definitely. That’s something that Schwarz and Dylijens always talk about: merging cultures and desegregating music in Baltimore. There’s a lot of little pockets of music going on but they’re going nowhere fast if they don’t come together as one big movement.
You do a really good job of staying true to club music conventions while adding an element of freshness. Do you make it a point to stay somewhat traditional?
Matic808: I do because I’m paying homage to the ones that came before me. This is what I come from. So, even if they don’t give me credit, I owe it to them. Without the Club legends there would be no Matic. Rod Lee, Blaqstar, DJ Tameil, etc.
How often do you work on music?
Matic808: I try to at least work on something everyday. A lot of times I’m working on the same thing and trying to get it right. Sometimes I’ll be working on something for three hours and nothing gets finished because I’m trying to get it to where I want it to be. I haven’t been really excited by my work in a while. Something needs to happen in my life to get that charge.
So what do you think you need to work on to improve your music?
Matic808: Most definitely mixing and mastering. I really don’t have a hold on that. The tracks that I’m working on for the EP are getting sent out for that. So a lot of the times when I’m DJ’ing I won’t drop my new tracks because I’m not completely happy with the sound. Or, at least I won’t play my own stuff back-to-back.
Tell me more about the new EP.
Matic808: I don’t have a name for it yet but there are tracks that are closer to poppy sounds, tracks that I feel like Baltimore kids can shake off to and tracks that are really dark. The dark stuff probably won’t translate well for people shaking off but I’m working on how to separate and release those tracks.
Looking back at the places we had in Baltimore as teens like The Dox to now playing at parties like KAHLON & Beet Trip, how do you feel about where the local scene is? Both as an attendee and a performing act?
Matic808: Back when I was 16 I was DJ’ing with this company called New Era Entertainment and they were throwing parties and basically taught me how to do everything. Back then, they used to throw parties in halls or rec centers in East Baltimore and East Baltimore County. Things were DIY back then too but they were actually packing places out. The interest for the music was so high. Like, the spaces weren’t huge but if they had a capacity of 500 people, 500 people would come out. The last KAHLON I played was probably the best turnout I’ve seen since then. People came out just for dance music and that’s how it used to be. I’m not sure what it’s gonna take for that to come back or if it can come back. It seems much harder now.