It’s another sweltering hot day here in Ibiza. Nearing the end of July, temperatures on the White Isle are unsurprisingly unbearable and a rare dip in our residential pool has never been more inviting. But first, a trip to the local 24 hour is in order.
Situated on the glorious Sunset Strip, I look forward to a nice casual stroll past Mambo’s – an opportunity for some clarifying headspace whilst being guided by the relaxing sounds of the waves crashing up against the rocks. However, upon exiting my apartment, my attention is drawn to something equally as satisfying.
Stood still in captivation, my ears grow intrigued by a bounty of rich aural textures. Evocative and sophisticated, I couldn’t help but follow the vibrations. I poked my head into the local motor rental shop, Vespa Ibiza, located just outside my apartment where Matt Bauer is sat behind a desk stacked with paper work, head-bopping away to a wealth of glistening soundscapes.
Curious as to who it was, I asked: “Who is this?” A cunning smile then appears on Matt’s face. “This is magic my friend… ‘Human’ by Henry Saiz” he replies.
Fast forward time by three months, and following endless in-depth conversations about music for hours at a time, and it’s not hard to see where Matt’s passion for electronic music derives from.
Inspired by Henry Saiz as well as other contrasting influences like Dirty South and Hans Zimmer, it’s clear to see there is a much more meticulous, methodical creative side to the young Argentinian I walked past everyday I went off to work and party.
Originally from Rosario City, Matt has forged a bold, ambitious progressive house sound sculptured by a wealth of organic and orchestral nuances and subtleties.
Constantly striving for new ways to convey his his deep, robust production style, Matt Bauer is one name undeterred by the proverbial obstacles that lie in the way of his desired destination point.
We sat down with Matt Bauer and discussed his earliest influences, his decision to take the plunge to fly to Ibiza from Argentina this summer and his desire to transition to live performances.
Firstly Matt, how did you discover electronic music initially and who were you earliest influences?
Ever since I was a child, I was always dancing to the rhythm of radio hits and trying to record them on mixtapes. However, in summer of 2004, I was 12 years old and I was tuning an old radio on my chalet in Pinamar, and I tuned a radio that was playing the track ‘From Paris to Berlin’ by Infernal. I don’t know, it was so catchy. After that night, every night I was in my house listening to the radio and taking note the lyrics of the songs to search them in cybercafes .
My earliest influences back then were Dirty South, Tiesto with ‘Elements of Life’, George Acosta and Africanism. I was also a big fan of Hans Zimmer’s original soundtracks.
What is your current sound and how did your earliest influences help shape it?
Well, a lot. I’ve grown up following that line, but I lowered the tempo and modulation in my requirements of exquisite sounds. My sound at the moment is a mix between John Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo and Henry Saiz… progressive house with touches of organic sounds and orchestral arrangements, and a touch of afro house and psy—chill. Too long right?
Henry Saiz is one name you been influenced by quite a lot in recent years. Why does his music resonate with you so much?
You can see his career as a musician step by step in a long stairway. Remixes, original mixes, albums, and his last album, ‘Human’, is a brilliant innovation in a communicative way with the music in service of a message.
He is always trying to hunt sounds that are not analog or not recorded from normal instruments we use to hear.
His album ,’Reality Is For Those Who Are Not Strong Enough To Confront Their Dreams’, is one of the most beautiful pieces of dance music with organic sounds I’ve ever heard.
You have a background in studying audiovisual realisation and production and have created original soundtracks for films. How do you feel these experiences have helped benefit you in terms of finding your sound and operating within the studio?
Having my mind out of the 4/4 and the tempo of dance music and having experiences with tango and classical orchestra or progressive rock makes me realise how immense the world of music actually is.
As a producer, sometimes everyone will tell you that you’ve got to stick to a genre and do a more common sound, but I just can’t do that. I’m too enthusiastic about discovering and mixing every texture and genre of music. Every genre has his unique vibe and each context is meant to be enjoyed.
You originate from Rosario City in Argentina. Tell us about the underground scene over there, and in Argentina in general… we hear the crowds are amongst the most passionate in the world?
As a country (in every aspect of life), we kind of believe in big messiahs who are going to come and save us. In music, this is more or less the same, you can see how we fill out football stadiums various times to see Roger Waters or any rockstar, but here it doesn’t happen too often. Europeans are less delighted by new things or big stars because it’s always nearby and reachable for them. The underground scene is very solid but amateur in most of the cases, economical difficulties are around all corners when you try to organise parties.
This summer saw you make the big move to the party capital of Ibiza to illustrate your sound on a bigger platform. What is it that you love the most about Ibiza? Any favourite nights/clubs on the island?
One of my favourite clubs here is HEART. It has a lot of interesting productions and my favourite party is WooMooN. I like to give people something different.
Were you at all intimidated by flying half way around the world to chase your dream or was this something you’ve felt you were always going to explore?
Coming to Europe isn’t an easy step… I thought about it in this way. Economically, it’s like crashing four times with my car. So yes, but I was felt I was stuck in my own comfort zone and I always feel like there is something very big outside and I have to go for it, and ibiza was my pyramid. Now I know ibiza, I have to go for another objective because I love working towards the next goal.
How easy would you say it has been for you to network over here and get more involved within the underground scene on the island?
Frustrating at the start, but when I managed to play for first time and to buy my own decks here, it was a lot more easy.
Last month saw you play for Amplify at Eden in San Antonio. What did you enjoy the most about this experience and why?
It was an accomplishment of a very important objective for me, playing in an important club on the island.
Where else have you been playing your trade on the island this summer?
In a lot of places for my luck! Marco Polo I with Playasol Hotels, Veto Social Club with UNKNOWN, Dalt Vila Streets, Angelo’s, Good Life Ibiza and I managed to have my own weekly live session in a store (Vespa Ibiza) nearby Cafe Del Mar, and to play every Friday with the amazing crew of ONLY IBIZA Boat parties.
Focusing more on your production now, how do you feel this island has inspired you and your latest work in the studio?
It has given me a more concrete concept about how Afrohouse works with people, it’s not so common back in Latin America and I think I was always nearby that kind of music but never realised that was what I have to integrate into my sound.
Talk us through some of your favourite pieces of hardware equipment…
Right now, I’m very much into creating a live performance and I bought a lot of things that I don’t know how I’m going to end using. One of the things I bought was the XONE K2 controller from A&H. I get really excited about using it because of the capability to adapt the tiny piece to how you play. I’m using four channels with FX and I’m thinking into map remix decks too. It’s the Swiss knife of DJs!
We hear you are keen on transitioning more towards live performance. What is it that fascinates you the most about live performances and why?
I have been playing for years with CDs, pen drives, I learned how to play with vinyls and with computers, for me it’s a completely explored area… when I make my tracks, I love to use improvisation as a creative way to reach certain elements that I’m going to use.
I want take out from my presentations the structure of playing pre-produced music. It generates another ambience and connection with the people, when the people see how you connect with the world through improvisation and exhale what the world has given to you, it really feels like all your energy is aligned.
Who are some of your favourite live acts right now and why?
Stephan Bodzin, I love how he designed his own piece of hardware according to how his live set is done, you’ve got to really know what are your needing. Henry Saiz has like a band style, this is more chaotic with his instruments, its like a garage band… I like it.
I love what Porter Robinson does with his unique otaku sound based on anime culture, that’s amazing. For me though, Daft Punk are the bible of DJ and live show presentations, I can’t get over it.
Other names inspiring me right now are Pretty Lights, Gus Gus, Satori, Frikstailers, Nicolas Jaar, El Buho, Sergio Barrilis a.k.a Yarara…wow there is a LOT that I admire!
Live performers are still quite underrated in dance music and many feel they don’t receive the credit they deserve. Why do you think this is and what steps need to be taken by the industry as a whole to change this?
It has happened with the rockstars to DJs and I’m pretty sure it will be the same with the live performers.Technology has given us more facilities to do more things and to mix easily, everybody now is a DJ. Of course, there are a lot of factors that separate established and talented DJs to the rest, but with all the information out there, you can easily learn how to sound like a professional in months.
That said, with the rising of live transmissions and how they are changing live shows and the way that they are done, I think this is a natural evolution.
Finally, what can our listeners expect from your Next Evolution mix?
Wow… what can I say? Deep, wild, driving and spiritual.