: MR Q
“Oh my God, it’s f—king Matt Darey!”
shouted a fan upon recognizing the noted DJ/producer at Marquee nightclub Monday, February 7. Though Darey isn’t scheduled to play at the club until February 14
, he stopped by for another visit while in Las Vegas where he’s been working on his new artist album.
Thus far, Darey's garnered numerous chart-topping hits and sold over 2 million albums including his track "Beautiful," "Gamemaster," Li Kwan's "Point Zero" and ATB's "9 p.m. (Till I Come)." We caught up with the top-ranking Brit for a chat about Sin City, his groundbreaking podcast/radio show, drum and bass, plus those trademark shades.
You’ve had the chance to check out Marquee. Any favorite aspect of the club?
The club is just really nice. I got the guided tour. But the whole thing that really makes the night is the people that you meet and I met some really cool people that night. I had a great time, some good memories already.
For Valentine’s Day you’re going to be in the Boom Box room at Marquee, which is a more personal experience on Mondays for dance music fans than the main room. What’s it like for you going from mega club gigs or festivals to intimate spaces?
If you’re playing a big festival, you’re so far away from the people in the front row. Whereas in an intimate club, you can actually hold hands with people and all that sh-t and I love that because that’s what it’s all about. So it’s actually more fun most of the time to play an intimate room.
I’ve got to say, Jordan
[Stevens, Marquee’s resident DJ] every set I’ve seen of Jordan’s has been amazing. He’s a really good DJ. He always rocks it and he’s great to play with so that’s going to be good playing with him again.
You’ve got a few new, great tracks such as “Into the Blue” with Aeron Aether, featuring Tiff Lacey, and “Lost at Sea” featuring Ashley Tomberlin. Will those tracks be on your next album?
They’re all part of an artist album which I’m working on right now. That’s one of the things I’m doing here [in Vegas]. I’ve set up a studio upstairs in my [hotel room] and I’m making tracks on my off days when I’m on the road. That should be out at the end of April/beginning of May. I’m all fired up because I took quite a long time away from making music.
Since you’re working on it in Vegas, is there something about this city that inspires you?
I actually like it here. I like it when you want to go out all the time, go out and get a bit of a buzz going. But I actually spend some of my time on Mt. Charleston as well up in the mountains and the snow, go up to this little cabin there up there. I don’t know how much where I am influences the lyrics or whatever, it tends to take the mind to another place, but it helps looking out a window onto the mountains or onto the Strip for a different vibe.
How do you feel your production style has evolved from the early days where it may have been labeled as purely trance?
It’s progressive house/trance. It’s got all the grooves of progressive house, but it’s still got the big vocals, the big break-down moments. That’s always been my trademark right from the beginning: Big vocal, big breakdown.
Now that the electronic dance music scene in Vegas is expanding, some people may now just be discovering your music. Can you describe the difference between your Nocturnal podcast/radio show (which airs locally on 94.5 The Vibe), and the Nocturnal Sunshine podcast?
On Nocturnal I play all the main genres of music: progressive house, house, breakbeats, trance, electro—less electro nowadays, whereas a few years ago electro was really the thing. Nocturnal Sunshine is purely a bite-size show for more mainstream listeners.
Tell us more about Urban Astronauts, your band project that produced such recent favorites as “See the Sun.” Has the band ever performed live?
The only time we’ve performed live was when we’re making a video (laughing). Basically I went in the studio and I wrote a lot of the lyrics, and I produced and played everything pretty much. … I just travel around the world with my DJ bag, one guy putting on a show. It’s putting the band on tour [that is difficult]. As soon as I started to look into the whole band thing, it’s like, “Oh, my God.” But we’re going to be putting out some tunes soon. The next single is with Christian Burns who did Tiësto’s “In the Dark.” It’s not at all trance-y. It sounds like The Killers with an EDM sort of backdrop. Of course you’ll have heard the remixes which are completely different. The originals are like a real band.
Do you think we’ll ever see anything from the Lost Tribe collaboration with Red Jerry again?
Probably not. But there might be a remix actually. A guy hit me up and that was his favorite track of all time and I play him a lot on the show… so he might do a remix of “Gamemaster.”
Electronic music fans and artists seem to always have that one significant introductory experience to the music. What was the first song, artist or event that made an impact on you?
I know what was that exact moment. I used to be a singer in a band when I was 16. A friend of mine said, “Oh, come to this rave! It’s really cool!” So I went to the rave called Amnesia and Carl Cox was playing—he’s been around for so long—and this other DJ Micky Finn, he’s like the godfather of drum and bass. I went to this rave, first dance music thing I’d ever been to, and I danced my ass off all night and into the next day because I was having so much fun. Micky Finn played this one track of his called “Rough Justice.” I was looking at the queues outside and the fences went down during this big breakdown with everyone clamoring up. It was crazy. And I just thought, “That’s so f—king cool,” and it was like a riot—but a good one. The vibe was insane. I was like, “Hey guys. I’m turning in the band and making drum and bass now. See you later.” (laughing) So I started making drum and bass. Now I’ve made everything, though I use different names.
How many aliases have you coined?
Millions (laughing), some of which I wouldn’t want to repeat. I’ve even remixed big pop artists and I use aliases all the time, the kind of things you want to sweep under the carpet (laughing).
Since you frequently rock the shades, what’s your preferred brand of sunglasses?
Gucci and Christian Dior.
How many pairs do you have?
I’ve got this cupboard at home in London—no really. There’s like a hundred pairs.