Mat Zo, a Grammy-nominated British producer, began his career as a trance artist, signing his first track to a:Loud Recordings at 16. He was soon picked up by Anjunabeats, releasing his first EP with the label in 2008. Simultaneously, Zo began making waves in the drum ‘n’ bass world with releases on Hospital Records under the pseudonym MRSA. In 2013, when it was time for his debut album, Damage Control, he’d already become a genre-less dance music renegade.
This March, Zo released his second studio album Self Assemble under his own Mad Zoo label. The album tells a story about the future and how technology will make everything immediate.
We caught up with the British DJ/producer ahead of his show at Brooklyn’s Output nightclub on Friday, May 13 to chat about the new album. Catch our interview with him and enter to win a pair of tickets to the show below!
DJ Times: Your Self Assemble album recently dropped under the Mad Zoo label. Tell us a little bit about the album.
Mat Zo: It was a project 3 years in the making. It was pretty much finished last year, so it has been sitting around for a year waiting to be released. It feels good to finally get it out.
DJ Times: Self Assemble is your follow-up to Damage Control. How are you expecting it to compare to your first album?
Mat Zo: The production is slightly better and it is a little bit darker then Damage Control. Damage Control was light and fluffy and Self Assemble has a bit of darker tone to it for sure.
DJ Times: The first sginel was “Soul Food.” Why was this the first track to be released?
Mat Zo: I wanted to start with the track that I played out the most. This is the track that has gotten the most reaction at the clubs, so I decided to release it first.
DJ Times: Can we expect a tour for the new album?
Mat Zo: I won’t be heavily touring this album because there are only like two or three tracks that I can actually play out. I will be doing album celebration gigs, but I wouldn’t call it a full on tour. Maybe later in the year, but we shall see.
DJ Times: Within the studio, what type of gear do you prefer to use?
Mat Zo: I’m pretty much an all software type of guy. I have hardware stuff, but I hardly ever use it and I usually just play around on it. To actually create my music though I use Ableton.
DJ Times: What equipment do you use within the DJ booth?
Mat Zo: Just CDJs, a USB stick and headphones. Pretty simple. There is typically [Pioneer] CDJ-2000’s and a DJM 900 mixer, which are pretty much standardized.
DJ Times: How did you start DJing?
Mat Zo: I was 14 and someone came into school for a special music lesson, DJ Pied Piper. He’s actually quite a famous DJ in the UK. He came in because one of the music teachers knew him, and he taught our class the basics of mixing. From that moment I was hooked. It was vinyl mixing back then, but I really got addicted to the feel of mixing.
DJ Times: When you have spare time and you’re not producing music or traveling, what do you like to do?
Mat Zo: I like to go to the mountains a lot. Lately, I haven’t had much time to go out due to work. Some people would say that’s pretty boring, but I have a job that I love and it keeps me rather busy.
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