Well well well.. Mr Everlight.. welcome to the sesh seat! Tell us a little about the man behind the mask!
Hi guys, thanks for inviting me!
My names Matt and i’m 29, Living in Birmingham and grew up in Nuneaton. I have a cool as fuck younger brother called Josh who’s working to become an astronaut.
Aside from spending time in the studio, I’m a gamer and spend a lot of time most weekends playing competitive Rocket League with one of my best buds, Tom. #TeamOOSH
Firstly… the mask… can you explain how and why that came to be?
So I’ve always been a bit of a tinkerer/inventor. I like to create all sorts of things and play around with tech. When my productions started to pick up and I got invited to play gigs, I wanted to approach it from a different direction and try to add some personality to my live sets rather than just mix one song into another. I decided to create my DJ/live system using Ableton Live as I have 15 years experience with it, and that opens up all sorts of options in terms of tech, as you can sync all sorts to your performance. I saw what some people were doing online making light rigs which are controlled by Ableton, and thought it would be a freaking cool idea to work with that somehow as it fits with my alias.
I had the idea of shrinking that down into a mask years ago, but at the time the technology didn’t exist, you couldn’t get lights which were small enough and compact enough to work in a mask. I had the idea in my head for a couple of years before I finally stumbled upon the lighting tech I could use. From there it took me a further year to design and build the mask.
Do you find it hard to mix with it on?
We’re thinking bright lights, hot clubs … gotta be harder?!
The mask is surprisingly lightweight, which means I don’t have to have it on too tight to hold it up. Visibility isn’t a problem either as the lights point away from my eyes, if anything they help me DJ in a completely dark environment (and I often do for effect). The only thing is the heat. The mask can get incredibly sweaty, and while it’s tolerable, I do prefer to have a fan of some sort in the booth when I play.
I’m a sweaty bastard in a club at the best of times anyway so it’s not too different in all honesty.
You are rapidly becoming a household name for dance fans.. how did it all start for you?
Thank you! I’ve had a long and winding musical journey, making music under the name EverLight for over 12 years. I was bitten by the music bug when I was around 9 years old, I received a small keyboard with a built in rudimentary sequencer as a gift from my parents, and I became obsessed with it, programming melodies and rhythms using the keyboard. Later I moved on to the playstation game “Music” and “Ejay” where I would spend hours recreating my favourite dance tracks in these games. When I eventually got tired of the limitations of those games I begged my Dad to take me to a music store so I could learn how it was done for real.
At 13 years old I remember stepping into this music store and seeing an actual music studio for the first time and just being in complete awe. I had absolutely no idea what any of the knobs, faders or buttons in there did. But I had an overwhelming desire to just sit there and learn it all. A year later I returned with a fat stack of cash saved from my paper round and bought myself a copy of Propellerheads Reason, and a set of Wharfedale studio monitors. That’s where it all began for real.
What software and hardware are you working with right now?
Needless to say nowadays I have a bit more than what my paper round could afford. Software wise I work with Ableton 10, with Serum, Sylenth1 and Massive as my bread-and-butter synths. Hardware wise I work with a beefy Windows 10 machine wioth three display monitors, an Ableton Push 2, KRK Rokit 6’s for speakers and AKG 701’s as reference cans.
In the DJ booth I use a laptop running Ableton 10, an APC40 mk2, and an APC mini.
Having listened to a fair few of your tracks, there’s a lot of originality in them… quite different to a lot of the stuff being put out at the moment… where do you draw influence from?
Thank you! A large part of the originality in my music comes from my listening habits and my processes. Aside from all sorts of trance I listen to techno, progressive house, drum & bass, garage and electronic downtempo. And at some point along the way I have actually had a stab at producing all of those genres too which has given me the associated skills and helped me get out of my comfort zone. Most of my best tracks come from taking two contrasting ideas – perhaps from different genres – and finding a way to make them work together.
I’m all about interesting sounds. When I’m listening to music day-to-day and I hear interesting and different things which inspire me, I write them down on an expansive note on my phone. This catalogue of ideas is a springboard for me to use when I have time in the studio.
Talk us through a typical production session with Everlight… how do you put your thoughts into sounds…
I normally start with a collection of ideas before I even turn my computer on. A few ideas for the types of sounds and general vibe written down somewhere. When I turn on the computer I focus on getting those ideas down as quickly as I can, which gets me into a sort of creative flow and the momentum picks up from there.
While I try to stick to my original vision of each track, the most important thing for me in the studio is to make sure I’m having fun creating. If that means trying something wacky and unorthodox I will certainly do it. I don’t want my productions to sound like they “should”, I just want my productions to sound like they have been made by a guy who is having the time of his life. There is just so much love and joy for music in this studio, and my goal for each track is to get a piece of that out to you guys. I don’t get hung up on the details and if that means having a track that sounds rough around the edges, but oozes soul or creativity, I’m happy to make that sacrifice.
There have been moments of pure joy in my studio where I have literally jumped all around the room screaming “YEEEAAAH” when I have nailed down something in a tune. I fondly remember the rough arrangement for the drop in Ferrofluid inciting this exact reaction. My neighbours think I’m a nutcase.
How would you personally describe your sound?
Minimal, groovy, phat, sometimes nostalgic, with an intense focus on flow.
Is there anyone out there right now that you think is pushing boundaries with production?
The tech trance scene is going through somewhat of a renaissance at the moment with high quality and original productions from big names getting the air time they deserve. Will Atkinson, Stoneface & Terminal, Liam Wilson, Stephen Kirkwood, and Key4050 amongst many more are all innovating at the moment. But the important thing is that the crowds are loving it. It has me very excited for the future of tech trance.
We hear that you offer tuition, how long have you been doing that and how could a would be producer get involved ?
I’ve been offering tuition on music production now for around 4 years. It started accidentally when I was explaining some geeky technical things to my friend, and he said that I had a really good way of getting it all to make sense. I quite enjoy teaching as well, so I slowly built up my client base through word of mouth and now I teach around 25 students one to one through regular Skype sessions.
I’m very approachable with these things and genuinely enjoy giving feedback and helping people so if anyone wants to get involved they can just message me on Facebook
You also DJ!
We recently saw you in action with Rich Miller at ART where you took the reins from John Askew.. how did that feel ?!
I do DJ yes! While I prefer Ableton I’m plenty confident behind a set of decks, too. Rich is a good friend of mine and we understand each others styles quite well so playing with him was a blast. Playing back to back is a lot of fun in its own right as it takes a lot of pressure off when compared to the intensity of a live performance. Me and Rich intend on returning to the decks together in the future.
Do you still get nervous when you play out?
The only thing I get nervous about is the techy side of things. Making sure all my gear is working properly etc. If that’s all good to go then I’m generally just excited.
What’s your favourite gig to date?
My favourite gig to date was when I played for Trance Sanctuary in London about a year ago. Not only did the gig go amazingly smoothly, it was rammed to the rafters, and it was the first time I played Ferrofluid – one of my favourite and most well known tracks. The atmosphere was incredible, and I gained a lot of fans that evening.
Have you got any dream gigs?
I’d love to play one of the stages at Luminosity beach festival. It’s my favourite event on the planet. This year I was lucky enough to play the after party, so fingers crossed for 2019!
Have you ever really cocked up during a set ?!
Oh yes. I’d say I’m more prone to cocking up than normal DJs as with a system as complex as mine there’s more to go wrong. The worst instance was when – after a build up of a track – the next section for the drop failed to automatically trigger, leading to a build, build, build, and then silence. Arkwwwwaaaard.
What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve seen when you’ve been behind the decks?
I once saw someone full on arguing with a wall for about 15 minutes.
Tell us about what gigs you’ve got in the pipeline
I’ll be heading down to london for Transcend on the 13th of October to play alongside Ciaran McAuley and David Rust
After that on October 27th it’s the official Outburst night in Belfast with Mark Sherry, David Forbes and Lostly and Myself.
Finally looking forward to returning home to Birmingham for my residency at Anomaly on November 3rd.
Can you tip us off on any releases ?!
I have my debut release on MASS called “Innocence” releasing on October 8th.
After that I have a release on Mental Asylum White to be announced soon.
I have a remix of my good pal David Rust’s track “Absolutely” which is done and awaiting a release date.
Plus about 5 outstanding projects to finish off here in the studio including reworks, collaborations and new originals.
What is your most embarrassing moment on earth so far?
Tough question as I generally have no shame.
What has been your proudest moment?
I recently got signed on to Omega Artists talent agency. The same DJ agency as some of my idols like Mark Sherry, Alex di Stefano, and loads more. It’s a fantastic partnership and my manager is working with me to make sure that EverLight reaches all corners of the globe.
You’re stuck on desert island for a month… you’ve one item of food, one drink, one person to keep you company.. who and what are they ?!
Easy, food would be pizza, drink would be the purple Rockstar energy drink, and the person would be my girlfriend Karina, because we get through anything together
Thank you so much Matt (Everlight) ! You can catch the man himself at Anomaly at the Tunnel club on November 3rd !