Asteroid is an up and coming artist in the trance scene who seems to be growing at a rapid pace and he has some massive gigs lined up already this year. We took some time to chat with the man behind the name.
So Matt, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Wales and since the age of 16 I’ve moved around a lot. I left school and went to work for my uncle in London, I moved to quite a few different places after that and then spent almost 10 years in London over 3 different living occasions, before relocating to The Hague in Holland.
What made you start DJing and how old were you?
At the age of 14 in 1997, me and my friends used to be into Gabba Techno, now known as Dutch Hardcore. We used to bunk off school and play the decks in his bedroom. Fast forward a few months and I fell in love with trance music and my mum bought me some decks for my 15th birthday and I started to buy vinyl from my local record store.
What or who were your early passions and influences?
Looking back to around the same time, around 98/99, I was hugely inspired by Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and ATB.
What was your first live DJ set, how did you get it and how did it go?
My first gig was when I was really young, not even old enough to be in clubs yet and it was through a promoter called Inner Rhythm back in West Wales. They used to hold some of the best dance music parties locally, when we were younger. One of the guys from Inner Rhythm, Liam Meredith was dating my girlfriend’s (at the time) friend and he gave me a chance. The gig was a lot of fun but I remember not being that great a DJ back then so I don’t think it went well hahaha!
Where did the name Asteroid come from?
I have a fascination with space and the cosmos and I always liked space words or terminology. I thought it sounded cool so I just ran with it.
What’s your preference, Vinyl, CD’s or Digital and why?
Ahhhh the age old Vinyl vs Digital argument. People have been losing their shit over this stuff and I find it hilarious haha. I started on vinyl, loved that and miss it sometimes, I do however, understand that we have to move with the times so I embraced CD and I’m now embracing USB’s. I love USB’s now, I really didn’t at the start.
You’ve got some pretty big gigs coming up over the next couple of months at Dreamstate and Luminosity, how do you go about preparing for such big events?
It’s been an amazing year so far and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to land some amazing gigs. I spend a huge portion of the time just crapping myself due to pure nerves and excitement haha!!
Then a couple of weeks out from the event, I realise that I have new exclusive music to finish and play and that this is all I’ve ever wanted. So, I take some time to prepare my music and also add any other tracks as extras, so that I can be prepared to change direction if the crowd isn’t feeling it.
How would you describe your sound?
Sometimes uplifting, sometimes aggressive and always energectic.
Which DJs are you influenced by now?
Ah wow. SO many! As much as I love all obvious the big names, there is so much insane up and coming talent around right now. People like Shugz, Ashley Smith, David Rust, Renegade System, Billy Gillies, Nikolauss, Gary Leroy, Kinetica, Amos & Riot Night, Alex Van Reeve, Tranceye and probably a few more that I can’t think of right now. The production quality and the music these guys are releasing right now is what deserves to be talked about. I think that all these guys are going to be massive.
What’s your killer track at the moment?
It’s a toss up between Billy Gillies – Open Your Mind and JES – Imagination (Will Atkinson Remix)
What club or event has been your favourite to play in and why?
This is a really difficult one to choose (and previous hard trance gigs notwithstanding) but since my move to trance music, it has to be Unkonscious Beach Festival 2019 in Phuket, last month. The vibe of that festival is unreal, I also played a rare progressive warm up set and got the opportunity to set the tone for the event. I played at dusk, just around the time of sunset and it was just really special. I’ll never forget that.
Probably difficult to answer but what’s been your favourite gig to date?
I’m going to have to with my hard trance days on this one. Defqon.1 in Sydney, Australia. If you know Q-Dance events then you know the scale and production of them, mix that with Aussie weather and thousands of people and you’ll know why!
How did you get in to producing music?
I used to be 1 half of a hard trance duo. The project started in 2008 and ran until 2012. My friend Sully was the main engineer behind the music because he was a better producer than me. He encouraged me to learn by myself and I’ve been producing solo since 2012. It was the best thing I ever did was to learn for myself because I love the process so much now.
What software / hardware do you use?
I don’t run any hardware at the moment even though I plan to buy some outboard gear soon. At the moment, I am on a Macbook Pro with Ableton Live as my main DAW. I am also well versed in Pro Tools and have a basic understanding of Logic. My go to synths are Spire, Serum ,Sylenth, Zebra2 and Thorn.
Talk us through what you do when you start writing a new track and how does it evolve from your initial idea? Do you start with a melody and work it from there?
Ok so no 2 days are the same. Sometimes I’m in the mood for working on a really aggressive kick and bassline combo so I’ll start there. Other days I’ll have a melody stuck in my head so will start in the breakdown. On a few occasions, a melody has persisted enough inside my head that I’ll jump out of bed and grab my headphones at 3am, just to get the ideas down. I have to work when I’m inspired.
If you could collaborate with any other artist on a track who would it be?
Oh this is a tough one, Darren Porter is the best melody composer in the game for me, so him. Also worth a shout is Will Rees or Alex Di Stefano, I just love everything about their music.
Out of all the music you have produced which track are you most proud of and why?
I think that has to be my newest one. I just finished it 2 weeks ago and it’s been signed by one of the biggest labels in trance music. One of my personal favourites and my first choice too. So to be approved by them is a massively proud moment for me. I can’t say who it is yet though and it’s killing me keeping this a secret hahaha!
What are you working on at the moment?
3 new original tracks, one of them being the follow up for Saigon. And an official vocal remix of a Diana Leah track, one of my favourite vocalists.
What advise would you give to any aspiring producers?
The same advice I wish I knew when I first moved to trance. Do not compare yourself to others and if you have to, then use their tracks as a reference to work towards, so it’s always in a positive and motivational way. Keep your head down, work hard on your music, and absolutely do not involve yourself in any online social media negativity, or any negativity for that matter. Stay true to yourself and your music and have some trust in the process. It doesn’t happen overnight but when it does, you’ll know exactly why you’ve been doing it all along.
You are A&R Manager for Trancegression Recordings, so how did they come about and what do you look for when signing new tracks for the label?
Trancegression have been running events in Australia and Europe for a few years now. The label came about as a part of their expansion process and it’s spearheaded by Darren Porter, James Houlis & Mike Fernandez. They’re a great bunch of guys to work with.
We’re looking for anything that’s up-tempo and energetic. That said, our release schedule is packed until November so we’re not signing anything for a while now.
What do you personally consider to be the pivotal moments in your career so far?
It has to be landing the Unkonscious, Luminosity and Dreamstate gigs but also the new signing last week. I can’t wait to announce that one.
You live over in The Netherlands now, what made you relocate there?
Music. I was tired of living in a small town back in Wales. I was a restaurant manager for a corporate style franchise and worked long hours and my music career suffered. I felt like I was an imposter, living someone else’s life. So I took the bull by the horns, sacrificed my job there, my home and moved to The Netherlands in pursuit of my actual dream in music. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
If you weren’t a DJ what would your dream job be?
My dream job other than DJing would be to not have to work at all. I don’t mean live off the government either. I mean it’s sad, that out of billions of species on planet Earth, we’re the only ones who have to pay to live here.
I would love to just live comfortably in nature, be self sufficient, grow my own vegetables and not have to pay or ask for money ever again.
What would your year book quote be?
“Never grow up. It’s a trap.”
If you won the lottery…What’s the first thing you’d buy?
A couple of years ago this answer would be vastly different but now, I would make sure my family and close friends had what they needed and I would donate the rest to 3rd world countries. Buying things, isn’t really my thing anymore. As Bob Marley once said “possessions don’t make you rich, I don’t have that type of riches.”
What’s the funniest story you can tell us from a night out?
If I can tell you the funniest story then it’s not the funniest story so I probably shouldn’t hahaha.
Do you have any bad habits?
Probably many. Although, the things I’m working on in 2019 are – instead of just having loads of grand ideas, actually taking the time and effort to action them. I also desire to be less selfish at times. Sometimes, it’s easy for me to have my head in the clouds and it be misunderstood as being unthoughtful, so those are the things I’m working on.
If a film got made about your life story what actor would you want to play you?
Oh, I’m not sure. Some of the actors I love though are Edward Norton, Clive Owen and Jon Bernthal.
What gigs do you have planned for the rest of 2019??
At the end of this month, Re:Call in Germany. 2 weeks later, Dreamstate in Vancouver and Luminosity in June. I also have a few other international dates booked in that haven’t been announced yet.
I don’t seem to be on the radar in the U.K. yet though. I am hoping that will change before the year is out.
Massive thanks to Matt for taking the time to speak to us. We definitely predict big things for him over the next few years!