Matoma Never Disappoints
Experience by: Kagan Richardson
Matoma never disappoints and neither does The Fonda. Last Friday, Norway-native Tom Lagergren, aka Matoma, embarked on his One in a Million Tour and made a stop at the legendary Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. In addition to popular American metropolitan spots, such as New York City, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, Matoma will take the stage in Hungary and Norway, as well. Matoma has been killing it ever since he came onto the scene with his unique remixes, starting with Big Poppa by Notorious B.I.G. in 2014. He went on to release his Hakuna Matoma EP in 2015, along with countless singles and releases over the years. He was even featured on Jason Derulo’s Try Me with Jennifer Lopez in 2015.
This tour, however, was to promote his first full-length album, One in a Million, which is set to release on March 9. Matoma is rumored to have many features joining him on the album, and the first single is proof of that. Slow was released on November 17, the same day tickets for the tour went on sale, and features Noah Cyrus - little sister to Miley Cyrus. In an interview with Billboard, Matoma said he was looking to do something different and with Noah on Slow, it felt right. He heard her first single, Make Me Cry, and loved it so much that he knew he had to get her on a track. Noah is also set to release her debut album in 2018, and she recently released We Are F**ked with MØ.
Matoma hinted at some other awesome collaborations with his tour schedule as he brought many other great artists along with him. Two Friends, Elephante, Naations, Youngr, MAX, Robotaki, and BKAYE all joined on different legs of the tour. Youngr took the opening duties on Friday night with MAX joining Matoma on stage to play their new song together. The talent didn’t stop there as Noah Cyrus and Yashua made surprise appearances to showcase their collaborations.
Matoma himself absolutely killed it all the way through his hour and a half set. He masterfully mixed his originals and remixes while showcasing his vast musical taste by throwing in Yeah 3X by Chris Brown, Still D.R.E. by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, the Candyland remix of Axwell & Ingrosso’s More Than You Know, and Rumors by The Kemist, just to name a few. He kept us guessing all night long.
It was my third time seeing Matoma and the first two times he only DJ’d. This time he brought along a Nord Stage 3 with his normal DJ setup. He fused live elements into his set especially when he had company on stage, showing that he is not just a DJ.
If Friday night is any indication, One in a Million is set to be one of the best albums so far this year. My only complaint of the night was that it ended at 1am, not 2am and we wanted more!
Until next time. Keep your antlers up.
NEON INDIAN & FRIENDS TAKE OVER EXCHANGE LA W/ MDA DJs
EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON
Live performances verse DJ sets are both amazing to experience, but in different ways. Seeing a musician or band express themselves through different mediums is like seeing the legendary Hugh Jackman star in a movie and then catching him on stage for a musical in a theatre. Neon Indian, likewise, a master of their craft for indie dance music, was a performance that I could not miss and being a DJ (and music lover), myself, I was excited to see what was in store for their DJ set at Exchange LA.
If you haven't been to Exchange LA or don't know what it is, here's a little background. The building began construction in 1929, just a few days before the stock market crash. It's prime location is on Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles. In 1931, it opened as the Los Angeles Stock Exchange, 35 years later it became the Pacific Stock Exchange, and in 1986 the facility made a final move from the location.
That's right, the dance floor was once used for trading stocks, but now trades memories of legendary performances. The halls that once echoed of shouting numbers and figures, now chants songs and melodies, with thousands of guests dancing to the same rhythm in unison. If you stand in the middle of the dance floor, facing the main stage and look directly up and to the right, you can see where the clock used to be for the trading floor.
In more current history, PAX America purchased the building in 2006 and opened doors for a new dance club, Exchange LA in 2010. However, in 2013 PAX filed for bankruptcy, which paved the way for Insomniac to take over and establish the venue that we know and love today.
In my opinion, Exchange LA is one of the best clubs in the city. Insomniac truly does an amazing job with the production. When you ascend the large marble staircase to the main stage on the second floor, it feels as though you have been teleported to a midnight set at the Neon Garden stage at EDC Las Vegas, also run by Insomniac.
The lights and lasers are always on point, and the Funktion One sound system is a force to be reckoned with. Seeing Neon Indian at such a quality venue with great support from Holy Ghost!, Gigamesh, Rambo and not to mention MDA DJs, was certainly a treat.
In the heart of Downtown, you get a true taste of life in Los Angeles, as you walk toward the venue. You can feel the bass as soon as you step onto the sidewalk surrounding Exchange LA. Immediately after walking through the door, you can spot The Gallery, a spacious side room on the first floor that typically houses lineups curated from partners. This night MDA had the pleasure of curating a stacked lineup, which included DJ Instagator, Rachel and Rozco.
On the main stage, Rambo started by perfectly building up the tasty disco beats in preparation for Holy Ghost!, who took over around 11:30 p.m. The synth-pop duo from NYC held down their set for about an hour and a half before Neon Indian took the staged, which was accompanied by a roar from the crowd.
Alex Polomo, the frontman for the four piece band, Neon Indian, was a solo act during this DJ set. They were named one of the best new bands in 2010 by Rolling Stone and have three albums to their name, so far. Polish Girl, off of their second album, Era Extrana, released in 2012, is the song that got me hooked. If you haven't listened to it, I highly recommend it.
Even though the rest of the band wasn't there, the unique style of Neon Indian was shown throughout the set. The chill-wave and synth-pop sound with groovy basslines drove the dance floor to a fervor.
When the clock struck 2 a.m., I wasn't sure if I could keep going after dancing nonstop for hours, but multi-platinum selling Gigamesh had different plans for me. Best known for producing Cooler Than Me by Mike Posner and for his remix of Foster The People's Pumped Up Kicks, he took over at 2 a.m. and carried the crowd masterfully with chill, groovy vibes until Exchange LA shut doors at 4 a.m.
Insomniac spoiled us with such an amazing lineup all in one night. I left the club feeling like I had just finished the world's craziest leg day at the gym. I want to say no more dancing for a few days... but you'll probably find me on the dance floor soon anyway.
Until next time. Keep those antlers up.
Catch STEVE BUG at Sound Nightclub
on January 5!
Enter for a chance to win two tickets below:
Interview With Le Youth
EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON
On December 15, we hosted our annual Holiday Party at The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa, Calif. featuring a lineup of MDA residents including Rozco, Mogli, and Torosbros, as well as Los Angeles-based DJ, Le Youth to cap it off with a two hour set. This marked the third time having Le Youth, aka Wes James on the decks at an MDA event. You could say that he is a master when it comes to the disco and RnB infused sounds that ambassadors are known to love, so it was great to have him back.
I walked into The Wayfarer on Friday night to catch Rozco (Bryan Orozco), who was the perfect pick to start the night with his groovy house vibes. He handed it over masterfully at 10 pm to Mogli (Eli Rivera) to carry on the good vibes. He played one of my personal favorite tunes at the moment, Love Stream by Mat.Joe, and some funky tracks like Hello Clouds by Justin Martin to build the energy that he received from Rozco. Once the clock struck 11, it was Torosbros', turn to take over. To be honest I wasn’t sure where Torosbros was going to take us when he dropped Love is Strange by Mickey & Sylvia. The change of pace flipped the place on its head, but in the background of the track he was slowly mixing in the Zac Samuel remix of Say Something by Karen Harding. Once the beat dropped, he had the entire place in the palm of his hand. It stayed this way throughout his set as Torosbros delighted us with tracks such as Show Me by Zinc and the Kaytranada remix of Lady by Modjo.
As many of us expected, Le Youth’s unique style kept the party going strong for the rest of the night and the vibe was awesome. Before he went on stage, however, I sat down with Wes to talk about Le Youth and what we might see from him in 2018.
Kagan: What is the inspiration behind your name?
Wes: It’s not really a good story. It started as Youth and then I realized other people were already named that so I just kinda added a little bit of mystery with Le Youth. Its worked and served its purpose.
Kagan: Was there any reasoning behind Youth?
Wes: Yeah just kinda my fascination with youthfulness, existentialism, and youthful things.
Kagan: How old were you when you first started?
Wes: I’ve been making music my whole life but I started Le Youth about four years.
Kagan: When you produced COOL and first posted it on Soundcloud, how did you feel about the response it received?
Wes: It was cool, it was a very exciting time in my life. It kinda blew up really fast and it was just a perfect timing kind of thing it felt like. It was pretty magical.
Kagan: Did you expect that?
Wes: It was completely unexpected. I was living in a one bedroom apartment in Hollywood kind of like figuring out what I was gonna do with my life. Then I made this track and everything changed overnight.
Kagan: If someone took a peek into your DJ bag, what would they find? Anything out of the ordinary?
Wes: Probably some hair product. That’s the only time I’ll ever say that. An iPhone charger which is not out of the ordinary, and my headphones.
Kagan: Is there anywhere in the world you would like to play in 2018?
Wes: Yeah I want to play Berlin. I’ve never been and its meant to be pretty wild. I think my style of music doesn’t really fit in very well, but I think the way I party fits in well there.
Kagan: Is there any specific producer or singer/songwriter that you hope to work with in 2018?
Wes: There’s just so many amazing writers right now. To be alive in this time of music is pretty cool. There’s more songwriters now than there ever were and better songs being written every day. I could literally list a dozen writers I would want to work with. As far as contemporary artists that are in my sort of world I would love to work with the Disclosure and the Duke Dumont kind of guys. I’ve done remixes for them and played shows with them, just never gotten into the studio with them.
Kagan: You’ve been touring a lot in 2017, but what can we expect from Le Youth in 2018?
Wes: Probably more releases than I’ve done in the past in one year. I’ve said that before so we’ll see if that actually works out. I would like to have new music coming out at a more consistent rate. I travel a lot and I play a lot of shows, but it’s just the weekends. I’m usually back in the studio during the week with plenty of time. I can also do a bit when I’m on the road in hotels and such.
Kagan: What is your favorite piece of software or hardware you use for production?
Wes: I love the Juno-106, that’s my favorite piece of hardware. It’s pretty standard as far as analog synths go. I invested a lot of money into my laptop. I have this laptop that cost more money than it should have but it’s worth it. I mean I could make music with a drumstick and a phone recorder, you can do anything so to have these tools at my disposal is pretty awesome. I would say though the majority of my studio gear is in the box, its in my laptop. I’ve also been messing with the Korg Mono/poly lately. It’s one of my new favorites. Roland started making this boutique series, they’ve made kind of these miniature versions of all these synths from years past. I have one called the SE-02 which is pretty cool. They’re fun man, people kind of talk shit but they’re fun.
Kagan: Last question, you’ve been known to sample other songs in your own productions, such as Cassie’s Me & You in COOL and TLC’s No Scrub in Dance With Me. Can you give us some insight into your process when it comes to finding these samples for your own productions?
Wes: Yeah so for me its downloading as many acapellas as I possibly can whether that’s from a torrent or from people who had acapellas from back in the day when they did the remix. It’s about finding the acapellas and just trying to see what works with what. I would be lying if I said I set out to make COOL or if I set out to make Dance With Me. I didn’t, I literally just tried things and tried things and tried things until I found something I liked. In fact, COOL was actually thrown in the trash bin for like three months and a friend of mine was like hey you should put that song out I kinda liked that one. I was calling it something different at the time but that song would have never come out had someone not even told me to do it. I make so much music and I’m always working on so many different things that sometimes certain songs get past you without realizing the value in it. What’s even funnier is that Dance With Me, I’ve actually never talked about this, was written before COOL. I kinda had some reservations about putting out Dance With Me after COOL because I felt I had grown a little bit after Dance With Me and putting out COOL. That’s how it all played out.
Kagan: Since you had Dance With Me in your project files for a while, did it evolve over time or was it pretty much all put together?
Wes: So when I signed with Sony after COOL, I sent them some of the other songs I had been working on. I sent them Dance With Me and they were like “yo we should put this out next” and I was like “no no it’s not done not done” and they were like “no it’s great”. Then they put it out and it did really well, it hit number 8 in the UK. Pretty wild.
Kagan: Well Dance With Me is definitely one of my favorites. You’ve got just a few minutes before you go on so thanks for your time and I look forward to your set!
All in all, the evening was a night to remember. Can't wait for big things to come in 2018! Stay tuned Ambassadors and keep those antlers up.
EXPERIENCE BY KAGAN RICHARDSON
On December 15, I had the honor of attending the Nora En Pure and Lee Foss show at the legendary Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. Personally, I Had only ever been to The Fonda to see rock bands, so I was very excited to see what a show with DJs would be like. The Fonda Theatre first opened in 1926 as the Carter DeHaven Music Box and has hosted many plays, movies, and musicians from The Rolling Stones to Justice. Over the years, it has seen periods of closure and many changes of ownership and name before settling on The Fonda Theatre by Goldenvoice in 2012. The name is in honor of stage and film actor, Henry Fonda. In 2015, LA Weekly named The Fonda the top music venue in Los Angeles, and Friday night's show proved that the title was well earned.
Right when I walked through the doors into the lobby on Friday, it was obvious that the venue was perfect for the music that was waiting for us just inside the inner doors. You feel like you've traveled back in time to a Roaring Twenties era theater with the combination of mood lighting and decor. The older style of the venue and the sounds of today with Nora En Pure and Lee Foss was truly a beautiful combination showing that opposites do attract.
We arrived in time to catch the last half of the opening DJ's set who built up the energy perfectly before handing the decks over to Lee Foss. Chicago native, Lee Foss dove into electronic music after befriending Jamie Jones in Ibiza in the early 2000s. Their friendship and later partnership with Richy Ahmed gave birth to their label, Hot Creations, as well as their band, Hot Natured, with Infinity Ink. Knowing how well respected Lee Foss is in the house music community and his work with his label, I was very excited to see him perform DJ set. He showed the crowd his musical taste by playing tracks such as Hiding by Icarus and Darius Syrossian remix of Claptone's The Music Got Me. He also showcased his original productions from his Electricity EP with MK and his own album, Alchemy. The place went off when he played Drifting, which is one of my personal favorite tunes by Lee Foss. After an hour and a half set of pure good times, Nora En Pure took over.
Nora En Pure first burst into the scene with Come With Me in 2013 and has consistently released quality tunes such as Saltwater and her remix of Jubel by Klingade. Her Conquer Yosemite EP was released earlier in 2017 and showcase her skills as a producer, as well as her love for piano. If you haven't had a listen yet, I highly recommend it. Nora En Pure's groovy house sounds paired perfectly with the vibes Lee Foss set, combined to be a night that not just house music lovers would enjoy, but lovers of music in general. She showcased many of her original productions, but I think the set reached a climax when she played True. The bassline is so groovy and showed the quality of The Fonda's sounds system which is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Friday night was my first time seeing Nora En Pure play, and I don't think it will be the last.
Overall, the show was expertly curated by Goldenvoice and was help in an amazing historic venue. Lee Foss and Nora En Pure proved why they are considered such masters of their craft during their respective sets. If you get a chance to check out a set from either of them, don't miss it. I will definitely be looking into more shows at The Fonda.
Until next time Ambassadors, keep those antlers up.