5th Day Residents Revealed: Matt Hayes
For part two of our ‘Residents Revealed’ feature (2/3) we bring you Matt Hayes, someone who brings beautifully infectious feeling to anything he touches, his exquisite journeys through the realms of techno included.
Matt’s personal journey with music to date has been one that we’ve followed with much happiness and intrigue and what he delivers via his sets at 5th Day events is always a powerful and emotive experience, no matter what time or in which room he plays.
Enjoy the following honest and heartfelt insight into some of the motivations, inspirations and moments that have made Matt into the person and DJ that he is today.
You can support Matt here:
Firstly, can you remember a moment or time in your life when you decided to step things up with music and DJ’ing? What were your motivations? Do you remember what were you thinking and/or feeling?
I’ll talk about three which were pretty definitive:
I was getting bored with critiquing the music everywhere I went. My stock phrase had become “Yeah, but it’s not really techno”. So I realised I needed to put my money where my mouth was and show people my idea of techno. Retrospectively, this long stage was key because it was about asserting the intention and gauging people’s responses to that.
I got to grips with Traktor in order to play for friends at a party Christopher and I hosted in the mountains north of Cape Town. I played all the way through the most beautiful night imaginable with the Milky Way swirling overhead… Somewhere in that experience it clicked that I was sharing something significant and it created a very special bond with the people that were there. I wanted to create more of that.
The actual step up was a very specific moment. I’d dragged friends to The Steelyard to see Rodhad and Alex Do. It was a fun night but my feeling all the way through it was that I just wanted to be playing myself. As we rode home in an Uber I made the official statement: ‘I am going to do this. Seriously, I’m going to learn to DJ properly and I’m going to play in a proper London club”.
The following were the steps down to Mantas’s studio…
Do you believe DJ’ing is an art form? If yes, what makes it so, in your view?
Art is the effort of encapsulating and sharing the way we experience the world. I totally connect with the emotional subtext of DJs I admire and I know that all the On The 5th Day team share a wish to communicate something of themselves when playing. I frequently have moments in a mix when I feel an overwhelming rush of emotion because something in the transition is so exactly and sublimely what I feel/ want to communicate. And the brilliant thing is that doesn’t need explanation or even much reflection. It’s an ephemeral fragment of art, maybe only perceptible to me, but I trust there are moments that other people are affected by too. Wanting to affect people like that makes DJing an art form. So I think yeah. 200%.
What is techno to/for you?
Let’s get really philosophical… I think, in life, each of us sets our carriage onto the parallel rail tracks of hope and fear and we mostly keep locked on them; whilst swirling around us are influences and ideas that we’re hurtling past and miss . I think techno encapsulates the truth of this AND offers a resolution. That duhh, duhh, duhh, duhh of a 4/4 beat is subconsciously very reassuring. It allows us to feel steady on those rails and open ourselves up to the influences beyond. And I see people experiencing this on the dance floor all the time. So I’d say that techno is a vehicle for opening ourselves up. I truly think grasping this is one of life’s gifts and I feel an elevated kinship with people that have this experience and understanding.
Which artist(s) in your view capture the heart and soul of On the 5th Day, and why?
The way Abdulla Rashim locked down his dance floor in the most subtle and restrained way totally blew me away. Twice. You don’t have to do too much to make people feel connected. He’s the master of tapping into that reassuring 4/4 structure I mentioned above. I was also captivated by the way Shifted created a dense tide of sound which he kept pushing towards the dance floor. It was a continuous morph of sound rather than the interweaving of tracks. Both artists took an elevated command of the space. They made me think about the shape and feel of sound which I’d say is a key factor that goes into the planning of the On the 5th Day experience. It’s not just about the style and calibre of artists but an overall emotional shape that’s laid out.
Having seen Antigone at Berghain in April I’m excited to see him play more intimately at Corsica Studios in November for On the 5th Day. His Berghain set was unequivocally art form. He created an epic plain of sound which flooded the turbine hall with constant, uplifting energy. It was a total joy to experience and very life affirming, which also goes to the heart and soul of what On The 5th Day delivers.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind a particular set you’ve delivered?
So my warm up in the main room for the March party was special. I definitely found my groove playing that set. It was thrilling how it unfurled across the different types of techno I’d pulled together. I wanted it to have a strong narrative feel. I talk a lot about the anthropological aspect of techno by which I mean there’s a quality to its rhythms (that opening up thing I talked about above) that humanity has always reached for so I endeavoured to weave-in allusions to this. I also find techno is one of the best vehicles for capturing the shimmering qualities of flora and fauna and I love finding ways to wrap these motifs into my sets. There are peafowl scampering all the through this one… In my head anyway!
Top 3 tracks of all time? Sorry, couldn’t resist.
To deal with this I’ve had to give myself 3 categories (click on each title to check them out):
The track that made things click:
Traversable Wormhole - Universal Time: Techno is very subjective. Personal is probably more accurate. And my notion of Techno clicked with this track and it made me want to DJ and make tracks. It represents the combination of elements that define the sound I try to cultivate: structure, depth, space (minimal), something a little sinister lurking and definitely sexy. I love to play it.
The track that never fails to make me go whoa!
Dino Sabatini - Modulation: This track blows me away every single time I hear it. The sense of suspension is breathtaking. It makes me feel like an astronaut dangling in space. Then this spine dissolving drop splices through…. And propels every atom in my body into another galaxy. You could just say I think it’s f*cking cosmic.
Errr, the funeral track
Len Faki - Kraft und Licht: I described this to Lenny (half of Gertie) as an iceberg dying because it creaks and groans with exquisite finality. It’s epically sad to the point of ecstasy. It captures the feeling of longing, which every single human being that’s ever existed has experienced, so I find something incredibly universal about it. Naturally it’s the track I want to have played at my funeral. Everyone will fall into a heap of devastation… I just hope I get to see that from somewhere.
Tell us about one of your all time top raving experiences to date? When, where, who… we want details! What made it so special?
More Cape Town inspiration. This would have to be the party I go to every year that’s a couple of hours outside the city. I don’t arrive anywhere else in such a state of excitement. It begins to ripple on the drive to Heathrow in the dark wet of February and breaks the surface 15 hours later on the track that leads to the party; behind a cavalcade of vehicles billowing hot dust into an intensely blue sky.
The location is a spectacular, in a beautiful valley by a river where everyone cools off through the day and night. The heat is searing and I’m always struck by an incredible sense of freedom and fun. I love how different the rhythm of the party is to what we’re used to. People retreat at what is peak time in a London sense - 2am to 5am - and come out as the sun is rising at 5:00am for the best period on the dance floor.
The party is Origin. Technically it’s a trance party but it has evolved a strong appreciation for techno. It’s the playground where I’ve jumped though some pretty crazy hoops under the secure watch of beloved friends. I leave every time feeling like I’ve consumed a year’s worth of life and grown a little too. It’s been a big reason why I’ve wanted to DJ.
What else are you getting up to when you’re not preparing for sets, podcasts or DJ’ing?
Have you heard about the house we’re renovating?!! A long slog but it’s nearly done and will soon be ready for chill-down sessions after On The 5th Day outings. Catch me for a stamp at the next party :))
Matt will make a not to be missed reappearance at our November event: https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1010134