For those of you who don’t know, Matt Fax (aka David Ciekanski) is one of the hottest young producers in dance music right now and without question one of the best progressive house producers around. Following a string of outstanding releases on Anjunabeats, Enhanced and ZeroThree he recently got the chance to do his second guest mix for Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy radio show displaying his new found inspiration and love for producing after taking a break from the Matt Fax project for a number of months last year.
At only 19 years of age, and producing some of the most incredible sounding progressive tracks around we were delighted to get Matt locked down for an interview to get to know him a little better and see what his plans are for the future. After discovering him a number of months ago we were both thrilled and honoured to be able to interview him, and for all those reading keep an eye out for Matt’s future productions as no doubt they’ll be of immense quality. (Answers in bold)
1. To start off the interview Matt, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Your music is incredible and it’s inspiring to see artists who are willing to reach out to their fan base so we can get an insight into the human behind the artist. So firstly I’d like to ask what has been your favorite moment as a producer/DJ? There must be some incredible moments you’ve had in the studio or while performing that stick out to you but which has been your most special moment?
Thank you for scheduling this interview, I’ve followed the blog for a while now so I’m pretty honored to appear here. To be honest, I don’t really know how to answer because I ‘ve never realized the impact of my music on me, or how I’m living. When I’m doing gigs it feels like I’m stuck in a big ball and I just enjoy the moment. I don’t know what’s happening, and when I come back home I don’t remember much. It feels like I’m in a secondary mode, like Matt Fax is a spirit taking over me in those moments, so only he can answer I guess. Maybe that is the most special moment in the end ?
2. Are you doing music full time or are you still studying in school as well? At such a young age it must be tough to find the proper balance between producing and maintaining your social life and how have you dealt with having your musical life as well as your personal life?
I actually do music full time. I used to be in school until late 2013, but I decided to live my dream and concentrate on the music rather than on studying. I regret it too though because my music could stop at some point, but I’m working well for the moment. I’ve got solid support so I think I can do it for a little while. Anyway, I’m really thinking about finding a way to get some work, but that doesn’t mean I’ll leave music making. I can’t do that.
3. Has there ever been a point in time where you’ve considered quitting music? What has been your motivation to continue making music even when times may have been tough starting out or has producing always just been something you do for fun?
I made a post about quitting in 2014, in 2013 etc. But I’ve never been sure about my own choices, I keep on asking if everything I do means something. But since my comeback last year, I feel invincible. I finally believe in my music, and see a proper evolution where as I thought I was going nowhere before. That’s what keep me going. Matt Fax is really getting big and I’m happy about that. He is too, I guess. Are you Matt? Yes, he is.
4. I’ve read in a previous interview you’ve done that you dislike the idea of the big SHM style supergroups as well as the mainstream dance music that has flooded the world over the past number of yours. Many people believe this sort of music is dying out and the “EDM” bubble is about to burst. Where do you think the future of electronic music is headed and do you think the mass commercialisation of dance music has been a good or a bad thing?
I think EDM supergroups are useless because they don’t bring anything new to the scene. Most of the time it’s more about making a B2B2B2B2B DJ Set at those big festivals rather than combining their style and bringing something fresh. I respect SHM, I used to be a fan before Leave the World Behind was released, but I’m hating all those acts trying to imitate SHM and not bringing anything new. That also applies to artists who just make the same tracks as everyone else. I guess the future of electronic music is being written by actual so-called DJs/producers, and it’s very scary. Electronic music is just noise nowadays, all about making the biggest drops. That’s also why it has also been commercialized, people want music to dance to, and it’s good, but on the other hand the producers who want to create feelings or story with their music are being lost in the mass of all those fame-seekers. We need some people to kick the trend and make electronic music good again.
5. What is your aspirations for your career and is there any particular milestones that you want to achieve?
I always made music with the only goal of satisfying myself and sharing stories with the world. I don’t want to think about any milestones because thinking about them make me feel as though they’re never going to happen. The only milestone I’d like to reach is to be able to live off music I make, that’s all. I think it’s every producer’s milestone to achieve. But there’s the desire of living off of it (and paying rent for a tiny apartment, buying new synthesizers, paying for access to professional studio sessions to record instruments or simply mix and master your stuff in few days) and to do it for having money (and then buying supercars when you don’t know how to drive a 2-seat simple car properly, or buy a big house with 75 empty rooms and 7 beds in each)
6. You recently played a set at the legendary Ministry of Sound club in London a few weeks ago. How did the set go and have you got many gigs lined up for the coming summer months?
It was amazing, I was really excited about that gig as it was my UK debut and I think I couldn’t have made a better start in the country. The set went very well, I tested a lot of my upcoming tracks and the reaction was amazing. Andy Moor was on the next room and I was afraid of playing in front of an empty room, but both rooms were full and it was amazing. Some people came with their phone asking me to play some of my tracks, I never did that. I’d have loved to play every one of their request but, well, I hope they had a great time anyway, because I did. A notable mention is that I defeated my fear of flying by going to the UK, so I’m ready to travel the world now.
7. As seen by your recent ABGT guest mix your music is insanely atmospheric and looking through your tracklists from previous mixes there is a massive blend of genres and styles which show you’re clearly an amazing tastemaker, but I’d like to find out what is your personal favorite type of electronic music to listen to?
Lately I’ve been into a lot of IDM, and I’ve also came back to 90/00s Trance as well, but in the end I think I love every kind of electronic music. I think an artist should have multiple inspirations from various styles so he can build his/her identity, it’s like cooking. You take a bit of this, a bit of that, put them in a pot and see what happens. That’s why I have so many different kinds of tracks in my discography, I always hear new stuff and styles that inspire me. I don’t want to stay in my comfort zone, I always want to step out of the box and experiment or just make my style evolve. The ABGT guest mix was an attempt of bringing people to a new world, which reflects how Matt Fax is going to sound in the coming months I guess.
8. I can distinctly remember the first time my brother showed me a few Daft Punk tracks when I was around 11 and when I discovered deadmau5 at age 14 for me it was like a watershed moment and from then on I knew that electronic music would play a huge role in my life and it still does today, did you have a watershed moment such as this when you were younger that made you realize music would be a big part of your life?
For music in general, the passion came from my parents I guess. I remember they made me listen to a lot of music, my father was really into Rock (Queen, Scorpion, AC/DC), while my mother was into French singers, and I definitely loved what I was hearing on both sides. I was maybe 2 or 3 years old, but music became very important then. Each week when going to the supermarket, I was buying CDs, and I discovered a lot of different styles and artists.
9. What was it about electronic music that attracted you to it so much and why in particular did you decide to produce progressive house as opposed to trance, techno or even ambient music?
It first came by buying compilations, and also a bit because of my brother who was listening to Hardcore kind of stuff. It was weird, but I liked it. I believe I still have some of those CDs with Hardcore DJ Sets. In 2006, I discovered Tiësto from a friend, and I’ve been a massive fan until his change to EDM. I checked his tracklists and discovered again a huge number of artists. I also discovered Joachim Garraud in 2009, and it opened me even more to the electronic music world, and also introduced me to production, whereas Tiësto introduced me to DJing.
10. In terms of production you’ve been making music with Ableton since you were around 12 or 13 and I see that everything you know was self taught as you didn’t know English that well when you were younger, how did you go about teaching yourself everything and did you have any previous musical knowledge prior to opening Ableton?
I remember the first time I opened Ableton, I didn’t know how it worked. So what I did is try every thing, every button, every synth/fx/plug/whatever there was just to see what happened. That way I started making my own tracks, without any musical knowledge. Funnyily enough I’ve only known what a compressor does for about a year. I’m still discovering new things everyday. I guess you’re forever learning when you make music.
11. What sort of advice would you give to producers just starting out and is there anything you wish you knew when you started that you know now?
I’ll say the same as in my other interviews – do it for a good reason, have fun, don’t follow the trends, be creative, don’t expect to be a millionaire yet, and work hard. There’s no simple way to do music, it’s always about hard work and believing in yourself. And above all – remember that even your favorite artist been down the same road as you, use it as motivation.
12. Where does Matt Fax go from here? You’ve now had a few releases on Anjuna, Enhanced and ZeroThree and is there any plans for an upcoming EP or even an album?
I keep on thinking about the next step, what I can do, where I can go, I don’t want to stay in the same position. I think the next step would be an album for sure now. It’s a project I’ve wanted to develop for 4 years now, but I’ve never been sure of how it should sound. Each time the album goes back to zero and I give up a few weeks later to concentrate on EPs instead. But since last year I’ve been working on so many tracks which sound like album stuff to me, so I’m keeping faith that an album will happen soon. I don’t want to do an album with tracks I could put on an EP, this wouldn’t make sense. I’ve already got a couple of tracks lined up and I know the direction of the album, I just need to keep working hard.
Next month will be the 4th anniversary of Matt Fax, and I’ll be releasing a couple of tracks on Colorize / Enhanced to mark the occasion. As well as this, I got asked by two great Trance artists (who support my tracks frequently on their radio show) to remix their stuff, it’s very encouraging and honoring to be able to put your own touch on a track from someone you used to admire when you were a kid. There’s also some remixes for groups, and maybe a bit of co-production for those groups in the air as well. I want to try new things that I haven’t tried yet.
The other thing about the future of Matt Fax is about social media. I’m fed up of it, I personally think they kill creativity and life in general. Nowadays as an artist you gotta put 8679 photos of yourself doing random things unrelated to your music with 696 emojis and that many hashtags to get likes. Music doesn’t bring much interest. People then buys fake fans/likes and claim they’re the next big thing when nobody buys their tracks. That’s why I just want to concentrate on music and stop killing my precious time with this stuff. But I can’t be too harsh as social media networks are also a vital element of an artist so they can do their promotion and stuff. I just think it’s not being used as it should be. I haven’t really posted anywhere since the ABGT guest mix, my management have been taking care of everything since then.
You know, Matt Fax is the complete opposite of the actual EDM scene, and I’m seriously proud of that. I think every artist should be unique on their own, and this is what I want to show to everyone. I often thought I wasn’t in the right place, I was too honest and too loyal for this style. I’m in my own league now.
13. To close out the interview, what album and song is your favourite of all time? Your music brings great joy to thousands of people worldwide and we’d like to know which tracks bring you unlimited happiness time and time again.
I got a favorite album, which is ‘Amnesiac’ by Radiohead. I love everything about it, the sound, the mix, the mastering, the cover art. As for a favorite song, it changes every month, if not every week. On the stereo lately it’s been all about Rank 1’s remix of Cygnus X’s ‘Superstring’. Old school Trance, very old, but I still love it today. One of the tracks that made me made to make music.
So the future is bright for this young French mastermind, to close we’ll leave you with some of Matt’s best works and we can’t wait to hear what else he’s got in store for us.