Interview: Matt Catt.

Back in the C&A Subway days I remember someone pointing a chap out to me and saying “thats Paul’s brother”.
The Paul in question was Paw and the chap being pointed out was Matt Catt.

I never knew Matt but I knew that for years Mitch and his crew had better tapes than the crew I was part of. Now I know where they were getting the tapes from, Matt Catt.

www.mattcatt.com

 

Where do you live now Matt?

 I am currently living just outside manchester and am single parent to my 2 youngest after their mum passed away last year. It’s been a rough ride filling the fluffy mule slippers of matriarchy but i still have a passion for playing tunes and still DJ but mostly on a radio station called Green Futures Festival Radio who organise green fields at Glastonbury. My fortnightly Global Groove Show has been a regular feature there since 2011. 

www.greenfuturesfestivals.org.uk



I’ve had several regular shows in London mainly small venues and underground parties such as Small World, Magic Garden / Fox&firkin, Little Blue Ball at Passing Clouds, and more recently a nascent pre club bowling bar called Rowans in Finsbury park. They are all like the festival based global sound that I’ve developed over the years mixing uptempo  funky beats with eclectic melodies plus the recent electro swing movement meant all the vintage remix & retronica I’d collected became relevant. I personally prefer a smaller private party vibe and so have steered away from a lot of places that are reliant on expensive entry / drinks and heavy security and half the room taking selfies instead of immersing themselves in the dance. I’m keen to keep playing but parental pressure limits the kind of shows I can agree to.


…..going back to the 80’s and my time growing up in Plymouth

   I was a hyperactive child, never went to sleep before 1am even on a school night so i used to tune into radio Luxembourg on my radio, Tony Prince was doing the DMC show every Friday, i got turned onto the DJ concept of mixing through that as well as watching Malcolm McLaren’s buffalo girls video down at Rollarena on Coxside.
If you remember back then Plymouth was all about provincial Sharon and Kev pop culture with girls dancing round handbags and blokes getting pissed and starting fights to prove some kinda point.
I was going to under 18s discos at Busbies (the side venue to the now defunkt warehouse) where i met John Gee a DJ for Plymouth Sound radio and his side kick Gerry who let me work the lighting rig in there. I was 15 and had made a fake id with my mums typewriter so also started coming to the over 18s as well.
Next door in the The Two Trees pub  a young DJ called Lee Reynolds was also getting into mixing, he was southwest DMC champion that year. I was also visiting family in London and coming back with 12inch imports of hip hop and funk classics as well as radio recordings from capital radio and up and coming pirate station Kiss FM.

   I borrowed Lee’s technics decks to do school discos at Tamar High and we also had a breaking crew called Fresh Connection who used to hang at C&As since about 1983, we were dedicated but inexperienced.
On a trip to London i frequented the legendary hip hop club in Oxford St hosted by Tim Westwood, i meet some breakers there and invited them down to do a show at the academy. suffice as to say we didn’t break even and my mum spent a lot on travel and food and the boys went home without any cash for them, i was lucky they didn’t lynch me next time i went back to London.

   By then i was hooked on big city life so moved up as soon as i left school, worked in retail for a while and then quit to be a full time clubber, i wasn’t DJing yet, instead giving out flyers and being a character who could dance so i used to get in a lot of places free. A process called Ligging and DJ’s like Mark Moore at the Mud club had a big guestlist so loved having their dance floors peppered with their mates who also happened to be cool kids who like to dance rather than just pose.
Mark had an eclectic sound spanning hip hop, disco, new wave – whatever. he’s probably the next biggest influence on me after Lee and Gerry back in the ‘muff’. It was Mark who introduced me to Acid House and the shoom scene in 87/88.
By now I was a part of graf crew WorlDomination, we were instrumental in devising London’s 1st wave of train parties on the circle line, a concept that gets revived every few years but back then it was up to the risk takers to bring the noise and the same ghetto blaster we used at C&A was also used there to provide music as we played cat and mouse with the transport authority, sadly we attracted the wrong kind of attention from the hip hop community and had some un-savoury types come down to rob other passengers so we only did a few but it was enough to get noticed on the club scene.

   During this time I was going out more and more and grafting less and less so by 88 i was following the likes the likes of Colin Favor, Mr  C & Frankie Foncett who back then was working at Black Market, i was a regular at the RIP parties in Clink Street and was collecting house, techno, as well as classic electronica and psychedelia then trying to get shows.
I really liked Andy Weatherall’s alternative sound, so i soon came to the conclusion that i was more of a side room DJ than the main room headliner. It was christmas 1988 when i met up with the guy who organised the Sunrise parties Tony Colston Hayter, he gave me a slot at Sunrise 4 at Heaven on Boxing day 88 and if that wasn’t enough I had Marshal Jefferson hand me his latest demo on cassette ! banged it on mid set, I felt like i was dreaming!
I met the Genesis party crew in early 89 did a few parties with them, sadly had my records confiscated during a rave clampdown police raid, I wasn’t even there! instead a mate had borrowed my box and it all got impounded so all those originals got lost for a while, i think he got them back eventually but i never saw them again so that was the end of my first phase of DJ ing on vinyl.
I started looking at the cd format which was just surfacing. It was whilst i was working for orbital parties like sunrise, biology and genesis driving around the m25 and all that, discovered an alternative event called Whirl y gig and met a few folk who would go on to start the Megatripolis parties they introduced me to the festy scene which was very psychedelic but less dance music orientated, so 89-90 was a transition period away from clubs and into festival.

   Cornwall’s Treworgy tree fare played a part in that, i came back a hippy and full of new sounds from the likes of Ozrics Tentacles and Hawkwind so i started collecting cds of everything and anything slightly interesting, Art of noise who had influenced me in the mid 80s played a big part but also proggy stuff like Tangerine Dream in fact anything by Klaus Shultz and digi-dub courtesy of ON-U sound’s Adrian Sherwood. My partner at the time and mother of oldest daughter had sold her house and wanted to invest in something so we bought more cds and technics 1200 cd decks, started doing chillout rooms under the name of  ‘Floating Cloud’, got noticed by Dave Swindells (delirium and high on hope parties) and even got to make a demo compilation mix for virgin records which they paid for but never released….Then my house was burgled and i lost the lot – bummer

 

1990s

   So I left london moved to Glastonbury in 91 then moved to spain in 92 . I tried to revive my vinyl set by coming back to the uk and collecting vinyl from a mate at Great Assett records by then it was a lot of hardcore techno and breakbeat, in Spain they called it Bacalao (proto EDM) which was a bit hard for my liking so i never really got very far ,we came back to the uk 1994  and found myself needing somewhere to base myself. My brother P was squatting a church with an eco activist collective The Rainbow Tribe, I joined up and started providing music workshops, drumming and edited a zine for musicians network. By then Eat Static was doing parties with Club Dog and Tribal Energy was giving us a side room to do the eco festival vibe to the main room banging, it was chaos to DJ at with us mixing up didgeridoos and inviting drummers who then wouldn’t shut up or syncopate with the audio!!! Back at the Rainbow Centre, the parties were fun and i found a niche doing end of the night landing sets that started uptempo then came down to dub and chill by the end.

We also used to take rigs out to frontline campaigns and provide entertainments for the protestors, fluffy positive vibes to balance the angry mob antics of the spikies who inhabited such places.

I was always about positive activism, and saw music as a tool for uniting people and sharing the message of ‘peace, love unity and having fun’.
Towards the end of the 90s I was involved with reclaim the streets and would bring a 12volt rig to the street parties, was the first to play on Unsound rig at the M41 street party, after being arrested, de-arrested and dropped off a mile away i had to run back and jump straight on the decks. Opening my set with D-note’s Criminal Justice track (guy called Gerald remix), such a feeling to pull that one off.


I spent a few more years in this scene also developing my passion for alternative sound systems made from recycled parts and run from green energy stored in batteries, Small scale and more for demonstration of concept rather than pumping out big amounts of volume. I needed work so did a string of bike related jobs starting as a messenger then helping with London’s first rickshaw pedicab service which i saw as a good socially responsible enterprise to get behind as well as a vehicle for carrying a rig on.



I met mother of 2 youngest in hackney and settled a bit, got involved with a Megatripolis spin off event called the ‘Warp’ a 24hr theatre show with a festy rave on the side, we did alternate weeks with Id spiral who now have Inspiral Lounge Cafe in Camden.


Into the new millennium

It was when computers were getting more multimedia friendly, i wanted to explore online music culture. I discovered torrents which gave me access to millions of tracks, a few too many and some bad virus or malware types too, lots of starts and stops with that one but stumbled across bootlegs or mashups as now known I loved the whole juxtaposition of ironic pop and unexpected fusions.

I started going to the Bastard Club in london and joined all the relevant bbs forums to chat about tunes and bitch about production values….
I made a few bootlegs myself, had some pressed to vinyl and even asked out to the international bootleg events in Trier, Germany, but hit a wall with my pcs limits.



0904beatquestenders
Beatquest promo-poster, behind Sharron

I met an artist called Gene Serene and made a few tracks with her, most notably was Beatquest which had a chorus line ‘where can i get this’ we made a promo poster for it and it was put up all over town and on the set of Eastenders so for about 2 years i would see my
chorus line slapped up behind the actors and normally during dramatic moments, was surreal to see my own words posted on the tv! Street art was cool, Banksie was new so it felt good to be a part of that in some way. I
 was playing out at various haunts mainly using cd-rs of compilations i made on the pc…..

 

0408legsandco_poster
Legs and Co bootleg club.

2005-06 ran a bootleg club called Legs and Co with a another producer called Idiotech, ran for a year in trendy shoreditch and had all sorts of guest players. It was about then that I got got a macbook (first of three), learned Ableton around then too which got me noticed by former Shaman Colin Angus, we did a few tracks under the guise of Pablo Sandoz. Two

most notable were ‘pyramid’ and ‘the fleet’ he was a tough task master and never content with his compositions so finishing anything was a challenge, i still have about 10 more songs that could be finished but because his workflow involved laying down multiple parts, my laptop choked, add to that his reluctance to use a normal studio and the work remains unfinished, for now. considering STEMS as a means to reopen that can of worms but as he then withdrew from creativity, i respected his desire to cease and desist and we have lost touch.

So coming up to around 2010 and i jumped from cd-r to a dedicated media player called pacemaker – a 2 track DJ console that was palm sized, all my music copied and indexed in my hand, i was smitten, I could cycle to gigs and play in the most confined spaces. i had 2 such devices but now sadly discontinued.





2010 – 2014 were good times with plenty of festy and underground parties, lots of private house ones too, with the smoking ban i preferred to play in places where your audience weren’t slipping off for a fag!!!!

Most notable events were Small World, Secret Garden, Shambala, Glastonbury Green Fields, it’s here that I’ve developed the global sound to encompass the genres from all around the globe and down through the ages. Preferably funky rather than just plain banging and nearly always melodic and soulful with just a hint of edge.



Since moving to cheshire, the opportunities to play out have dried up a bit, when i do get asked i have to make sure i have childcare in place so it’s meant turning down stuff for now, my 2 youngest are 15 and 13 so i reckon i got at least another year before i can leave them home alone, so i will be concentrating on my radio antics to get my much needed musical fix, i just turned 46 and i do have a bucket list which includes going to Ibiza and Burning Man to play. Never say never is the motto here.


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