A lot has changed in the dance music industry, and the world in general, since Norwegian producer/DJ Matoma last released an album. Back then Matoma was riding a wave of pop-adjacent tropical house music. Now, Matoma returns to his club roots with Love for the Beat.
We got the chance to have a friendly chat with Matoma about his new album, staying relevant in the ever changing dance music industry, and his upcoming new book! Check out our interview below.
Thanks for chatting with us Tom. Tell us how you first got into music and how’d you originally break into the dance music industry?
“Getting into music, I started very early. I started playing the piano when I was seven years old and around nine I really wanted to become a classical pianist, but then at the age of 16, I think I had practiced a bit too much. I felt a lot of pressure on myself, so I said to my family, I said to my dad and my mom, I really want to take a break from the piano and maybe do other things.
And my Dad, he really felt sincere, he was eager to let me know I shouldn’t put music on the shelf, maybe I should do something else with music. So, he showed me a documentary about Stargate, two Norwegian dudes that moved to New York to pursue their producing dream.
And they have produced with Beyonce, Rhianna, all the big names. So, he showed me a documentary about these two guys, and I immediately wanted to start producing music, and that was when I was 16 years old. And since then I’ve been making music. But the whole EDM, and more like electronic music scene, maybe when I was 23.”
Congratulations on Love for the Beat. It’s a great album, and also a great album title. Tell us how your music and production style has changed since your last album in 2018. How do you adapt to the constantly changing tastes in dance music while maintaining a signature sound?
“I think as an artist it’s very important to have a sense of grounded-ness to yourself, to your soul, make music that pleases yourself, but also, evolve as an artist; over the years if I make one song, I made it, I need to make something new, fresh. And, for me, after ‘One in a Million’ I really felt eager to make more of the music that I grew up with. The more danceable, more trancey, more progressive sound.
And ‘Sodium Sky’ came from that, ‘Bittersweet’, ‘Break My Own Heart’, all of these records were molded from my cabin, looking at the Northern Lights. Being inspired by nature and being inspired by Norwegian folk music and melodies. I’ve really tried to implement those elements into my dance songs and really show people my culture, the music I grew up with.
Blend it into today’s sound pushed with a new type of mix and I really felt it was the right moment for me to express myself. But, this year, I’m so pumped, I’m so ready to take the dance floor and I actually played a couple of new records here tonight and they really popped off.”
Fresh off the heels of a full album, what new music can fans expect from you in 2024?
“I think regarding the music for 2024, 2023 for me was a very experimental year, I went a bit darker, in myself, I had to get a lot of these feelings out. This year, it’s all about reconnecting with the good vibes. Giving people the Ibiza-summer vibe. And, again a couple of the songs I teased here tonight, was kind of that vibe. So, I’m really excited and pumped about this year. I’m not saying I’m going to make the best dance album of 2024, but I’m sure going to try and do it.”
How’s the tour been so far in support of the album? When was the last time you were here in Los Angeles? Any favorite restaurants you have to visit when you’re here?
“The mini-tour has been amazing, we’ve done New York, we did Chicago, we’ve done San Francicso, it’s actually been eight months since the last time I was here. And the vibe was the same, it was so good, I don’t know what it is with LA crowds, but they are just so amazing, just something about the vibe here.
When I’m here in LA I really like to eat Mexican, I love Japanese, Ramen and Sushi, I really do love Mediterranean, I think LA has some of the best Mediterranean food, like Shish kebab, shawarma, I love the shawarma.“
I always like to ask artists I interview if they have any book, streaming or podcast recommendations?
“So, I’m actually going to release a book. In a month, March 1st, and it’s called ‘Never Good Enough’, so being a touring artist, for 10 years now, I’ve learned from a lot of different experiences on the road. I’ve met so many different people, experienced stories, inspirational stories, but things that make you really, really appreciate life. And, I think the youth right now, they need guidance. They’re so focused on what’s ahead and what’s behind, but they don’t live in the now, and I think it’s so important for them to get focused on being present, listening to their heart, listening to themselves, not listening to all of the noise.
So, I’m actually writing a book which is 10 different stories about my life, in life-changing moments for me, crossroads where I’ve had to make big decisions, based on my spirit, my soul. And, I want to share that, I hope that it can resonate with the younger generation today and give them some inspiration to believe in themselves, to trust their own inner-spirit and to look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m good enough.’“
Who are some artists you’d like to collab with in the future?
“I would never say no to a Chris Martin collaboration, that would be sick. Or, Will Smith, take it back to Miami.”
Tell the fans out there who didn’t make it what they missed tonight?
“You missed out on a party filled with good vibes, all about spreading the love. What you can expect from me coming up it’s all about the good vibes, bringing back those good sing along records where you can sing, have a good moment, just chill and relax. Matoma out.”
Check out Matoma’s latest studio album Love for the Beat, out now on Matoma’s label of the same name. Matoma still has a few more North American dates on the Love for the Beat tour as well.
Feb 21 – F Cancer FSU – Tallahassee, FL
Feb 23 – TAO Chicago – Chicago, IL
Feb 24 – Harrah’s – Atlantic City, NJ