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Saturday 19th, April 2008
Matt Hardwick Interview

We chat to one of the DJing stalwarts of the trance scene, Matt Hardwick about among other things his massive vocal anthem on Anjunabeats 'Fallen Tides', Gatecrasher, David Beckham and his pretty impressive football career, cut short all in the good name of dance music. Read on!

Hi Matt, how goes things and where do we find you at this present moment?

I am just at home relaxing but I’m about to leave the house to go and meet John Askew.

Cool! You’ve just come back from a tour of Asia, how was that?

It was amazing. I played the official Formula 1 Party in Malaysia then I went to spend a few days in Bali and also played an event there. I then travelled up to Indonesia and played in Jakarta and Bandung. All of the gigs were amazing.

You’ve got a packed gig diary that is going to take in some far flung locations. Do you like touring and what are the best and the worst things about it?

I love to play to different crowds and I also feel lucky to have the opportunity to visit and play in some amazing locations. The down side is the lack of sleep. I also get really bored on the long flights.

Where is your favourite place to DJ?

I love New York. I used to have a residency at the Limelight and that was great.

I guess we should talk about is the success of your new single, ‘Fallen Tides’. What was it like working on a vocal track, working with Mark Pledger, and then getting it signed to one of the biggest trance labels in the world? You must be pleased with the way it has gone down?

I think that my production profile is not as prolific as most other DJs. My reputation has been build on my DJing alone and I’m proud that I have been able to get to where I am today on that basis. That being said, when I am in the studio, I need to make sure that the track has maximum impact. I think that a vocal is the best way to do it but am conscious that it has to be done properly. With this comes a lot of pressure but I am really pleased with the outcome.

You’ve worked with the Smith & Pledger guys a couple of times in the past on ‘Day One’ and ‘Connected’. What are they like to work with in the studio and have you learnt a lot from them?

They are really nice guys and we get along really well. I think that you have to if the end product is to be any good. They are both great producers and technically they have brought a lot to the projects but I suppose that have brought the DJs perspective to the table which has helped to provide a club feel to the tracks. What Ollie did with the vocal on Connected was special.

Possibly my favourite track by you is ‘Resistance’ – it is such a unique tune. What are your feelings about that record?

Yes, it’s a deep and dark offering. I created that track about six years ago and it was my first production so it is a track I will always regard fondly.

I’ve heard you have been quite busy in the studio – what more have we got to look forward to from you after ‘Fallen Tides’?

I have just completed my first solo single and it’s sounding amazing. I am planning to release it on my own imprint so I am busy sorting out all aspects of the label out at the moment. My aim to complete three singles by the end of the year.

You have always been more of a DJ than a producer – will DJing always be your first passion?

Of course. Production is key ingredient to the success of any DJ breaking through these days but, despite me focussing on production this year, I will always be a DJ first.

You have been resident for one of the world’s biggest dance institutions Gatecrasher for over a decade now what have been your highlights playing for them?

If I am honest, I think that the highlights of my career have been away from Crasher. I left there in 2004 and have since gone on to develop the following and reputation I have today on a global scale. As such, headlining events such as Castle Dance in St Petersburg and Laserpoint in Helsinki last year have got to be up there.

How did you feel when the club’s legendary home Gatecrasher One burnt down in June last year?

It was sad but I played the best gigs that will ever take place there but could not ever get any better, so we would have just ended up chasing the unattainable. Times change and things move on. I hope they rebuild it, the opening party would be one not to miss. I have a video of my playing on the last Crasher night that was held there, the club looked awesome and I will always have fond memories of the place.

You have always stuck with trance throughout your career, what do you think about the current state of trance music and the trance scene?

Well, actually my background is grounded in house music. As a young resident at Gatecrasher, I would play deep house in my warm up sets. In terms of the trance scene, I think that we are seeing a bit of an evolution. More house influences can be seen and the tempo seems to be dropping. That is the beauty of trance, it constantly evolves and that is why we are still going so strong after all this time.

You have made the music for the David Beckham Motorola ad – how did that come about and how difficult was it making music for an advert rather than the dance floor?

I was basically presented with a vocal from a band called Gulf. I had 12 hours to produce it and was mindful that it had to have a degree of commercial appeal. Luckily, the vocal provided this so I could basically do what I wanted with the backing track. It’s quite housey and the tempo is about 130 BPM. I am really please with the track and it was a fun project. I received an email to say that David Beckham liked it. I don’t know whether that is a good thing though?

Have you had the chance to meet the legendary/over-the-hill (delete as applicable) footballer?

I trained on a daily basis as a pro (with Sheffield Wednesday) with the likes of Chris Waddle. Paul Gasgcoine came and trained with us one day which was fun. I played against all of the current big names such as David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen. I suppose I have met them all.

Seeing the money that they are on do you regret not following that path and why did you decide to become a DJ?

Money would never influence my life choices. If you chase money, invariably, you will not find success. Success comes from a love of what you do. I didn't make the cut as a Premier League player but still achieved a lot. I attained 10 England Under-19 caps (as captain) and played once in the Premier League at the age of 19. I have always loved music and basically this love developed organically. From messing around on a pair of decks at my mate's house, I soon found myself DJing in the clubs. It wasn’t a career move, I just enjoyed it. I never imagined that I would still be doing it 10 years down the road, but here I am, still loving it!

And for that we are all very grateful... many thanks for your time Matt and best of luck in the future!

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