Filed under: Interview
Matthias Heibronn, probably better known as one half of production duo Deep Zone who achieved notoriety after club hits such as ‘It’s Gonna Be All Right’ featuring Ceybil Jeffries, as well as their remix of H2O’s ‘Nobody Business’. After Deep Zone stopped its work in 1997 Matthias started a solo career and soon established himself as one of the most in demand producers in house music. Matthias recently compiled the 3rd release of Francois K’s popular compilation series, ‘Deep & Sexy’ in March and its release party was held at Club Air, Tokyo on 28th August.
The event featured Matthias at the decks but also featured a special live performance from Monique Bingham, the vocalist from Abstract Truth who are best known for their club anthem ‘Get Another Plan’. Her sweet vocals with Matthia’s vibes sent deep and sexy grooves across Air’s dance floor.
Higher Frequency talked to Matthias and Monique the day after the event and got their impression of Japanese crowds as well as the latest goings on in the NY club scene.
Interview by Eri Nishikami (Restir Magazine)
HRFQ : So how was it last night?
Monique Bingham : It was great. The crowd was great.
Matthias Heilbronn : I loved it. Perfect size club, perfect sound system and the people were really into it. Even when we walked in, people were dancing and screaming.
HRFQ : Every one of the DJs I interviewed said the same thing about the crowd in Japan. Isn’t it like that in NY?
Matthias : Well, the crowd can be really good but I never get to DJ in NY. I’m always traveling. Almost every weekend. I play everywhere in Europe and Asia.
Monique : I don’t either but I’d say the closest crowd in NY would be at the Shelter.
HRFQ : How many times have you been to Japan so far?
Monique : Me only one time.
Matthias : This is my fifth time.
HRFQ : How do you like it here?
Monique : I love it!
HRFQ : What kind of impressions did you guys have on Air’s sound system?
Monique : It’s great! There’re speakers everywhere!
Matthias : It’s one of the best!
HRFQ : You played a lot of vocal tracks last night. Do you try to create stories by connecting the lyrics or is it just a flow of the music?
Matthias : It’s a little bit of both. I don’t play a song about partying and then a song about love right after. I always try to tell a story.
HRFQ : Did you play anything that you edited last night?
Matthias : No, but I played some of my own productions.
HRFQ : Where do you think is the best place for you to play audience wise?
Monique : I haven’t played around that much but I’d definitely say here and the Shelter.
Matthias : Yeah, Japan is definitely in the top three. Not everywhere in Japan is as great as it is in Tokyo, but Precious Hall in Sapporo was great. Fukuokac was a little bit hard too. There’re not so many great parties in NY any more, for our music. You can have a great techno or a trance party but I don’t really like that. Most of the good clubs that have good sound system and dance floors play that kind of music.
HRFQ : I’ve always thought the house music scene in NY is much bigger.
Monique : It’s changed.
Matthias : House music isn’t played on the radio at all. So we don’t have any support from the radio or TV. It makes a big different. And the younger generations are in to harder music. May be the only place you can get the feeling of soulful house music is supposed to sound like and feel like is at the Shelter. Body & Soul is closed. I think it’s important what’s been going on since the Garage NY is being passed on and carried on to the younger generation but we don’t have those places anymore and that’s kind of sad.
HRFQ : I heard that president Bush and the mayor Broomburg are putting some negative pressure on the NY club scene.
Matthias : It’s starting now. Broomburg and Juliani the mayor before enforced a law that’s called a cabaret license. You have to have a cabaret license for people to dance. So if you have a bar or a club, people are not allowed to dance unless you have a cabaret license (laughter).
HRFQ : That’s so funny.
Matthias : So if you are in a bar without the license and the manager sees you dancing, he has to go “Uh, excuse me, you can’t dance herec” And you can get fined too. They started with the sound level too.
HRFQ : Do you think the scene is completely shut down or do you think it’s going to find the way to go through this?
Monique : Everything finds a way I think but the situation isn’t helping anything.
Matthias : I was always hoping for another mayor you know, Juliani was in the office for 8years and I thought this can’t happen again but now we have somebody just like him!! May be when the economy goes back down again, there’d be a better situation for clubs and parties.
HRFQ : So you went down to NY after witnessing Larry Levin’s play at the Garage, right?
Matthias : Yeah, the Garage closed in 1986 and I moved here in 89.
HRFQ : Did Larry have a lot to do with you moving?
Matthias : Yeah. He was a very big influence in my life as a DJ. I experienced music completely different for the first time at the Garage. I was a Dj already but I have never experienced what he was doing with music and with the crowd. It just kind of opened my mind. I was always looking for the next Saturday the whole week. I’d talk about the last Saturday the whole week! I still remember walking up the rump and the light gets darker with music getting louder.
HRFQ : Did you always play house music?
Matthias : No. When I first started, there was no house music.
HRFQ : How did you first hook up with Francois?
Matthias : During the time I first visited NY, a friend of mine was working at Francois’ studio and by the time I moved, he was a manager there and he offered me a job. That’s how Francois became my boss.
HRFQ : Did you have any concept when you compiled Deep & Sexy 3?
Matthias : I put a lot of planning to it, but the concept is Francois’, supposed to be deep & sexy!
HRFQ : How’s the reaction?
Matthias : I toured for three months now but the distributor said it’s doing really good.
HRFQ : Do you have any projects coming up?
Monique : We just worked on a reggae track.
Matthias : Yeah, we did that for wave. I gave her couple of other songs because I’d love to do an album with her. I don’t know if she’s too busy but she’s great to work with.
Monique : Oh, so are you!!
HRFQ : Do you have any advises for budding DJs?
Matthias : Me!?
Monique : Go to medical school!! His lifestyle is crazy! I don’t know how he does this.
Matthias : Yeah, there’s a lot of being away and staying in hotels. It’s exciting but it’s gotten a lot harder. One advise that I have for anybody that wants to be in the music industry is try do as many different things like production, dj, engineering and editing as you can because you aren’t always able to pay your bills just by djing.
End of the interview
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