Our homie Matt Ford, AKA Project Matt, has been a part of NYC nightlife for over ten years. Heput together a perfect mix to get us through these grey days and cold winter nights—and since I don't speak house music, I hit up my friend Mr. Sam Hockley-Smith to help me out with an intro:
Sometimes, house music feels like a game of patience. Tracks unfold and change leisurely, and, in the hands of a skilled DJ, can work as parts of a whole instead of individual entities. Project Matt's OC mix covers plenty of new songs and future classics, moving from up-tempo jams to late-night, last-dude-on-the-dancefloor melancholy. It's a mix informed by house music's history, but it's also unafraid to push toward new territory. Take it as a snapshot or story of a single night, either way, there's plenty to love here.
Wilderness (Genius of Time Remix) - Trickski
Switch Back - Black Light Smoke
Brooklyn Nights (Fantastic Man Remix) - Edit Murphy
No Dilemma - Patryk Molinari
Glad to Know You (Ray Mang's Flying Dub) - Dimitri From Paris, Los Amigos Invisibles
Yellow Magic - James Curd
Gravel Pit - Jascha
Kackvogel - Solomun
Confessing (Dub) - Homework
Vision of Love - Bicep
Breaking - Kyodai
Boiling (Medlar Remix) - Disclosure
I Get Deeper - Late Nite Tuff Guy
Danielle Melisse: Fill in the blanks. My name isMatt Fordand my mixtape for OC is meant to be played at top volume. Tune in and zone out!
DM: I remember seeing "Project Matt" on flyers for Lower East Side hip-hop parties in the early 2000s. Where did the name come from?
Project Matt: In 2004, I was doing a monthly party called Pay 2 Cum with some friends. For whatever reason, the DJ couldn't make it, so I hopped into the booth to take over (I wasn't a DJ). Matt Kaye, the bartender extraordinaire, heard the music (Southern rap and 90s hardcore) and asked me to play as a resident on Mondays at B-Side in the East Village, where he worked. He asked me what my DJ name was and since I wasn't really a DJ, I didn't have one. So he gave me the name Project Matt after the Memphis rapper Project Pat.
DM: You had rap and hip-hop beginnings—what changed?
PM: I still have a tremendous amount of love for rap music––Southern rap especially. After my residency at the Lower East Side staple Home Sweet Home came to an end, a lot of things changed in my life and I started listening to more disco and dance music. From there, I realized that I wanted to play music that women would want to dance to, rather than music that makes a bunch of dudes want to fight. There's nothing wrong with that, right?
DM: What would you play in a typical hip-hop set? Top 5 songs?
1. Juvenile - HA Master
2. P - Make Em Say UgH!
3. Z-Ro - I Hate you B*tch
4. Big Tymers - Oh Yeah!
5. Too $hort - In The Trunk
DM: What are your top five songs for DJing at the moment?
1. Daniel Dexter - Today
2. Jascha - Gravel Pit
3. CHIC - I Want Your Love (Todd Terje edit)
4. Edit Murphy - Brooklyn Nights (Fantastic Man remix)
5. anything PBR Streetgang
DM: Has music always been a big part of your life?
PM: Music has been in my life since day one. When I was growing up, my dad was a country music radio DJ in Indianapolis. He would give me all of the records that didn't fit the station's programming. One of the first records I ever got was Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls––not much use for that at a country station in Indiana. Later, in high school, I played the saxophone and went to a lot of hardcore and punk shows. When I moved to Minneapolis in 1995, I started putting together and promoting these small indie hip-hop and rap parties all over the city. We did those for a number of years until I moved to NYC in 2003.
DM: What effect did living in Berlin for a year have on your perspective on music?
PM: I moved to Berlin in April 2011 to take a job at SoundCloud.com. The music scene in Berlin is amazing and truly eye-opening. Hearing new sounds on huge sound systems, seeing fantastic venues with top talent, and, most importantly, playing to a crowd that appreciates you… It's a very different music culture to NYC or America. Not that I'm mad at America, I just think that the focus in Europe is more about the music and less about the dollars being spent inside the club.
DM: What was the last DJ set, live show, or album that really blew you away?
PM: This is a question that I can't answer. I really enjoyed the Let's Play House Boat cruise with The Revenge––strong vibes and good sets by everyone! I also just caught Homework at Le Bain recently, and that was great. Those kids are on fire!
DM: Did you listen to anything more than once today?
PM: Nope, just random shuffling. Though I do remember landing on some Ron Basejam while on the train. DM: What's your favorite non-musical sound?
PM: I really love the sound of the subway. A lot of people are bothered by it but I find it soothing.
DM: Favorite thing to do when you're not playing music or listening to music?
PM: Taking my bike out and cruising around the city. And taking pictures—check out my Instagram!
DM: What are you obsessed with right now?
PM: The new Girl & Chocolate skateboard video. Spike Joooooooooonze!
DM: What's your desert island disc?
PM: Everything by Larry Levan!