DJ Slipmatt - The Godfather of Breakbeat

This man is, most probably, the most talented and respected DJ on the circuit, for nearly eight years he has appeared on thousands of flyers spanning the globe. We caught up with DJ Slipmatt to ask him a few questions.

Real name, Matt, DJ Slipmatt, has continued to produce high quality sets at all of the most famous raves in the world. Born in 1968, DJ Slipmatt, started playing Hip-Hop and House in 1985, after being employed as an electrician, and a motorcycle courier:

“I got my first decks in around 1985, nothing special, just cheap shitty ones, but back in those days there was not money to be made from DJ’ing so I just carried on in my jobs as a courier or electrician. I always wanted to be a DJ, and I’ve always been into dance music, starting to make music at 12 years old”.

Whilst living in the East End of London, he started a pirate radio station called ‘Raw FM’:

“Myself and five mates used to run Raw from a tower block in Hackney, but my other radio work includes a couple of shows on Kiss FM and a Radio One interview”.

Slowly he built up a name for himself in the London area, until he got his first break at the legendary Raindance in 1989, since then he has hardly had a weekend off, and soon became the biggest DJ on the circuit, Slipmatt saying “I’ve been meaning to go on a diet for months!”, not quite what we mean Matt.

His best experiences include hitting the top of the charts with his former group SL2, with DJ Lime. “At the time it was just a laugh, we didn’t realise that it would all kick off like it did, it just happened”. The chart success of ‘On A Ragga Tip’ earnt Slipmatt both commercial and underground respect.

After they wrote the tune, it was just getting played out on the underground on white label, however scouts at XL Recordings heard the tune and snapped ‘SL2’ up. “We had other offers but we just sat down and chose the best deal”. This deal took Slipmatt and Lime to the dizzy heights of ‘Top Of The Pops’ where at the BBC studios they got into a little bit of bother after spaying SL2 slogans across the set of Eastenders. This received press coverage in the Daily Mirror condemning the ‘yobbery’. Slipmatt was in Mexico at the time, far away from the press coverage which had died down on his return.

Fantazia, World Dance, Perception, Dreamscape, Elevation…the list is endless, his DJ’ing skills have taken him across the world where ravers demand to see the one and only Slipmatt, USA, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Finland, Turkey…get the point?

Playing out up to six times in a weekend, Slipmatt tolled up the mileage on his Cosworth Mercedes, so after the natural death of SL2, and the rave scene getting a lot bigger, he started to concentrate his resources elsewhere other than on the turntables. “From the early 1990’s, I could see the music getting a bit dark, so I decided to make my own music to play out. This kept me in the recording studios during the week, and at the weekend I was playing out my own stuff”.

All of this writing and producing led to the creation of ‘Universal Records’, where he promotes other young artists as well as other DJ’s material:

“I own Universal Records Ltd, and I have my own recording studio where I am most of the week. I also do a lot of other work for labels such as United Dance Recordings, and have just compiled an album for Kickin Records called ‘Slipmatt Takes Control’ which features exclusive remixes by myself of ‘SMD 3’, ‘Take Me Away’, and ‘In Complete Darkness’. I have just finished a new track with DJ Eruption from United Dance which will be out soon. However I usually prefer to work alone, but working with Eruption is easy as we both know what we want and get it done”.

The last time I interviewed Slipmatt was over a year ago, at that time we were talking about the rise of Happy Hardcore, and how popular it was becoming again. So one year on we can sit and look at our predictions and how they have come true:

“I think it’s good that Hardcore and Jungle split, although I do enjoy some Drum ‘n’ Bass. The scene is getting more recognition all the time, although it is taking time, within this next year I can see a Hardcore boom, but hopefully it won’t get too commercialised. In five years time, I want to see myself with loads of work, loads of money and still have a car that can keep up with Sy’s Cosworth!”

Being a Hardcore DJ doesn’t limit his music tastes, enjoying most styles including House, Trance, Gabba, Techno, Drum ‘n’ Bass and Dub. He is insistent that he doesn’t have any spare time, which is one of the worst parts of his job, “I hate not spending time with my family, my wife Fay and my daughter Charlotte. I also hate getting nicked for speeding all the time, and having to put up with Eddie Edwards. Cutting dub plates is a pain in the arse as well!”. Slipmatt continues, “I love the scene, but it is very hard work and time consuming, I have always enjoyed playing at the biggest raves, and being in the charts at number one was just unreal!”

Slipmatt is known for his perfect mixing, but is it possible that at Shelley’s in Stoke he turned off the mixer by mistake? “Yes, that was me!, my funniest experience was having breakfast with Eruption and Hixxy in Switzerland!”

Slipmatt’s advice for up and coming DJ’s is to work at, by yourself and most importantly play for the crowd and don’t be too selfish. “Dedication, persistence and hard work, we are there to provide the ravers entertainment, because they pay for it by purchasing tickets, I love playing for the crowd, there is no bigger buzz than seeing 15,000 ravers going mental to one of my sets, I even like to join in with them at the end of one of my sets”.

Events such as United Dance, Dreamscape and Fusion an many others confirm Slipmatt’s thoughts that Happy Hardcore is getting bigger all the time. With United Dance events selling out three weeks in advance, and tickets being sold on the night by touts for more than treble their original price. Not only is he a fine mixer to Happy but recently proved himself worthy to jungle at World Dance. The line-up was a Jungle orientated event, but Slipmatt’s name was slap bang in the middle. What was he going to play? Everybody was wondering as he took to the decks, but dropping a full on Jungle set he sent all of the World Dance massive round the bend with a blinding set that received very good right ups from all the magazines, including Dream, Slipmatt is a natural mixer, he could probably pull off a decent Bob Marley set if he wished. He admits that it is very hard to have a mixed Jungle/Happy rave, but you have to cater for the raver at that particular event:

“There’s no point playing Happy to a Jungle crowd because they just won’t enjoy it, and visa versa… if people aren’t enjoying themselves then I don’t feel I have done a very good job. Fortunately I don’t have that problem. I remember listening to the radio once, and they played ‘On A Ragga Tip’ – the radio DJ announced that it was the original Jungle tune, this made me laugh”.

Some MC’s piss him off, especially when they don’t keep quite when they are supposed to. It is so hard to mix when all you can hear is the MC shouting down the mic. “Half the time I am so caught up in the atmosphere that I don’t hear the MC anyway, I just get on with my set and carry on pleasing the crowd, although I do like working alongside GQ, he knows when to stop and when to start and always gets the crowd going. But I respect Sharkey, Marley, Freestyle, Charlie B, MC MC, Fearless, Whitelox and J.J., they are all giving them what they want. He rates a long list of DJ’s maybe because if they are on the flyers, then they are good enough to be there. Seduction, Sy, Dougal, Brisk, Ramos, Vibes, Supreme, Billy Bunter, Vinylgroover, Hixxy, Force and Styles, Demo, Druid, Clark-E and of course DJ Spinback.

Eight years at the top, and still going strong, this can only be one man – Slipmatt. DJ’ing, producing, remixing, compiling, racing (does he ever win?) sums up this great man. His popularity is as high as ever, and it doesn’t look like it is going to fall, as long as there is a rave scene, then Slipmatt will be there playing at events such as Helter Skelter, Dreamscape, United Dance, Dance Paradise, Hardcore Heaven, Slammin Vinyl and Fusion. These are incidentally organisations who Slippmatt believes are giving the punters value for money.

 


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