Posted On 24 Oct 2018
Helsinki-based DJ Alex Mattson has served up a sumptuous slice of melody in the shape of new track ‘Anything’ . The fast-rising producer, who previously became the first ever Finnish artist to sign a deal with Ultra Music, teams up with London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer R ØRY on the new release, which showcases Mattson’s signature sound.
Led by rich chord patterns, and breezy beats, the catchy hook on ‘Anything ’, led by R ØRY’s soaring vocals, precedes Alex’s performance at WKND Festival, and follows his recent ‘Eleven’ EP.
Amassing over 20 million Spotify streams in his career so far, Alex Mattson is best known for his debut production ‘UFO’ which has gained platinum status in Finland. A multi-talented and diverse producer, Mattson has also produced songs for other artists, including Reino Nordin ‘s ‘Touch’ (produced together with Leo Salminen ) and ‘Free’ (produced together with Tido Nguyen).
Having started his musical career as a drummer, Alex Mattson began to study electronic music production in Amsterdam, graduating as a master of deep house and melodic beats.
Steeped in Alex ’s rich electronica tones, ‘Anything’ was released this past summer.
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Read more about Alex Mattson in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
AM: Of course! Haha yes there is music in the background. Just about to go to my studio for a session and listening all the demos I have at the moment. I really like to take time to listen to all the demos I’m working on almost every morning and try to find something I could make better.
Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
AM: I think 2018 has been amazing year for me and my career. In the beginning of the year I had a goal to finish and release my debut EP before the summer. I did reach that goal and I’m super happy about it and the feedback I got from it. Other than that my goal this year was to really find my own sound even more than before and I think it’s going really great!
Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
AM: Music has always been super important to me. I think I’m actually listening to music almost all the time during the day, haha!
Back when I was a kid, I went to a local rock concert with my parents in my hometown. I thought those guys playing on the stage were so cool and talented so that really made me want to be a musician. A couple of years later I started to play drums and honestly practiced it every day all the time. My passion to be a musician just kept on growing year by year, especially when discovering electronic music and producing it.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
AM: Honestly I think the biggest surprise has been the amount of people listening to my songs from the beginning. You never know how many people find out about your music and how they react to it when releasing debut song or EP etc. So I’ve been really lucky to have such a big crowd already listening to my songs.
The challenge for producers and artists including me nowadays is the speed of the industry. You can’t take too much time between releases to stay relevant. Releasing songs needs to be continuous and high-quality so I think that’s a challenge for everyone making music.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
AM: I grew up in smaller town nearby Helsinki and the rock scene was really popular when I was a kid. I use to play drums in rock band as well so I think that has really had an impact on my sound.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind your newest single, “Anything”? What was it like working with RORY? How did that collaboration come to be? How would you say this song compares to the rest of your EP, “Eleven”?
AM: In the beginning of this summer I had heard some demos from RØRY. I really loved her sound and also heard she is such a great songwriter. I was going to Amsterdam in the beginning of June and we planned a songwriting session with her there. That session turned out to be amazing. We finished the idea for ”Anything” in just couple of hours and were super hyped about it. The whole team really liked the song we did, so I flew back to my studio in Helsinki to finish the production and a month later we released it. The whole process was so much fun and easy going.
I think this song is a great follow up to my EP ”Eleven”. The production techniques I learned while producing the EP really took their place for this song. Even though the production style is a bit different than with the songs on my EP, I feel the general vibe has similarities for example with my song ”Complicated Love”.
What was it like making “Eleven”? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
AM: I think the whole experience of working with many songs at the same time and having a deadline for it really worked well for me. I think there wasn’t many surprises to be honest but like every producer/songwriter has, I had some challenges with couple of songs. Not anything huge but for example with my song ”Flesh And Bone” ,I got stuck with the production ideas for ”drop”/instrumental hook for a long time, like a month or so. Took a little break from the song and one day it all just cleared up and finished that song pretty fast after it.
Do you have any plans to make any music videos for your newest songs?
AM: Yes I’m sure there will be for some upcoming songs. We are not sure yet for which one, but yea it’s going to happen.
Why do you think Ultra Records is the right place for you and your music today? What did it mean to you signing with them and being the first Finnish artist to do so?
AM: Yes totally! I think the Sony/Ultra team I’ve been working with for couple years now have always had a fresh perspective on releasing songs and working around them. To be first Finnish solo artist ever to release music on Ultra was and still is amazing. It’s an honor for me.
I’m curious to know how producing for others compares to working on your own material? Do you find that you prefer doing one over the other at different times in your career?
AM: Yes I think there is some differences between them. With my own music I’m kind of picky with all the sounds I’m working with and really want to make it sound like an Alex Mattson song. While producing for other artists it’s more important to make it sound like theirs so as a producer you have to be more open minded with the song and also not to be too steep with your opinions and thoughts, but to hear theirs as well. I really love doing both.
I understand that you started your music career as a drummer so how did you transition from that into electronic music production?
AM: Yes I started out in a rock band as a drummer. When I was about 13 or 14-years-old, I heard some early Skrillex and Pendulum songs from my sister. I really loved those songs since they had the ”rock vibe” I already loved, but also something totally fresh with electronic sounds. I really wanted to start producing ideas with that kind of twist on my own, and ended up doing more and more electronic music through the years.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
AM: There are so many platforms so of course it’s hard to stay up to date with them all. I mainly use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. For Instagram and Twitter I like to post photos from tour and the studio. Also post photos with amazing people I’ve met etc. Just for fans to see more behind the scenes stuff. Sometimes that stuff for Facebook as well but I think that’s the one I use more to promote my music, upcoming shows etc.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
AM: There are so many. With electronic music my biggest inspirations have been Zedd and Skrillex. They just have their unique sounds and amazing songs so that really inspires me to learn more and more. I’d love to work with them some day.
There are many musicians and bands that inspire me as well. For example I’ve been a huge fan of Kiss and Mötley Crue since I was really young.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
AM: I’m gonna cheat a bit and choose two, haha! Definitely my laptop since I make all my music with it and an acoustic guitar to write songs with. I’d build a drum set from pieces of wood I find there haha.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
AM: I’ve been the biggest Spider-Man fan since I was a kid so that would be a dream of mine to have my song played in the movie!
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your fall and winter?
AM: I will be supporting Alan Walker in Helsinki in November so that’s really dope! I’ll be in the studio most of winter but also doing some shows. I’ve been super creative lately so mainly I’ll be in the studio just finishing up all the songs I’m working with at the moment.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
AM: I always want my fans to hear something new and fresh. Can’t really hear myself remaking the same song all over again.
I like to think that if you can perform acoustic, it’s timeless. The popular sounds and production styles change over the years but deep down a good song is always a good song.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and your music?
AM: I really hope you like my latest single ”Anything (feat. RØRY)”. There is some new stuff coming really soon so stay tuned for it 🙂
(All photography provided by Listen Up Music Promotion)