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Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, & MATTN Talk All Things Smash The House & Beyond [Interview]

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Celebrating a whopping 10 years this year, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike‘s Smash The House imprint is dominating the electronic dance music charts now more than ever before. The #1 DJs in the world according to DJ Mag have demonstrated their extraordinary talents aimlessly throughout the years, and have managed to share their spotlight with a plethora of other electronic music visionaries on their renowned label.

Smash The House never fails to release award-winning bangers, with most tunes always winding up somewhere on the top 3 slots of the prestigious Billboard and Beatport charts, among many others. Several spin-offs of the label like Smash Deep and Smash Classics have also been launched recently and feature deeper, more retro sounds to add even more diversity to the label’s overall soundscape. As one of the most recognized record imprints in the scene, it’s undeniable amount of success over the years is merely a reflection of pure dance music expertise and devotion.

Smash The House founders Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike have revolutionized the world’s outlook on dance music, and their exemplary presence in the scene is unmatched. Aside from releasing their own iconic dance anthems over the course of their music career, the duo’s various collaborations with other reputable names in the game like David Guetta, Vini Vici, Ne-Yo, Steve Aoki, Sandern van Doorn, W&W, Diplo, Borgeous, and many more have curated some of the most memorable big-room and progressive house anthems bound to last a lifetime. They’re also accountable for hosting one of the most epic stages, The Garden of Madness, at Tomorrowland Belgium in their very own home country every year. Is there anything they haven’t done?

Like most notable music producers and record label owners, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike are always aspiring to shoot for the moon and take their knowledge and talents to even further heights. The expansion of Smash the House has resulted in an extensive roster of striking talent all around, including the outstanding MATTN, the first female artist on the label. The impeccable producer, DJ, and vocalist has exposed her many talents live at the Tomorrowland Smash the House stage and main stage, and has also been a highly-acclaimed performer of the Garden of Madness residency at Ushuaïa in Ibiza over the past few summers.

Needless to say, there’s so much to look forward to in regards to Smash the House and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s musical endeavors in the near future, particularly their upcoming virtual performance on the Tomorrowland ‘Around The World’ live stream. With so many more details on these two and rising star MATTN yet to be disclosed, we were lucky enough to be able to dig a little deeper and gain further insight on the topics mentioned above. We got to chatting with Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, and MATTN ourselves as we discussed all things Smash The House and beyond, so read along to find out more.

Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike

Nocturnal Times: It’s great to chat with you guys! Where in the world are you?

Dimi: Like most people in the world right now, we’re currently in Belgium, at home, making the most of being able to spend time with our friends and family.

Nocturnal Times: We can’t believe it’s already been 10 years since the beginning of an era for Smash The House! How does it feel to have witnessed your very own label grow so phenomenally over the years?

Mike: I know, the time has gone so fast. From its humble beginnings to where it is now is a huge achievement for us and something we’re very proud of.

Dimi: Being able to build such a strong and close team like we have with Smash The House has been really rewarding. We owe a lot of our success as a label to all the key members of the team that have own played their key role in Smash The House’s ongoing success. To grow the label to this level wouldn’t have been possible without their input. 

Nocturnal Times: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment in regards to all Smash The House ventures so far?

Dimi: It’s very difficult to pinpoint a single accomplishment as being a highlight as we’ve been able to achieve so much with Smash The House through the years. From being able to explore our own passions through different projects such as launching the Smash Esports team, to bringing our family of artists together and all being able to grow as a team, that has to be up there as some of the biggest and most satisfying accomplishments. 

Nocturnal Times: When looking for potential artists to sign to the label, what do you usually look for when considering and analyzing their artistic persona and sound style?

Mike: The key for us is the quality of the music and their vision as an artist. We’ve recently added a number of sub labels to Smash The House, all slightly different in style, and that allows us to release a diverse range of sounds that we’re into, as our tastes are so varied it was important for us to be able to have the opportunity to release more of the amazing music we receive that previously might not have fit to Smash The House or Generation Smash.

Nocturnal Times: Your two most recent tracks “Happy Together” with Bassjackers and “Get In Trouble” with Vini Vici are both extraordinary re-works of original tunes that have blown the charts in the past. What inspired you guys to create your own 2020 version of these tracks with Bassjackers and Vini Vici specifically?

Dimi: We love collaborating, and only work with people that we’re inspired by and that is the case with both Bassjackers and Vini Vici. We’ve worked with Bassjackers on a huge number of releases previously and they’re like family to us. Vini Vici are hugely talented producers, and we love their sound and work with them on their Alteza Records label, so it’s always a pleasure to get together and work with them on projects. 

Nocturnal Times: As unfortunate as it is that Tomorrowland has been postponed until next year, we’re thrilled to be a part of the upcoming digital version ‘Tomorrowland Around The World’ later this month. What should we expect from your performance at the virtual main stage this year?

Mike: Like any performance, with crowds or no crowds, we always want to push the boundaries and put on the best show possible. Our fans have been so loyal to us throughout our careers, so we always want to show our appreciation by offering them something now or a production that they haven’t seen before. We can’t reveal much, but all we can say is that it’s going to be special and we can’t wait. 

Nocturnal Times: Will we be seeing any other major live stream performances from the two of you or any other Smash The House artists in the near future after your grand digital Tomorrowland debut?

Mike: For now, our sole focus is on Tomorrowland Around The World. Tomorrowland is always the highlight of our year, and so we want to make sure that we put on the best performance we are capable of, to give the fans something to keep their spirits high and a show that will live long in the memory. 

Nocturnal Times: Have there been any positive aspects of not being able to tour and perform at massive events and festivals year-round like you’re used to? What goals have you been able to accomplish that you wouldn’t normally have the time for?

Dimi: We are on the road almost constantly throughout the year, so it has been a great opportunity to spend more time with our loved ones and make the most of not being able to tour. We’ve made amazing memories with those close to us which we’re truly thankful for, and it’s also given us an opportunity to be more creative and experimental in the studio, as we’ve had more time to explore new sounds without working to strict deadlines all the time. In that respect it’s been very fruitful musically, and we can’t wait to share those new ideas with you guys. 

MATTN

Nocturnal Times: Really nice to talk with you! How has your summer been so far? What have you been spending time doing during these slower months?

MATTN: It’s been a crazy couple of months, as it has for everybody in the scene. The first few weeks I took some time off and enjoyed some quality time with Dimitri. After a small resting period, I started working on a lot of new music. I always aspired to be a singer as well as a DJ, so during quarantine I took a lot of singing lessons. At the start of July, Regi and myself released “I Won’t Tell,” the second track on which I do my own top line. In 2019 I Did “Lone Wolves” With Paris Hilton, however, that track was still a lot more focused on the beats, whereas with “I Won’t Tell” the focus is really on my singing. 

Nocturnal Times: Can you tell us more about your background story and what inspired you to pursue a career in the electronic dance music industry specifically?

MATTN: When I was younger and went to so many festivals and clubs, I was always so fascinated with the DJs and how they were able to make a whole crowd go crazy. I was intrigued on how they did it and how they mashed all these tracks together, that I started to play around with DJing myself. I loved doing it and then pursued my dream!

Nocturnal Times: When you started to produce music, did you initially have plans of incorporating your own vocals into your tracks?

MATTN: Not at the beginning, although I loved singing. But as my career took off and more and more people started to hear me sing when we were in the studio or at some karaoke bars after the shows in Asia, it became a plan to do so. So I started to take singing lessons to improve! 

Nocturnal Times: Is there a story behind choosing the name MATTN as the artist name you wanted to showcase to the world?

MATTN: To be completely honest there isn’t really a story behind the name since its pretty much my last name, we just left the O out of it to make it more clear for everybody to understand.

Nocturnal Times: Would you say that your artistic persona is an accurate reflection of your true self or did you have another vision in place for your stage presence?

MATTN: No, that’s exactly who I am and it reflects me very well. I can go crazy and have a good party but can also be serious and just enjoy every little thing, although I’ve grown a lot throughout my career. My first gig was in my neighborhood at a gathering party and I was shaking. I was so nervous but once I started, the pressure ebbed away and I was able to enjoy what I was doing. If I look at all the shows I’m able to do now, I can definitely say that I’ve grown as a person, especially when it comes to self-confidence. 

Nocturnal Times: As the first female artist on the Smash The House roster, how does it feel to be a part of one of the most highly acclaimed dance music record labels in the world?

MATTN: I’m very lucky and grateful for the opportunities Smash The House provided for me. It’s an honor to be the first female artist and for me, it doesn’t really add pressure. I think it’s amazing that I can be an inspiration to other female artists because the EDM and wider dance music scene is tough for women. In the beginning of my career, I got a lot of bad comments from people that I was just being pretty behind the DJ Booth without knowing what I was doing, or that I just had to press the play button and this was really hard on me in the beginning, I knew how hard I’d worked. But I think the more women that show themselves as worthy DJs, the sooner these prejudices will disappear and hopefully we can see a more equal spread of genders across the scene in this male-dominated world. 

Nocturnal Times: How did this opportunity to join Smash The House arise in the first place?

MATTN: Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike heard me play at Tomorrowland a few years ago and they immediately saw potential and they loved the mash-ups and remixes I played! So from then on we started working together on my first tracks.

Nocturnal Times: Recently, you’ve had the chance to perform at massive events like Creamfields, Mysteryland, Ushuaïa Ibiza, and even the Tomorrowland main stage. Out of these, what has been your most rewarding experience and why?

MATTN: That’s a difficult question. I am very grateful and happy that I’m able to play at massive events and festivals like this. When I started DJing I never imagined it would turn out like this and I’ve had so many wonderful moments at all of these festivals and I love playing there. But if I had to pick one, I think my best memories would come from Creamfields and Tomorrowland.

Photos Courtesy of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike Facebook

Currently based in NYC, I hope to inspire others positively through my writing. Electronic music has become both a passion and a form of inspiration in my life, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I aspire to share this passion of mine with others and help them understand the uplifting potential it can have on our lives!

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