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Talking music ingredients with Matador

Ahead of his Paradise date this week, we bag an exclusive video and an in-depth interview.

A DJ's purpose behind that booth is to snare clubbers and have them hooked until the set comes to a close. Do what you will with this loose connection, but when I first got through to Gavin Lynch, he was in the middle of a fishing session near his home city, Dublin.

The phone line was poor and on postponing the interview I later found out that on that occasion he came away empty-handed. No biggie, he made pasta instead; most of us are long past those days when we're reliant on the fisher returning with a catch for our survival.

However, when it comes to giving the dance floor the bait treatment, he's in there for the big catch. Better known as Matador, he's felt that line tugging on a global scale since breaking on Richie Hawtin's label, Minus, in 2011.

The techno nuts who have done their homework on this Irish engineer, producer and live act will know that before he made the shift to music production full-time, he packed in the hours part-time as a chef while studying sound engineering. He had a deft hand in the kitchen, so much so that he had a promising career in Dublin's Michelin starred restaurants.

It's all about letting the ingredients breathe, letting them do their thing and not overdoing it by throwing everything on the plate,” he commented when asked if there was a relationship between his approach to cooking and music production. “When I met Richie Hawtin and the whole Minus crew, they operate in that minimalist way, and my approach fitted in well. It's something you're creating, whether it's being put on a plate or CD. It's all interconnected, for sure.”

As with gastronomy, to be on a level where you are consistently developing your sound and bringing a fresh perspective in music production, experimentation with ingredients that are new to you is vital. “The way I try to approach reinvention, variation and development is by reinvesting a lot of time in new equipment and new synthesisers – new ingredients, essentially.”

Lynch is currently buzzing as he awaits the arrival of a brand-new piece of equipment. “We're having this really cool handpiece built for us by this guy in Portugal. It's a totally unique piece; there's like 10 or 15 of them around the world. That is an ingredient I sourced and it took me six months planning, then designing it with him as it's a custom-built machine.” He brought the conversation back into the kitchen by adding: “The chefs I worked with would go foraging to source really unique smoked fish or to find small artisan guys, and I guess that's what I´m doing with synthesisers. Finding these artisan synth guys making these really cool machines that are not part of the big corporations.”

Once that custom-built machine lands at his doorstep, it'll be heading upstairs to his new home-based studio to find a place among the rest of his techno toys. “Ten steps upstairs and I´m in the studio. It can sometimes be difficult to drag myself away. Before, I could spend 24 hours in there, sometimes two days. My girlfriend would come back from work and ask if I´d been to bed yet. I´ve now learnt to allocate time because with so much going on you have to be able to do this; otherwise you'd be twiddling knobs all day and get nothing done.”

A quick glance over his vast discography and loaded touring schedule will tell you that's he's been twiddling knobs all day and getting plenty done. Worldwide acclaim and a devoted global fanbase of clubbers and peers comes with a laborious work ethic. In 2016 he added label owner to his CV bank with the launch of RUKUS, which he kicked off with his own EP The Enemy, featuring vocals from Felix Da Housecat. He chose the name based on his intentions of causing a commotion, and it gave him a platform for his own output, opportunities to collaborate with friends and 100% control of his album project, Ructions.

In March, Lynch had his fans gripped in anticipation with the announcement that he'd been locked away in the studio for a few months, meaning that new material was on its way. He confirmed that an EP is due for release around Halloween. “I was sitting on between 20 and 30 projects, and then it was all about whittling it down to what I felt were the four strongest tracks. It's a bit of a guessing game as to what you feel is good, and it's also a team effort with various people chipping in. A lot of work goes in to preparing a release, and some of the others will be released further down the line.”

In addition to his own craftwork, he's signed ANNA, Fabio Florido and Florian Frings – all of whom have released new dance floor meat within the last four months. Fring is the latest recruit with his EP Hour dropping on 18 August.

Lynch's studio is an open space from where artists can congregate and create, however, the above artists are all based in Berlin or Amsterdam and kept rampantly busy with their own touring schedules, making it a challenge to get together. An upcoming artist who is close to home is fellow Dubliner Ruffle. “I've known him a few years and some of the music he's making is fucking incredible. He's sitting on a wealth of music that's really going to do well and come out at the end of the year.”

There's certainly a nurturing aspect to owning a label, which also stems from a place of quality control and of having a distinct identity. “I think it's a case of knowing what the label should sound like and the direction, which is what I have. I've gone back and forth with some of the artists, suggesting different ideas and they have been very open to it because what I came back with made sense.” His vision of sound lies very much in embracing the melodic. “A lot of the guys are releasing techno; fucking cool, easy to play and it kicks off. But it's a case of pushing the artist a wee bit further and to stretch the melody end of it because in techno it can be quite sparse sometimes. It's a bridge you're seeing with the likes of Solomun, where it is driving but there's also a really good hook there. There is a melody and that's something that I like to think I have in my music and I want to keep in place with the label.”

Lynch's melodically-laced hypnotic live shows were first heard on the island in 2012 at the invite of Richie Hawtin with his residency ENTER. His venom was contained to ENTER. at Space until Jamie Jones brought him into the Paradise fold and later, his sonic services were enlisted by elrow.

His relationship with the Balearic beast stretches beyond those gigs, with him amassing a crew across seven consecutive years from the age of 19. He was there as a clubber and recalled Cocoon and Manumission as being highlights, but he had his eyes on being the one in control of the dance floor disorder. “I remember the last year as a clubber saying that I'd be back, but I´d be playing. Two years had passed. I was in the studio looking like Tom Hanks from Castaway – big beard and everything - and eventually all the music started coming out. Three years after saying that I was going in for ENTER. It was fucking mental in that regard as before I´d do two weeks like everyone else, and come home to cry for a couple of weeks.”

In 2017, he's having a far more varied Balearic dip with reappearances for Paradise and elrow, and sealing his place with debut residencies Labyrinth at Pacha and RESISTANCE at Privilege.

elrow is all about the spectacle and all the elements coming together. You're going to get good music but you're also going to get a crazy carnival. For me, I never play too heavy or dark. I do tailor what I do and go in with a decent body of work. I look forward to it because I have a good longstanding relationship with the Arnau family, with me doing the Barcelona shows and the Monegros festival right at the beginning of my career.”

Another crew he has a strong relationship with is Jamie Jone's Paradise lot. Lynch even took video crew WeAreOne to DC10 for a titillating voyeuristic view of Paradise at peak time - a video that you can watch exclusively above. Undoubtedly the video alone is capable of luring Paradise virgins to the scene, but he also weighed in verbally with positive affirmations: “I've done Paradise with the boys for four years now and they're brilliant guys to work with. Guaranteed good fun. They don't take life too seriously, but take the operation seriously. They're an impressive bunch to work with."

Aspirational DJs who come to Ibiza will have clocked one residency that they're aiming to infiltrate one day. With Lynch, Sven Väth's dominant Cocoon party at Amnesia is one of those. He's been billed on Cocoon line-ups in other corners of Europe, but Monday 25 September will be his Cocoon Ibiza debut. “This is one of the ones I´m looking forward to doing the most. I remember having all the compilations. It was on my list and thankfully it's happening. I can't fucking wait.”

Upcoming events throughout the remainder of the year stretch to the end of October with Gem x Loveland ADE Closing in Amsterdam being the last listed on RA. More will be added, however, he's fixated on a target far higher than the roofs of the world's monolithic nightclubs. "I'm taking some time off at the end of the year to crack on with private pilot training. You can do it over six months, beginning with small aircraft and working your way up as far you want to go. I don't know if I can ever see myself with Ryanair. But never say never."

Catch Matador at Paradise this Wednesday, and find his remaining Ibiza 2017 dates here.


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