At just 22, DJ Matan Zohar isn't living the normal fresh-out-of-college life. He isn't looking for a desk job and he isn't suiting up or turning his personality down to appease the corporate gods. He's doing the exact opposite. Touring the world, performing in front of thousands of fans, he's living the dream. Having recently passed through Detroit, the Londoner will be heading back to town on 2/20, invading Ann Arbor's Necto Nightclub. We had a chance to catch up with him before he made his stop into our wintery wonderland and he was just as charming, funny and thoughtful as we expected him to be.
Having spent a good part of your life growing up in the Midwest, do you think there were any direct impressions made on your style of music that reflect the area?
I think London has had a far greater impact on my sound than the Midwest has. That said I am influenced a lot by Motown.
What's your creative process like?
Usually starts with blissful euphoria followed by unrelenting self-deprecation.
Anything in particular you like to do while you're in the Detroit area?
See my mom who lives in Ann Arbor, and maybe some record shopping.
For those who've never been, what's a Mat Zo show like?
It's a bunch of depraved youths taking drugs, knife fighting, worshipping Satan and bringing down the flawless morality of this great country. Joking aside, I couldn't say what my shows are like because I've never been to one. When you're up there playing you are in output mode and don't really take in things around you.
What's the feeling of being up and stage and being really well-received by the crowd like for you? Is is empowering? Terrifying? Or do you feel at home and in your element?
It's very empowering. For that one to three hours I feel like a different person - a more confident, charismatic version of myself.
Are there any artists that have influenced your live show?
I keep my live show simple. It's just music, lights and sometimes some animated visuals behind me. The only artists who influence my live show are the ones who produce the tracks I play. In the future I want to do something influenced by Skrillex's old motion tracking live show, but instead of moving a character it moves an abstract pattern or effects it in some way.
Where in the world has been your favorite place to perform and how does it compare to performing in Detroit?
I think overall my favorite venue has been Beta in Denver. The sound system combined with the enthusiastic crowd and the on-point production staff make it, in my opinion, one of the best clubs in the world, if not the best. I've only played in Detroit once before and it wasn't too far behind.
Is there anyone in particular in the music business that you're looking forward to working with in the future? Anyone that you think might surprise people?
I really want to work with Noisia, who I think are the most ahead of their time in terms of electronic music.
As such a young artist do you'll continue to perform live and make music for a long time or do you have other goals you'd like to achieve in the music business?
I'd like to get to a point where I don't have to tour as much. It's great now when I'm 22 but I suspect that when I'm into my 30's I will want to settle down. Perhaps scoring films would be the next move, if I manage to do that. Whatever I do, I can't stop making music until I go deaf.
Anything else you'd like say to the people of Detroit?
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at one of my shows in the future! | RDW
Mat Zo • 2/20, 9 p.m. • Necto • 516 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor • necto.com • 734.994.5835 • $10/$20