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they were still using Soundlabs and stuff like that. Ten me and John Lime, who I started out with, bought a drum machine in about 1986 or ’87. We’d sit all night in our bedrooms programming that. It took over my life really, took over my teenage years anyway. I was just absolutely fascinated by it. And then as soon as we could afford to, we found a studio - a place called North Gate - back in about ‘88. And it was when they started becoming affordable for someone, you know, who wasn’t a well-known producer. So we took the plunge with that and we were down the studio every other week. Or whenever we could afford it. We were putting stuff together and experimenting, then we come up with and acid tune in ’89, which we got a release on and that was the start of SL2.

Is there a bit of tech now, that one bit of tech that you would have loved to have had back in the day to make you job easier, or do you think all those hours that you poured into it was something you needed to do? I suppose recording audio, which didn’t really start until the mid-90s I think probably, to your average sort of person, but everyone uses audio now rather than midi. If we could have done that... I mean, we were sampling stuff and you could only really sample a couple of seconds of anything when we first started! You know, computer memories weren’t tiny; at the time we was working off of floppy discs and stuff! And if we could have had some sort of audio recording then that would have been great, I suppose.

And do you think that is important, that people who are in dance production now actually broaden their horizons wider than their own genre; that they get to know other types of music? Yeah, totally; I mean, the rave scene was borne out of sampling really. Tere was a lot of hip hop influence in the early 90s, people like Shut Up and Dance as well, with their beats, as well as us – even Prodigy had a big hip-hop influence as well as the reggae thing as well. But yeah, the rave scene

tended to bring all sorts of different genres together into making a rave tune, which is good. Te thing is, these days there’s so much… so many tracks being produced that maybe there’s not as much imagination going into make a track, possibly. Not everyone, but there’s so much out there; it’s become so accessible to them to make them. I think a lot of them tend to just, ‘right I want to make a track and I want it sound like that’, and you end up with a lot that’s very samey.

I was going to ask you what you think of the difference fractures in dance music now, because everything that you created then, and were part of and evolved has now got so many subsidiaries, hasn’t it? Yeah, it’s a bit of a shame really that everything split so much but I suppose it’s just a natural progression, d’you know what I mean? People will just sort of know what they like and then there becomes so much music out there that people get in to, say, the jungle thing and then they get so into it that don’t want to listen to anything else. You can't blame them for it, but it's just the way it goes. But one of the beauties of the early rave scene was that there could be so many different styles of music being played in one arena, even in the early hardcore years of like ’92, ’93. Tey tended to like broader styles, even if they tended towards breakbeat, or slightly tougher hardcore beats. Whereas as time moved on, people tended to be like, ‘No, that’s what I want to listen to’ and all the raves became split into different rooms and stuff, or you’d get

a jungle DJ come on after a hardcore DJ and they’d all shoot off! It’s a shame, but it’s the way humans are, I suppose; you like what you're in to and if you can get enough, that's the way you’re gonna do it!



You seemed to capture the sound of a generation. I think was 10 when ‘… Ragga Tip’ came out so I just missed out my raving, but it was on all my dance compilations. Were you aware, when you put the tune together that it was going to be a classic? We actually planned that to be the B- side, or the Double A side of that release, but when we got it back and took it down to XL we were like, ‘hold on a minute. Tis is a bit special.’ Like you were saying, there’s just that little bit of magic to it. I think that we captured - not by mistake, but we didn’t realise how magical it was at that time. And then we thought, ‘right, let’s not take the easy route. Let's go for it and work on the rest.’ But it still gets played today. It’s still the biggest tune in a lot of my sets, even now that it’s like 20, 21 years later. I’ve heard Shy FX and even Rodigan’s played it. I get calls nearly every week from people saying, ‘Matt, Matt, your tune’s on the radio!’

It must have been such a heady time for you in those days. You must have been doing so much traveling. Did you cope well with it as a younger man? Yeah, we used to go out on the piss loads after gigs and all that, play up as you do when you’re younger; ruined a few hotel rooms and stuff! We got into trouble, but nah, we coped and it’s been 22 years of traveling now as a DJ, so even now at 46 years old, I’m still coping with it!

Emma R. Garwood

Slipmatt comes to the Waterfront as part of the line up for REUNION, along with Te Prodigy tribute, Jilted Generation. For tickets, go to Read the uncut version online at

28 /November 2013/

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