Insight Interview: Matt Manser

As a DJ and producer, Matt Manser orchestrates an ethereal symphony of soundscapes, drawing inspiration from the London’s eclectic energy.

His latest work, the captivating EP ‘Lie to Me,’ serves as a testament to his boundless creativity and genre-defying vision.

The EP seamlessly weaves together ambient tranquility and pulsating rhythms, transcending conventional boundaries to craft a mesmerising fusion of future garage and chill electronica. With each track, Matt Manser invites listeners into a kaleidoscope of emotions, where serene melodies intertwine with vibrant beats, all cocooned within captivating atmospheric textures. Join us as we find out more about the artist and unravel the enchanting narrative behind ‘Lie to Me.

Hey Matt! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into the world of music production? What motivated you to start producing music? 

 

Like a lot of people I started out playing in bands. I used to play guitar in metal bands and remember recording an EP and being fascinated by the studio environment. I think this is where my interest in music production started. From there I become obsessed with drum & bass, particularly, neuro drum & bass as the some of the sound design is insane. As I have grown older my taste has mellowed a lot and I am now much more interested in melody and atmosphere.  

Artistic Process

Walk us through your artistic process. How do you typically start a new track, and how does it evolve from there? 

 

I have a very basic template that I have made within Ableton. This just has my return channels and some tracks with a basic EQ setup. I like to start with a blank slate and see what comes out. I go through periods where I have loads of ideas and also periods where I have none so I always try to get my ideas down as soon as I have them, even if it is just a very basic riff or sample. From there it is always a bit random. Some tracks will be finished in a day and other can take me months.  

Given your background in playing the guitar, how does that play a role in your production process? 

 

I definitely feel most at home writing ideas on the guitar. Often I will write a drum loop and then play around over it on my guitar until something comes together. From there it is usually just a case of translating that idea into Ableton.  

Musical Influences and Style

Your bio mentions a diverse range of influences. How do these influences manifest in your music, especially in genres like ambient, house, and future garage? 

 

As I mentioned before drum & bass was definitely the first electronic music that I loved, however, I have always listened to different genres. I still love metal a lot but most find myself listening to melodic house and techno and future garage nowadays. There is definitely still a noticeable influence of drum & bass in my music though as I try to make interesting basses and some higher energy music.  

Can you share some insights into your studio setup and any favourite tools or instruments you use to achieve your distinctive sound?

 

To be fair my studio is really minimalist since after years of trial and error I understood that my workflow benefits from having small to no hardware at all.

I have a pair of Sennheiser HD600 that I produce, mix and master with often going through translation checks and corrective frequency response to get the flattest response I can have, paired with a Motu Ultralite mk5 interface and an Arturia Keystep 37 MIDI keyboard.

I plan to get at least one synthesizer this year and upgrade my headphones, maybe some external fx’s but I don’t plan to build a wall of synths kind of studio, that would be an obstacle to my workflow and need of releasing music whenever I desire.

Sometimes I use again sounds from past releases but more often than not my sound is constantly changing and evolving.

Studio Setup and Gear

Could you share some insights into your studio setup? Any favourite equipment or software that you find essential to your sound? 

 

My studio setup is incredibly basic. I travel a lot for my work so usually work from just my laptop and headphones. I also primarily use the stock Ableton plug-ins.I do also have a small studio at my home with a mic, monitors and interface which I use to finalise my mixdowns and add extra ideas to tracks.  

EP Release – ‘Lie to Me’

Can you provide a glimpse into the inspiration behind this project and what listeners can expect from it? 

 

For this EP I wanted to make music that ranges from slower ambient music to slightly higher energy music with an emphasis being place on floating ambient atmospheres blended with interesting bass design. I wanted to make a mix of music that works both to relax and also played in a set.  

‘Lie to Me’ is a 4-track EP that oscillates between serene ambient compositions and vibrant beats.

Are there specific themes or emotions you aimed to convey in the ‘Lie to Me’ EP? 

 

This intention behind this EP was to blend melancholic melodies with higher energy drum patterns. I have always preferred working in a minor key and love music that blends slower more ambient sounds with higher energy elements.  

Collaborations and Inspirations

Have you collaborated with other artists, and if so, how has that influenced your creative process?  

 

I used to produce drum& bass under another alias Makarii with one of my closest friends Sam (LowLight)  He is an incredibly talented producer who has taught me a lot. We have very different skills so I always share new ideas with him. He is a programmer and loves intricate sound design. He has definitely shown me a lot of tricks that I now use in my production. I am sure we will make some more music together in the near future.

Are there any dream collaborations or artists you would love to work with in the future? 

 

I have been a massive fan of Phaeleh for as long as I can remember so that would be an absolute dream. I have also been loving Phelian, Vacant, Subsets, Dawncall and Lazarus Moment so any of these would also be amazing to work with. 

Balancing DJing and Producing: 

Being both a DJ and a producer, how do you find a balance between performing live and creating in the studio? Does one influence the other? 

 

I love both Djing and producing but definitely spend more time in the studio these days. There is nothing more rewarding than sharing new music with others which is why I think being able to use primarily your own music when Djing is a great goal to work toward. One of the things that I love about future garage is that there is so much room for creative freedom. Unlike drum & bass there is not a standard bpm of key. This also means that you can be much more creative when Djing 

Future Aspirations

What are your goals and aspirations as an artist in the coming years? Any specific projects or genres you’re eager to explore? 

 

I mainly just want to keep making music as I love the process. Getting an idea down and working through it until it sounds right is almost meditative for me. I would love to work on some colabs to open me up to new ideas of working. I am very excited to put music out through Insight music and I have some more music in the works currently which I can hopefully finish soon. 

Advice for Emerging Artists

For aspiring music producers, especially those delving into genres like ambient, house, and future garage, what advice would you offer based on your own experiences? 

 

I think my main piece of advise would be to just make the music that you want to make. Initially, I would try to focus more on getting your ideas down and establishing a sound as the production and mixing skills will come later. I spent so many years not sharing my music as I was too busy obsessing over my mixdowns but I think you learn more from gaining feedback, so if your happy with a track then it can’t hurt to share it. I also think listening to a variety of different genres can be a great source of inspiration.  

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Big thank you to Matt for the interview! We’d love for you to show thanks to the artist by supporting him on the following platforms:

Soundcloud | Spotify | Instagram

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