“Hi, I’m Tom!”
Even in the dimly lit lobby of the Pendry Hotel, it would be insanely hard to miss the towering, smiling Norwegian that stood with total confidence. Tom Lagergren, better known as Matoma, had 20 minutes until his set at OMNIA Night Club in Downtown San Diego. Despite close timing, the producer/DJ let OneEDM have the pleasure of a quick chat with insight on the 26 year old’s journey to tropical house notoriety.
Claire Calvet: We’ll start with your piano background. What initially pushed you towards electronic while having a strong dedication to classical music?
Matoma: When I was 16 years old, I had a scholarship given to talented kids and was practicing four or five hours a day. I think at some point in my life, I realized, “I’m just reading all these notes on these sheets, this isn’t giving me anything”.
I’ve always listened to and will continue listening to classical music, but at that point I started falling in love with pop music. I played all these records from Elton John and other pop groups and even film music. I stopped classical and started producing a year later. I bought myself a computer and I got really into sampling.
CC: Speaking of, what drove you to use the Biggie samplings?
Matoma: My brother introduced me to old school hip-hop when I was seven. And at that time I didn’t understand anything. The only things I listened to were the grooves and the beats. There was something about his beats that made me dance. When I got into middle school and high school, I started to understand the lyrics and really got into the history of the east and west coast with hip hop culture.
In college, I was a student DJ and I wanted to play the old school records, but they didn’t work at the student community. It wasn’t that big in Norway; new disco and tropical flavor was really hot. I started mixing the two and creating my mashups, and it really got the people to dance. That’s when I started experimenting with that sound.
CC: You’re largely mentioned in the music industry as a tropical house DJ. Is that something you agree with or do you associate with more than one genre?
Matoma: I don’t really feel that my hip-hop remixes are tropical house. Sure, they’re tropical inspired, but they’re more like new disco with the Iceland and tropical vibe. It doesn’t have the four-on-the-floor, typical groove of tropical house. I definitely have a few songs that I feel are very tropical house, but songs like “Old Thing Back” are more new disco sound.
CC: Who is your dream collab with?
Matoma: My dream collaboration is with Will Smith. I’ve done two unofficial remixes of his in Norway, and the official Miami remix. We contacted his management and they went into his archives for us to find the stems, but it was on tape. They had to convert it from tape to digital. We’re the only team to have “Miami” a capella.
CC: You’ve been tweeting about some big surprises coming up for your fans. Care to elaborate a little?
Matoma: I just dropped the tribute to Biggie the 21st of May on his birthday as tribute to the 20th year of his passing. I got together with Faith Evans and Snoop Dogg and made “Party On The West Coast“. August will bring a new single as well.
The night went on and Matoma did not disappoint. His set was full of his iconic new disco sound, along with a few surprising hip-hop/club jams from the early 2000’s. He’s about half way through his current tour, so make sure to keep up on his socials to catch his next set in your city.
Official site: http://www.hakunamatoma.com/