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Dublin-born, Berlin-based techno producer Matador is turning up the heat with his tasty productions...

Gavin Lynch discovered a love for electronic music at a very early age. An avid vinyl collector and dab hand in the kitchen, he took a job as a part-time chef to help feed his vinyl and music addiction. With a pair of skilled hands, he took the jump into sound engineering and music production — a self-professed techno nut who is equally skilled in the studio and the kitchen. Matador is cooking up a storm in the techno world, with tunes for a host of respected labels like Trapez, Perc Trax and M_nus, so we badgered him about his studio techniques...

Why did you want to get into music production?
“I started DJing when I was 16 and rapidly built a decent sized vinyl collection. So many tracks inspired me at that time that I wanted to learn to produce my own music. I bought a couple of pieces of equipment and went back to college on a sound engineering course. I worked part-time as a chef too, but eventually I made the leap into production full-time.”

What were the sounds that got you hooked?
“Mixes from Dave Clarke, Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin. The mixes themselves and the tracks within them were a huge influence, along with the various artist albums released from all three of the above mentioned. My musical taste spans decades and takes in all genres. Motown was a favourite in my house as a child and techno featured heavily in my teens. But I’m into everything really and it all counts as inspiration for the techno I produce.”

What's your current studio set-up like?
“I use an SSL Nucleus at the core of my studio for hands-on control. I sequence primarily in Logic, plug-in-wise I run Waves plug-ins for dynamics, Soundtoys for FX and some Focusrite bits too. Outside of the box, I draw most of my inspiration from my synths, ranging from Moogs to Roland, both old and new gear. I tend to use my Apogee converters for tracking synths, I’ve used them from when I was at college and they’ve never failed me over the years! I use some nice pieces of outboard for colouring the sound throughout the recording process, and at the final stages, UA, SSL, Thermionic, Chandler, TLA.”

Do you follow a set routine when you are producing?
“No, not really, I try not to set an alarm, as I prefer to wake up naturally. I normally have a coffee and then settle into the studio for the day — some days turn into nights, but it just depends on what I’m working on or how things are coming together. A track has to grow organically for me. If it’s not working, sometimes it’s better to scrap it and start again — which leads to longer days in the studio.”

The new EP sounds great — how did it all come together?
“I was writing throughout the year, and then I had a really good run in Sept/Oct last year and ended up finishing 11 tracks over the space of a month, starting new tracks and finishing ideas that I had started.”

Are you using a lot of samples, or hardware to produce your music?
“I very rarely use samples. I tend to record vocals myself, I use hardware almost all of the time, it just sounds better for me, a much richer original sound.”

What are the techniques you employ to get your tracks sounding so good?
“I’ve learned and I continue to learn every day, but with every day you should get better, making it much more enjoyable to write music and get those ideas down onto track. I take my tracks from the very start right through to the mastering, so I am with them for their whole journey through modification, tweaking, processing. I want to retain a certain rawness to them, I feel I have got them to that place.”

Would you consider yourself a bit of a tech junkie?
“Yes I am. Whenever I get a new piece of studio equipment, I spend ages watching tutorials and reading manuals. I like to fully understand what I’m using. When I take my live set on the road I run two laptops, running Ableton. Within that, lots of clips, audio and MIDI, various aux channels with FX with multiple possibilities. On the hardware side, I use a Livid Cntrl R, and run a Maschine Micro with virtual 808, 909, Cr78 and various other drum machines.”

You prefer playing live to DJing — why?
“DJing is not something I’ve done in a while but it is something I’ll get back to in the future. Producing and playing live go hand in hand for me. I love playing live, love the crowds, love the travel, and love meeting new people — there’s something extra special about playing your own music. But that’s really what it comes back to — producing my own music, and that’s my first love.”

Every young techno producer out there will want to know how your relationship with M_nus came about...

“From the minute I began buying records, I was buying M_nus. For me, an affiliation with a label that housed such influential techno producers was the dream. I sent through a few originals that I’d been working on and waited. A few months later, Richie was playing a show in Dublin and I was booked as support. It was a great opportunity to showcase what I was doing at the time and talk directly to Richie. He was interested in the sound and a couple of weeks later, he signed everything I’d sent him. That was an incredible feeling. It really made me focus, and drove me back into the studio to write more material.”

What projects are you currently working on?
“Well currently I’m working on an album in my studio in Dublin, so I’ve taken a couple of months off touring to write it. That’s the big project! And I’m also working on ideas/concepts for my new live show, which is going to frame the music that I write. So I’m excited to see both coming together.”

What can we expect?
“Something very special — I’ve moved my studio back to Dublin for this, back to where I wrote so much of my past material, it's a special place for me, so I have a good feeling about the studio and what’s going to happen over the coming months.”

Why have you moved your studio?
“The scene in Dublin has come full circle again. When I started DJing, there was a huge amount of clubs to go to. Record stores were full on a Saturday afternoon with folks buying to play that night. And then the clubs that we knew and loved began closing down and the scene shrank. But there were still good parties if you looked in the right places! And over the last two years the scene has been coming back in a big way. There’s been some new clubs opened and a wealth of new Irish producers coming through, and that’s really fuelled the home scene. The demand is here for the music and there’s no shortage of international acts booked to play in Dublin.”