From: A Swiss and an Australian, based in Singapore
Rising star DJ/producer of 2021: “We feel that as the world was shut down, there was not much opportunity for new talents to showcase their skills, but rather existing producers who continued to release great music.”
Mathias and Stas are Rave Republic. Based in Singapore, the duo shot to fame for their progressive, genre-defying shows. Performing together for less than a decade, they’ve already worked with esteemed acts such as Luciana and Dash Berlin, packing out mainstages at festivals including Ultra Singapore and Electric Daisy Carnival China.
Asia’s extended lockdown restrictions meant that the pair were separated during the Covid-19 pandemic. After investing in a professional home setup, they stayed connected with each other, and their loyal fan base, through livestreams.
The committed DJs have made recent appearances at festivals across Thailand, including Mystic Valley, while continuing to release energetic chart anthems. ‘Rave Is Our Religion’, made with Olly James, jumped to the top spot of Beatport’s Hard Dance Chart this summer. Speaking about some landmark label collaborations this year, they told DJ Mag: “We've been welcomed by the Rave Culture family with open arms, while also continuing releasing on other big electronic labels.”
How was your first gig back after lockdown?
“We live in Asia where lockdowns pretty much still persist. However, we are super happy to announce that we are back on tour, and have an action-packed schedule lined up.”
How have the last 18 months changed how you view your work/life balance?
“Going from one of the busiest tour schedules in the industry was incredibly tough. We actually came to realise that we prefer a 'worse' work/life balance, as our job is what we love most in the world.”
What further steps should the industry take to combat climate change?
“From a touring standpoint, we think that we have already been heading in the direction towards 'greener' forms of travel and reusability, as most people prefer trains over planes. We also tend to walk whenever the distance is under two to three kilometres instead of taking transport.”
What’s the best bit of tech you’ve added to your studio or DJ setup this year?
"Everything that we have added was centred around livestreaming. Creating a streaming setup, investing in cameras and a sound card was crucial in maintaining engagement with our listeners.”
What’s the best album you’ve heard this year?
Stas: “The lockdowns brought out some nostalgia in me, and re-listening to Miike Snow's self-titled album and Mumford & Sons albums were the highlights.” Matt: “I listen to a lot of hip-hop, and I thought Migos's newest album ‘Culture III’ was really cool.”
2020 is Rave Republic’s third appearance in a row in the Top 100 DJs list, and in the space of ten years, the pair have gone from unknowns, starting their careers, to playing at some of the biggest clubs and events while topping charts across the world.
Mathias and Stas formed Rave Republic in 2014 and their debut release ‘Far Away’ in 2015 went straight to the No.1 spot on the iTunes Dance Chart. Based in Singapore, the duo quickly picked up DJ residencies at clubs in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines and have gone on to become main-stage mainstays at events like Ultra Singapore, It’s The Ship and Electric Daisy Carnival China.
Big tune for them this year was their electro-house stormer ‘Dragon’ with TBR on TurnItUp Music and they also hit hard with the catchy crossover of their ‘Free Fall’ collaboration with Tim Morrison on Spinnin’, ‘Time To Rock’ with TWISTERZ and with the raw wonky synths of their Justin Prime collaboration ’Lionheart’.
What three things have most helped you through Coronavirus Lockdown?
“1. Live streams. 2. Social media to connect deeply with fans (we reply to everyone!). 3. Video games.”
What lessons should the industry learn from this crisis?
“We need to be patient; nothing lasts forever, but we will all recover.”
What steps need to be taken to address the racism in the dance music scene?
“Talent is talent, regardless of race or gender identity. There is no place for discrimination in any scene.”
What industry changes are you personally pushing for to make the dance music scene more inclusive?
“Asia region talents are severely underrepresented in dance music. We have lived in Asia for over 12 years, and mentor people we see here with potential and bring them up with us.”
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
“Armand Van Helden ‘You Don't Know Me’.”
It’s only been four years since Stas Madorski, one half of Singapore’s Rave Republic alongside Mathias Schellt, left his corporate job to pursue music full-time, but the duo’s huge following in Asia and beyond quickly yielded Top 100 success, earning their debut in the poll last year.
Playing in trademark white shirts and black ties, they still take a business-minded approach to succeeding in the globally competitive world of EDM. In the last twelve months, they’ve continued to push their big room sound far and wide, making their first forays over to South America and Africa, while keeping up a heavy touring schedule closer to home with numerous shows across the ever-emerging territory of China.
Studio wise, high-profile collaborations with Jeffrey Sutorius, aka Dash Berlin, and Justin Prime show the esteem they’re currently held in over in Europe. This is backed by their debut on Dutch powerhouse Spinnin', who are releasing a remake of ‘Heartbreaker’.
If you’re pondering the realities of an actual rave republic though, we reckon increased CO2 emissions from ceremonial ice cannons make it an environmental nightmare.
Do you submit your DJ setlists to the relevant royalties collecting society?
“Never, but we should.”
What more can we do to combat the mental health crisis in our scene?
“Managers and agencies need to know the limits of their acts. However, DJs also need to be comfortable enough to let others know when they reach theirs.”
Are you personally doing anything to improve the gender balance of line-ups?
“Although most line-ups mirror popularity, it is clear that there is a steady incline of female DJs/producers who are incredibly talented and on the rise. We’re always looking for fresh talent and potential collaborations, irrespective of gender identity.”
What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?
“We stopped showering this year [laughs]. We try and stick to public transport when off tour.”
What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?
Stas: “Tamagochi.” Matt: “GameBoy.”
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Stas: “Pokémon Go.” Matt: “Eating cereal late at night.”
DJ style: “EDM/open format.”
Best known for: “Our charting dance/ pop releases on Warner Music and our style of remixes for tracks like ‘Viva La Vida’ and ‘Happy Now’.”
Fave tune of 2018: “Merk & Kremont ‘Fire’ and Bazzi ‘Mine’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2018: “Myrne from Singapore. He’s killing it and representing our home region at the top level.”
Since meeting after an impromptu back-to-back set some seven years ago, “Asia’s biggest DJ duo” Rave Republic have gone on to sign with Warner Music, rack up approximately two million streams on Spotify, score two No. 1 hits on iTunes, a No. 1 album, and play on the main stages of festivals like Ultra Singapore and EDC China, while rocking countless Top 100 Clubs alongside giants like Afrojack, DJ Snake, Skrillex, Marshmello, Nicky Romero, Alesso and more. And this year, Mathias Schell and Stas Madorski worked hard to take things even bigger in 2019.
“We’ve been touring a lot around Asia and recently did some shows in USA and Europe,” they say. “We’ve finished off a number of tracks, including a dance/pop hit with Luciana and Warner Music due for release very soon!”
They say they’ve also been working on some new EDM bombs that they’ve been roadtesting at shows. “They’re ready to take to labels — some we are still looking for the right vocalist.” We can’t wait.
Words: CHANDLER SHORTLIDGE