If there was a way to describe what Blue Frog, Mumbai experienced on 9th October, we’d probably put it as “extraordinary”. Matan Zohar better known as Mat Zo returned to the land of butter chicken for his four legged tour. What made it extraordinary, however, was the beautifully curated set he’d put together for every audience member at a packed venue on a Thursday night.
Musically gifted from the start, it all started for Zohar at the age of 8, when his father gifted him a guitar which began Matan’s musical odyssey. Initially starting off as a bassist and drummer, Matan drew influences from the sounds of legends such as The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk. By his teenage years, his inclinations switched a tad electronic and by 16, he was already DJing. Gaining steady recognition from prominent producers, 2007 was his huge break. This was the year Dutch heavyweight Tiesto hired him to officially remix, “Driving To Heaven”. This remix was featured on Tiesto’s “In Search of Sunrise 7” compilation, and the rest as they say, is history. As the years passed by, Mat Zo has gained top notch support from the likes of Tiesto, Ferry Corsten, Above & Beyond, Airwave, Markus Schulz and more. Numerous originals and countless remixes later, Mat continues to keep things evolving, never failing to surprise us with his crossover genre mashing in any given track. For a 24 year old Londoner, Mat’s repertoire of music would gladly blow over any competition out of the water.
Continuing his annual trend of visiting India, Mat had clearly slaughtered the audience when he dropped by Bangalore for TATW450/ABGT 001. This time, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Indore would pay host to the, how do we put it best, Matness.
Co-hosted by Submerge and Decibel, the nights started young as the domestic acts of Zed& Em neatly put together a sparkling tech set. The dance floor was still filling up, as people made their way to the venue at their own pace. Homegrown favourite, DJ Nawed’s techno alias Brown Coat warmed us up to all the Matness to follow. Starting off with Mario Basanov’s remix of “Hiding In Darkness” and then switching to Michelle Owen, Kruse & Nuernberg’s “We Find Deep”, Brown Coat had each member of the audience grooving as they entered. Next up were Coyu’s “Profound Pleasure” and Dousk’s remix of “Roots”, that upped the tempo and that’s when we’d realized- this musical soundscape had begun to flourish. As the initial bits of Jay Lumen’s “Dusty Memories” came on, the audience was gradually shifting to the dance floor.
Blue Frog has an ability to lend dark-moody vibes for its performances, owing to its impressive sound and light production and that’s something we cherish deeply. Brown Coat’s fine selection kept that feeling close, and everyone on the floor suddenly discovered their best dance moves as he dropped Format:B’s “Der Samtfalter” followed by one of our favourites, “Beat Organ” by 16 Bit Lolitas. Not one to just dish out any average performance, Brown Coat also premiered two original tracks, which are due for release soon. With a bassline so hard, our spines shivered when Brown Coat’s “They Not In” slaughtered the audience. It was official, Brown Coat had filled up the dance floor and his quest was complete. As Submerge director Nikhil Chinapa took to the stage to thank Brown Coat for a stupendous set, he also took this opportunity to introduce Mat Zo. He mentioned a surprise of some sorts, and he implored the audience to enjoy the music without attempting to analyze or understand it. The first thing that came to our minds was Mat Zo was about to thrown down some real good underground tunes, and what came to follow- answered our prayers quite satisfactorily.
As the clock struck half past eleven, Mat came onto the stage with a huge smile plastered across. The audience, as the first leg of this Indian tour kicked off with a bang. To our genuine surprise and absolute enthusiasm, Mat started dishing out extreme funk and old school disco that kept our audience ravaging in its bliss. Keeping things hard hitting with Pleasurekraft’s remix of “The Bumps”, he switched out to Artifact’s “Even”, which got the crowd yelling its approval. Reveling in the underground, Matan immediately dished out Sven Kerhoff’s remix of “Treason” which was soon followed by the audience chanting “Names” every time the vocal sample on Treasure Finger’s hit “Names” was dropped.
Upping the tempo, Matan’s musical journey took a fashionable turn when he dropped his banger of a tune “Get Down To Get Up”. Keeping things purely experimental, Mat soon had the crowd stomping limbs when he kicked in the bass with Chocolate Puma’s remix of “Bassline”. The house adaptation had begun, and soon we were all grooving to killer hits from the likes of EDX’s “Make Me Feel Good” to Peter Gelderblom’s “We Built This House”.
Things took an interesting turn as Mat had clearly reached the peak of his musical escapade, or so we assumed. Clearly being venturesome, the audience absolutely lost their mind when he dropped some slick acid house in the form of “The Pleasure Dome” by David Tort, and soon cued up Axwell’s remix of “Dreams”. Taking things to a level of “in your face electro”, hard hitting synths were soon felt all over with the Bixel Boys remix of “Vikings” followed. Not long after, Mat teased us with a tantalizing emotive remix of his iconic “Pyramid Scheme”.
If any of you thought Mat was about to take his foot off the gas, bite your tongue. The Matness had begun, and its curator was in full swing. Grooving to every knob turning on his decks, Matan’s constant nods of approval inspired us even further to dance the night away with numbers such as Bobby Puma’s “Rocking with the Best” and ATFC’s “Spread Love”. What firmly jammed the gas pedal was Matan’s insane mashup of Tiesto’s “Cmon” vs Nom De Strip’s “Grandma”. A scorching bassline paid due credits to the opening symphonies of Above & Beyond’s “Blue Sky Action”.
We totally mean it when we say that Mat had crossed out almost every genre in the book. Taking things to the dark side, Mat instilled supreme bass into his set with monstrous tunes such as Ruffneck’s “Everybody Be Somebody”. Next up was Skrillex’s “Dirty Vibe”, and boy did that dancefloor get nasty (in a good way, ofcourse!) However, a special mention must go out to Tujamo’s beautifully haunting “Death March” he dropped that had the audience brandishing their Jedi best (figuratively speaking).
Taking things to the emotive element of dance music, we absolutely flipped as the ethereal vocals of Above & Beyond’s “Satellite” started blaring out from the speakers. Dropping an immense remix of this classic, this was soon followed by some future house in the form of Oliver Heldens’ “Gecko” that later gave way to A-Trak’s remix of “Sleepless”. What a scintillating moment for all!
Wrapping it up with fine tracks that never once allowed us a breather, Matan dished out Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike’s party starting track “Nova”, followed by Laidback Luke’s remix of System F’s chart topper “Out Of The Blue”. By the time Chris Lake’s “Goodbye” burst its way into the Frog, our limbs were weary but our hearts kept urging for more.
At around half past one, Matan ended his set with the audience completely spent, yet in awe of what they’d just witnessed. Nikhil Chinapa also walked out onto the stage to thank the audience for coming out on a Thursday night to witness what might have been one of the finest sets we’d witness all year. A set that had broken all genre barriers and in fact, created its very own.
Big ups to Submerge and Decibel for treating us to a night that’ll be cherished. Thank you for ensuing the “Matness” never stops!
Reviewed by: Saurabh Dhope
Edited by: Hamed Khalidi