[Interview] D.M.V.U. Talks About His Sudden Success, Side Projects, And Music History
D.M.V.U.'s appearance at Aisle 5 was a highly anticipated affair and came with strong support from Doyle and Ives. Doyle had the audience in his hands as he cleverly moved around through a wide variety of bass music. He was really fun to watch as he rapped, sang, and danced along to every song with the audience. He has an intimate level of knowledge of his music library, and his timing was always perfect.
Ives came on next and went way harder with his beats, but I felt like his eyes never left his laptop and it was more difficult to engage with the music only being able to imagine what wondrous communication lay between laptop and laptop face. He mixed music like an endurance runner might approach a race, with constant energy maintained throughout. He was even stanced with one foot stretched out behind him like he was preparing to leap through his laptop screen into the waves of music. He played a lot of great tunes, but it was a bit exhausting watching him get lost in his own world of racing consciousness.
During Ives’ set, I stepped outside with D.M.V.U. (Matt) to talk about his musical influences and latest side project. Coming off the recent success of his single "Bloccd," he's been garnering a lot of attention and is capitalizing off it with tour dates and a new fanbase.
In previous interviews, you’ve talked about the value of being persistently weird and being comfortable in that weirdness. I wanted to know, who are some of your weird heroes?
Honestly, Tom Waits, and Sun Ra, and Aphex Twin. He’s the first electronic music I heard. I thought music was all guitars and then I heard Aphex Twin and was like what the fuck? Movies, too. I get hella inspiration from people like David Lynch who make weird movies that make you uncomfortable.
You know your music history So are you totally happy producing music today or do you ever wish you could have popped up in a different time or place?
Oh yeah, I like right now. I would have failed at any other time. The internet saved my life. I would be a mess without the internet. I feel like even if I was born a few years earlier, it probably wouldn’t have worked out.
Do you think we live in the most democratic period in music history?
Yeah, kind of. The world got really small with the internet. Someone would write a crazy new track and no one would hear it for years because they couldn’t just find it. Now, some kid changes the game with a song, and he uploads it right after he made it. It’s instant. I can’t keep up with it, and it’s intimidating, the amount of game-changing music that’s coming out. I hear so much music all the time that is so new and confusing, it’s crazy. It fucks me up.
I know you find hip-hop and dubstep to both be really important musical movements. Can you talk about why you feel that way?
I love hip-hop because it’s a global force for peace, but it’s also just some dirty gangbanger shit that has nothing to do with peace or equality. It’s just about getting lit and having fun. There’s no other genre that hits both ends of that spectrum. Hip-hop is in your face, either one way or the other, or both. And I think trap is the dopest thing in the whole world. Trap is this new thing that is so nonspecific that it’s changing music. Dubstep is always 140 and it has these specific aspects to it. There’s no BPM or anything specific at all to trap. But then there’s real trap. The specific, real, original trap is just Atlanta music.
So what’s up next for you? Are you still just cruising off “Bloccd” for now?
Yeah, kind of. I just have a bunch of shows lined up right now. It’s weird because a lot of people correlate my recent success with “Bloccd, but the timeline is slightly backwards. I had been signed to Circus and Rogue Agency before “Bloccd” came out, but then it got really big and every loose end in my entire life tied together in one month. I feel like I’m tripping every day. It is bizarre. I never thought I’d be standing in Atlanta, headlining a show.
But you’ve been producing for eight years, so what were you doing before these opportunities opened up?
Working at Subway and DJing locally. Being really bad at selling weed. I don’t do it any more, but I tried for a year. I would break even, or if I did make ten dollars, I would just buy Burger King, or buy weed. I didn’t have a car or a phone. I wasn’t good at it.
Well, congrats on the come-up. What’s up next for you?
I have this really dank side project called Ghost Creek. It’s downtempo pop music with a vocalist. I’m honestly more proud of that than most of the music I’ve made myself recently. I produce all of it, but I have a vocalist sing over it. I suggest lyrics, but he writes most of the vocals. I wouldn’t be Ghost Creek without him, and he wouldn’t be Ghost Creek without me. That’s one thing I’m super proud of, as of recently.
D.M.V.U.’s set was one of the best I’ve heard in a while, and had a great mix of trap, dubstep, and weird west coast bass. I heard some familiar favorites in there, but was mostly impressed by the variety and freshness of the tunes. The show didn't’ sell out, but the crowd that was there was all raging out to his set all night, and I found myself consistently pulled to the front of the room to rage out with everyone else. Hopefully this is the beginning of a long and successful career for him, now that he’s got everyone paying attention.
Photos by Megan Friddle for Bullet Music.