Milton Jackson & Matt Masters discuss their Viaggio EP, Lazy Days, Freerange Records, Fred Everything and Studio Set-Ups

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Milton Jackson & Matt Masters discuss their Viaggio EP, Lazy Days, Freerange Records, Fred Everything and Studio Set-Ups

Continuing their 2022 schedule with another new signing. This time, Lazy Days welcome Milton Jackson and Matt Masters with their first ever collaboration.

Releasing his first record at 18 years old on Tronic Sole and being called by Jockey Slut magazine the most exciting thing to happen to UK house music, Barry Christie (aka Milton Jackson) went on become a household name in House Music, in part due to his break through track Ghost In My Machineson Freerange. The track won a Beatport Award for Best Deep House track of 2008 and won in the DJ Awards in the Deep House category at Pacha (Ibiza) in 2009. He then went on to DJ around the world and remix artists such as Romanthony, Recloose (Planet E), Joey Negro & Groove Armada as well as collaborating with SHOW-B as Pattern Select and Shur-I-Kan, with whom he runs the Dark Energy label. After a short hiatus, Milton Jackson has been making his presence known again with some hot releases on Housewax, Freerange, Closer To The Truth and Lazy Days.

Matt Masters is not only an accomplished DJ and Producer but he has worked for Freerange Records for the last 18 years. He hosts the monthly Freerange radio show and also works for their excellent label sister label, Delusions Of Grandeur. Matt has also been building his name as a producer in his own right including releasing a classy album Never Ending Nights and a well loved EP with Jimpster Dub Come Down.

On their first collaborative EP Viaggio, Milton & Matt take us deep into their sonic journey through 3 tracks filled with textures, choice samples and beautiful keys without ever losing touch of the dance floor. All the best ingredients weve come to expect from the UK Deep House sound we love. On his remix for Viaggio, Fred Everything strips things down a bit, adding key stabs and percussions as well as his signature bounce to the track. Heres to hoping this is only the first in a series of collaborations from the pair!

You can check out our premier of the title track of the EP below along with our review here.

Grab the Viaggio EP from: https://lazydaysrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/viaggio-ep-incl-fred-everything-remix

For the occasion, we thought we would ask Milton Jackson to interview Matt Masters and vice versa.

Milton Jackson interviews Matt Masters :

1) You weathered the birth of a baby boy during lockdown. How’s that all going and how are you finding juggling all your new commitments plus finding time to produce, DJ and record the Freerange show?

I am loving fatherhood right now. It’s amazing what having a baby does in terms of putting things in perspective. He (Finley) is also very well behaved so we are very lucky. It is a challenge so I am trying to produce music when I can grab a few hours here and there. This is around the day job plus the time spent going through a large volume of promos and demos that are sent to us for the label and the radioshow. I am very grateful for all the new music that comes my way. Due to COVID restrictions it’s been very quiet on the DJ front. Hopefully now things are improving, the gigs will start up again and I will be able to play all the great music that’s been building up in my collection on some big sound systems.

2) I have this theory that AI will be able to create fairly decent house and dance music within 10 years. Would you agree with this?

Yes I don’t doubt it. I am not sure if it will ever have that human swing to it and no idea what kind of grooves it will create but you never know!

3) You’ve worked for the Freerange label for many years now. What have been the biggest changes over the years? What are the biggest challenges currently – in terms of the scene and for record labels generally?

We have had many changes over the years. The initial shift from physical releases to digital releases and now the further shift from digital to subscription streaming services. On the challenges front, I think with exception of our various distributors going into administration and the Sony Warehouse fire where on all occasions we lost all of our stock, our current challenges are the various streaming services and vinyl pressing times. On the streaming side of things, we want to get the most out of it for our artists and at the moment, as many people know, the model is not working for artists and labels. I know various artists have challenged streaming services like Spotify before and I saw that Four Tet is currently challenging his label about his Spotify and streaming revenues due to his contract being signed before this type of revenue was available. It’s difficult to manage these new revenue streams and the volume of plays vs the revenue taken. I really hope this works itself out in the coming years.

Secondly due to COVID, we are seeing long vinyl pressing times which means some of the EPs we want to press to vinyl we are having to do as digital only. Otherwise we need to wait months and we already have a pretty busy release schedule. Again I hope this works itself out in the coming months.

4) You can travel to any point in time to be a fly on the wall during any recording session. Which artist and which song would you choose?

At school I studied The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky. It’s a ballet that was written in the early 1900’s. At the time he composed it, he used so many new techniques and experiments in tone, rhythm dissonance and more. I would have loved to see how the hell he wrote it on his own and then going from that to working with an entire orchestra. Would be insane to see that process from start to end!

5) Fred has turned in a great remix for our EP on Lazy Days- without looking at Discogs can you guess to within 10 how many remixes Fred Everything has done?

He has indeed. I am really pleased with how the whole EP turned out. Original when we had our first Zoom call, we were catching up and talking about our studio setups and processes. I didn’t think that down the line we would have had an EP out so I am over the moon with all of the tracks. With regards to remixes figure I have no idea?! 30/ 40? What’s the actual number Fred?! (*Fred : Over 150 Remixes Matt!)

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Matt Masters interviews Milton Jackson

1) If you could collaborate with another artist both present and past, who would it be and what style of music would you make?

It would have to be Hans Zimmer – I would probably just sit there in his studio and be overawed by the whole thing but I would love to see what he would come up with over a 4/4 beat. I’m not sure if he would want to work with me however 🙂

2) Lockdown has had it’s challenges to say the least. How did you find the production process working over Zoom calls to write this EP? For producers wanting to collaborate in different locations, what advice would you offer?

So the two main collabs I have done in the last year is with yourself obviously and Tom Szirtes (Shur-I-Kan). They both broadly followed the same pattern – Zoom meetings to chat through the way the track is developing and ping ponging the Logic file back and forth. It’s a bit of a dull point but the main thing is keep everything organised and keep notes as you can get lost in versions and mixes – especially as they can take months, even years to complete.

3) You have DJed all over the world from your home country of Scotland to Sonar and beyond. What is it that makes the DJing experience exciting for you and what has been your most favourite place to play in the world and where, if you have not already, would be your number one place to play?

One of my favourite gigs was at Womb Tokyo just as I was starting out. I went out with my best mate Robbie who came along for the trip. Radio Slave was playing and everyone was drinking champagne, it was very glamorous! Me and my mate had a good laugh exploring Japan and it was when I was really just starting to DJ abroad so it was all very exciting and new. https://www.womb.co.jp/en/

4) You have had a long and fruitful career as a DJ and Producer. What do you consider to be the defining moments so far?

From a positive viewpoint, winning the DJ award for Deep House was huge, I went out to Pacha to collect the award and it was like David Guetta and Pete Tong, all these big names… and me ha! From a negative viewpoint it was 2012 when my right ear basically exploded after being too close to a speaker at a festival. The tinnitus was unbearable and I went to see a specialist when I was living in Oxford. It basically had to heal itself but I didn’t really do any tunes for years until around 2015. By then I had kids and a job so the music thing sort of fell by the wayside a bit, plus every time I did something in the studio my ear would flare up. It’s only nowadays I can actually do anything but I still have to be careful with levels and headphones especially.

5) In your studio right now. what is you favourite bit of kit and is there a particular way you use it?

I’ve bought and sold so many bits, I get bored of hardware pretty quickly then sell it on. I then completely regret it and wish I’d never sold it. However at the moment I’m really loving just sampling into my Emu6400 and sequencing tracks from MIDI into that. I’ve done a few tracks recently on Freerange EP and Closer To Truth completely on the Emu. I like sitting in front of small screens with no chance to check online and no distractions. The sound jumps out at you in quite a visceral way, when you are used to the relative transparency of modern soundcards.

Grab the Viaggio EP from: https://lazydaysrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/viaggio-ep-incl-fred-everything-remix

For more info please check:

Matt Masters Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattmastersofficial/
Matt Masters Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/matt-masters
Matt Masters Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mattmasters
Matt Masters Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattfreerange
Milton Jackson Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/milton.jackson1/
Milton Jackson Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/miltonjackson
Milton Jackson Twitter: https://twitter.com/miltonjackson
Lazy Days / Fred Everything Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fredeverything
Lazy Days / Fred Everything Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/fredeverything
Lazy Days / Fred Everything Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fredeverything/
Lazy Days / Fred Everything Twitter: https://twitter.com/fredeverything

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