Matt Cerf – Restoring our faith in Trance (Interview)
It’s been far too long since we last heard from top Trance producer Matt Cerf. After marrying the highly sought-after vocalist Jaren, his focus moved to his two children and away from the music he loved so dearly. But now Cerf is back and better than ever, presenting us with his new collab with Ost & Meyer – “Like We Love” feat. Fenja.
I can safely say that his latest production has restored my faith in Trance. Reminiscent of my favorite year in the genre (2011), the stunningly catchy tune takes you on a journey to sunny California beaches, where days turn to nights that you’ll never forget. To me this track is the whole package; melodic, uplifting, euphoric, vocal Trance. I mean, really, what’s not to like?! Fenja (or should I say Jaren!) completely knocks it out of the park with her contribution, a voice unparalleled among her peers.
We got a chance to chat with Matt leading up to the release of “Like We Love,” which is out now on Beatport on Always Alive Recordings along with a deep house rework from Joshi and banging trance remix from the mysterious Avenue One. Check it out below and make sure to pick up the “Like We Love” package on Beatport here!
Behind The Beat | Matt Cerf Interview
OTB: Hi Matt, thanks for chatting with us today! First off we’d like to say congratulations on your amazing new single “Like We Love.” This is your first collaboration with Ost & Meyer. What was your process for creating the track? Did you work on it together in the studio or was it mostly done digitally?
MATT CERF: Thanks a lot! And thanks for having me!
I had been sitting on this chords progression for a long time now, and loved the remix Ost & Meyer did of my song “Starting Right Now,” so I asked them if they wanted to collab and they accepted! I sent them multiple parts and they sent me back a rough idea that was really nice! From there, Jaren wrote some cool lyrics, we recorded it and and sent back to them to finish the track.
We never actually met in person, but it was easy to work together over the internet!
OTB: It’s been a couple years since your last release. What have you been up to since then?
MATT CERF: Actually even more than that! Jaren and I had 2 kids and we have been focusing on them. Lately I have been working on so many different projects, it’s hard to even count. Multiple genres of electronic music, even movie scoring.. looking forward to everyone hearing my new stuff soon!
OTB: How did you get into producing Trance? What is it about the genre that draws you to it?
MATT CERF: I’ve been into trance music since the end of the 90’s. I’ve always played music, and I guess I am a little bit of a computer geek, so put the 3 together – it had to happen!
I love all genres of music to be honest, but that is the one that influence me the most, so that is what comes naturally I guess.
OTB: Describe your sound in 5 words or less.
MATT CERF: Today, it is hard to me stick to 1 sound, and once you hear the other projects I am working on you’ll understand.
Melodic, Plucky, Pads, a bit of funk, vocals – let’s add clubby to that as well…
OTB: Your married to one of our favorite vocalists Jaren. Where did you two meet?
MATT CERF: We met in LA, through a friend, and I hired her to sing on one of my songs – it clicked right away, and we knew we couldn’t live without each other.
OTB: What is it like collaborating with your wife? Are you jaded because you’re married or do you still get inspired by her talent?
MATT CERF: Surprisingly it works really well! On the musical level, we are really connected, so it binds us for everything else. She always inspires me, and I think it’s mutual! We seem to keep fresh in the way we work together, always going forward.
OTB: What’s your favorite track that you’ve ever produced and why?
MATT CERF: Obviously, I’m going to have to say it’s the one that I am working on right now! You get tired of old tracks, so the new ones are always the best one, don’t you think?
But also…in the last 2 years I have changed my style a little, so again..the new ones are the favourites!
OTB: What was the first record you ever bought? And what was your last?
MATT CERF: OMG…..no idea what it was…probably some Hip Hop tapes in the end of the 80s.
The last one…. I just got Zeds Dead’s album – yup!
But I like all kinds of music…pop, rock, hip hop, you name it! As long as it’s good!
OTB: What are your thoughts on the commercialization of dance music in the US? Do you see it as a positive or a negative?
MATT CERF: I’ve always thought it would happen..but it’s not the 1st time is it? Disco is dance music too! There are pros and cons. It’s an opportunity for me to do what I love, and live off it. But it also means that it’s harder to make it big because of competition!
OTB: At present genres are mixing and influencing mutually. Do you think it’s enriching or just standardizing dance music?
MATT CERF: I think it’s great that everything is mixing! The possibilities are endless! Labels try to create a format, a standard, but the people get bored easily, so they can’t standardize it…music will always evolve.
OTB: What are your top 3 tracks of the moment and why?
MATT CERF: Hard to say, There are so many!! But I like Todd Terje’s album lately, most of the songs..really fresh and funky. An inspiring album!
I also like Andy Duguid with Jaren – “Battlecry!” Very catchy!
And Sub Focus – “Turn Back Time” hahaha! Love the retro dance feel.
But next week…..there will be others.
OTB: What about your favorite piece of studio equipment?
MATT CERF: My favourite piece… my speakers: Dynaudio BM5 MKII. They are affordable, and they sound so good! Really incredible!
OTB: Are there any particular artists that you see as the future of Trance?
MATT CERF: Avenue One! They did a remix of my new song, and I loved it!
Also loved the one they remixed for Aly & Fila!
OTB: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
MATT CERF: It’s gonna sound cheesy, but it’s also one I give.. Never give up, you can make it if you believe in yourself.
OTB: What are your plans for the rest of 2014? Anything big in the works?
MATT CERF: Just finished scoring an independent movie, about to start working on the sound for a video game, and of course, tons of music!!
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