Multi-talented, driven, and genuine. That’s how I would describe Irish native Gavin Lynch, aka Matador. While throwing a very successful dinner party amongst a small group of friends as well as “industry tastemakers” in the music festival scene, Gavin managed to delight everyone with not only a four-course meal he cooked from scratch, but the former chef and DJ also gave diners a brand new 3 hour mix produced exclusively for dinner that evening.
Now, in addition to creating the most delicious lemon cream dessert, Matador has announced that he has multiple projects in the works to come out before the and of the year, the first of which is a vinyl-only released EP Cyclone Series. Calvin’s widespread interests have made him an equal master cooking up steamy beats as well as delicious treats in order to nourish the literal and metaphorical needs of anyone in the crowd at one of his shows.
Beginning his career early, Gavin began working as a DJ at the age of 16 while also working as a Chef, going back to school in order to study sound engineering so he could begin to produce his own music, and eventually opening his own label, Rukus. Recently we sat down with Richie Hawtin’s protege to get some inside scoop on the upcoming Cyclone Series releases.
Your manager just gave me a rundown of all the different releases you have coming out as well as mentioning a few projects you have in the works that are a little hush hush for now. What can you tell me about all the different new music you have been working on?
Yes, we have a few. We have Cyclone Series 1, I’ve been in the studio writing stuff with much higher energy, using a couple of machines that are quite well known, the Roland 303 Devilfish, 606, 909, and the Arp 2600. It’s a sound that’s been really dominating techno for the last year r so. I’ve been writing a lot of melodic music over the last four or five years, and so this is a nod to the techno I was writing when I first started. It’s more aggressive and peak time. It means business. So that’s going to be the first of the Cyclone Series: three tracks and that’s due for release maybe in about four or five weeks.
What made you decide to go Vinyl?
Because on the label, RUKUS, we only release digitally, and I wanted to do something a little different. The Cyclone sound is tougher to what I’ve been writing in the last couple of years, and I wanted to create something exclusively for those playing vinyl. I’ve been supplying my music digitally and I haven’t released any of my later releases on vinyl in particular, so again a nod to the past. We’ll do a small run initially, maybe two or three hundred copies to selected record stores. I’ll launch the Ep at an exclusive show in a store in Dublin so really looking forward to that.
What inspired that sound. You said there was certain equipment you wanted to use? Was it that you just wanted to play around with the (the Roland 303) and it kind of inspired you to go that way?
I’d bought a couple of really nice pieces, stuff I’d dreamed of buying back when I started writing, so I wanted to revisit that corner of my music with all this fantastic hardware that I’m now fortunate enough to have and see where that would take me. There’s a lot of great techno out there at the moment to inspire too.
When you started making it, did you have to kind of relearn how to use them or maybe learn for the first time or was it kind of like riding a bike?
You know it was a bit like riding a bike, on the surface, I knew my way around them and their functionality. I spent a lot of time delving down into the guts of each machine, it’s easy to get lost in there, but there’s so much to discover. I think it’s fun to challenge today’s modern electronic music landscape with the vintage capabilities of yesterday, and vice versa. You have to try your best to develop something a different way. So it was a case of, you know, the machines playing a part in it, and me being stubborn and saying, ‘no I need to work more at this.’
And then you also have your 95 BPM release. From my understanding that is going to be more on the melodic side. What is your workflow like when you are working on so many different sounds and projects at the same time?
I tend to move around. My typical flow would be: I’d write something for the club and then I might write something that’s just for me. And then I’ll write something melodic, and then I’ll write something really hard. In this particular instance, I just locked myself away and worked with these machines alone because it’s all preparation for my next live tour starting later this year. It’s going to be based around a whole new set up on the stage where I’m using these particular machines, [The Roland 303, 606, 909], that I used for the Cyclone Series. I wanted to write a collection of music on them, I would get them set up and write a big batch of music in one go of that particular sound. I’ll write like 10 or 15 tracks, boiled it down to 4 or 5, and then that project will be boxed up and shipped off. And then I move to my other studio. I have two studios in the house; I have one small little dark room and I have one that’s right on the sea. And like I said, you can see the sea through this big glass window. That’s where I wrote 95 BPM focusing on studio pieces such as the Tempest, the OB8, Moog Modular and the new Moog One.
Is that your melodic one?
That’s exactly it. I just set it all up in the other room like about three months ago. And I got all the melodic stuff done in like four weeks or five weeks, you’re just receptive to different environments.
In addition to your solo releases, you also have another collaboration with Richie Hawtin coming up? Was that made in the little dark room or the one by the sea?
Well, we actually went to both rooms when he came over. I was thinking, maybe we’ll work better in this room or that room, and I was still trying to guess which was going to be better for him and finally, we decided, let’s just work with both room for two days. So we planned out the direction of the tracks – the first, more melodic, a remix – let’s do that in the bigger room, and it was done pretty much within the day. For the second, we went into the smaller, darker room and it was more experimental really, playing on the machines. I’d say about two hours had passed, and we had the bones of the idea there, the concept of what this track was going to be. It sort of it happened quite naturally in both environments and both rooms.
You’ve worked with Richie quite a bit over the years, what’s it like working with him now vs when you were first starting?
When I started this whole thing about seven years ago, with Rich, we met in Dublin and he ended up signing a lot of music in one go, like 16 tracks. I went on tour with him for two years so we’ve done many different shows together. Then he started the ENTER parties and I was a resident playing worldwide for four years – incredible shows and plenty of fun. I use the MODEL1 mixer in my sets, that Rich designed a couple of years ago and I’ve become an ambassador for it. We’ve done bus tours together, Q&A panels, lots of different projects. You know he’s like a mentor, Rich, to me, he’s taken me from my bedroom and put me on the stage. And everything we’ve done together has been based on mutual respect for each other and for the music.
A lot of the music that I still get asked to play today in the clubs, is the music I wrote in that tiny, little bedroom 7/8 years ago in Dublin.
Does that make you feel good?
Yeah for sure. People are asking for the music that I made with a laptop and one little synthesizer. So it doesn’t matter what you have around you, what gear you have, back then, that’s all I had, but I was hungry for it and that’s what drove me to make the best music I could. Once you have that will, I think that will get you through. It now drives me to appreciate and use the equipment I currently have in a different way.
Were those requests the inspiration for going back to your roots with the new EP- using the Vintage synths and releasing exclusively on vinyl vs doing just releasing another melodic sounding digital EP?
Yeah, it’s good to change things up, for me as a writer as well as for the fans. I’d started the Cyclone Series at the end of last year in preparation for 2.0 Live – it felt like the right music to launch it, so when Rich came over earlier this year, I was already comfortably back in that techno mindset.
Did he listen to it?
Just bits and pieces then, he’s been playing out pretty much all of the tracks from Cyclone. I sent them to himself and two or three others as a road test, and I think it’s being received well, but I’m biased maybe. Sometimes, you’re the hardest critic on your own stuff, and you’re like, ‘I don’t think went down well.’ And everyone’s there going, ‘No, that was fucking great. That was probably one of the best tracks of the night.’ And you’re like, ‘No, that was shit.’ So you know, self-doubt and all those different things are always going to be there and we just have to keep the faith. Keep believing. Keep writing.
Do you have a song that you love, but it’s not something that plays as well to the crowd?
Like one of my own? Yeah. Yeah. There’s a couple of tracks I have in there that I guess I have a connection to because I’ve written them when I had been in a different place in my life. You know? It’s not going to necessarily work. I have a lot of stuff like the style of the music you heard the other night, the ambient album [the music that was playing during a dinner party held in LA giving the former Chef a chance to show off his chops in the kitchen before throwing an amazing show at Sound LA]. I’ve about 12 hours of ambient music, all of which I can’t usually play in my current sets.
Maybe for like a yoga set?
That could work.
Tell me about the tour that is gonna be for the winter. That’s gonna be the all vinyl album?
Yes, for the Cyclone Series.
What is going to be involved in the setup?
The Cyclone Series will launch the first phase of the show – 2.0 Live. I’ve toured a live set for the first six years of my career and for the last year I’ve been deejaying, mostly playing a lot of my own stuff, so what I’m doing now is like a hybrid kind of set. Like drum machines in various ways. In the setup for the new show, I’ll tour the studio equipment that I used to write Cyclone Series 1 as well as all the music for 2.0 Live – I’ll bring the 303, 909, various synths, and it won’t be as computer-based. There’ll be a computer there, of course, to bring everything together, but there will be a lot more hardware on the stage – a ‘touring studio’ I guess, and we’ll frame the whole thing in a much more considered way. Because in the past, it was just turn up at the club and whatever happens… happens. And usually, the setup’s really cool and accommodates us really well. For the new show, we’ll bring in our own lighting engineers, and design and curate visuals to accompany a whole new bank of music that I’m currently writing – it’s gonna be a full AV experience.
Have you had to train anybody in case something gets broken on the equipment? If no one uses them anymore and you’re taking them on the road…
Yeah I travel with a tour manager, and equipment wise we have two of everything, that’s the trick. Just the case. And once you have good venue technicians, a good team with you, and you look after the equipment and the guys at the airport don’t throw it around too much, you should be okay.
Last question. You produce a lot of melodic tracks and techno/acid, but if you had to make one track in a genre that one was not anything you would ever normally make. What kind of track would you want to make?
A blues track. I play piano and also I play a lot of stuff in the blues scale and different jazz stuff. Blues guitar, a blues track, and blues singer. Something that’s traditional and stripped back but with some weird electronic stuff around it. That would be something interesting to me. I was on the flight over here and I was sitting next Myles Davis’ nephew. So I’m talking with him and he was like, ‘Man we’ve got all the stems for Myles’ tracks if you wanted to do a remix or something.’ So that could be interesting – who knows? We’ll see.
The first EP, Cyclone Series 1, is out on August 1st on white label 12-inch and you can pre-order yours here.