Matthew Coleman, or MJ Cole most likely to you and I, is one of the most prolific producers of the last decade, having played an unmistakably large role in pioneering the UK Garage sound. The London based producer/DJ’s 2000 album,Sincere, peaked at #14 in the UK charts and his single Crazy Love broke the top 10. But that was all over a decade ago now, and since then MJ has been kept up releasing quality tracks on his own label ‘Prolific Records’, always staying true to his UKG roots. We caught up with the man himself to ask him what he’s been up to and what his views are about the current dance scene.
Hi Matthew, thanks for agreeing to talk to us! How has 2011 treated you?
2011 was a great year for me with some solid releases on Prolific, Djing across Asia, Europe and South America and working with some very talented artists in the studio.
As one of the biggest names in UK Garage, what do you think of the way the genre has evolved over the last decade?
It’s good to hear that influences from all forms of UK Dance Music are filtering into everything we hear these days. For a while the mention of UKG was not cool at all. Time has passed and it’s seen as a solid part of UK music now which is great.
To still be constantly putting out relevant music after such a long time (in music years at least) is awesome, but is there any one moment that you look back on and consider to be your peak so far?
I’m always grinding up the hill, enjoying the view and looking forward to reaching that next peak Looking back, the Mercury Music Prize was a good moment for me.
You worked on a track with Scrufizzer on your Southern Electric EP last year, any more plans to work with Grime artists in the future?
Absolutely. I love the rawness of Grime MCs. It’s refreshing for me to be making harder, more sparce beats. Have worked with Wiley and Dizzee too recently.
You release a lot of your work on your own label, Prolific Records, how much time goes into that? Can we expect any big releases coming up soon?
Yep, Prolific is the major outlet for my work now. It’s nice to be in control. We’ve slowly been building it up over the past couple of years. I’m working on an LP at the moment which will be out on the label.
What part of being a producer/DJ do you enjoy most?
I think making records in the studio has always been the biggest buzz for me. I love DJing too – it compliments the underground studio hours and keeps me up-to-date with what’s really effective out there. There’s nothing like dropping some new music and seeing the room come alive.
If you could collaborate on a track with any other artist in the world, who would it be and why?
I’d love to work with Sia and Radiohead
What do you think about the re emerging popularity of DJing with vinyl? Do you think it’s going to make a serious come back or is it just a fad?
I played from vinyl for 10 years or so and loved it. However I don’t miss the scratches and lost luggage issues. I think control of Serato via vinyl is great although turntables are becoming more and more neglected in clubs these days so it’s a bit hit and miss as to whether the system will work or not.
Who were your inspirations when you first started making music, and who inspires you today?
My initial influences were Classical. I was immersed in piano music from an early age. This led to a vinyl fascination in the mid to late 80′s with the beginnings of Hardcore / Drum and Bass. Motown artists also influenced me heavily. Today I listen to anything and everything – so much good stuff out there at the moment.
MJ Cole will be DJing at our Chew the Fat meets Well Rounded night at XOYO in London on the 18th of February alongside Foamo, Hot City, French Fries and Maribou State.
You really don’t want to miss this one!