Digital LAB is a name that you may not be overly familiar with, but guaranteed you’ll be hearing it for a long time to come. A humble and kind individual, he is supported by many of the industry’s top artists and producers, some of which call him “the next big thing”, which has to feel good in a world where the competition is fierce. Hard work and dedication to the craft is what it takes to come out on top, and Jared Matos, a.k.a. Digital LAB has proven himself time and time again that he’s got both the skill and the passion to leave his footprint in the electronic dance music culture today. His progressive, house, and electro combination of sound is unique in itself, and his production skills and mixing abilities are flawless and quite original, to say the least.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Digital LAB himself at Moonrise Festival, and we chatted about how he got his start in the industry, Kaskade, his new music releases coming out this Fall, why pre-recorded sets suck, and what he has in store for his bright future. Check out what he had to say!
So your new remix of Kaskade’s “Why Ask Why” just came out yesterday! Congrats! Tell us a little bit about that.
Everyone has been waiting for this one for so long. I felt so bad, I had people asking me about it for months when it would be released. We made it, and then Kaskade was playing it out at all of his Atmosphere shows. A lot of people knew of the song because Ryan [Kaskade] was pushing it really hard. Sometimes labels take a little while to get things moving, but we're happy to finally have it out now. I love it and I'm really happy with it. Over the last two days, it’s been amazing to see how well received it’s been.
How does it feel to get support from such big names in the industry?
It's always incredible, you know, that's what you want. You want to make the music that's going to have the big guys support you. It's going to ultimately push you to the place you want to be. I’m fortunate to have guys like Kaskade, Laidback Luke, and Swedish House Mafia who've been there for me since day one.
So they were the ones who helped you get your start as a DJ?
Laidback Luke was kind of the first one. He has this forum on his website where unknown guys can just send in their music, and he will actually listen to it and send you feedback himself. So I would keep sending in my stuff and he really liked a lot of it. I did a remix for the song called “Everyday”, and after Kaskade and some other artists were playing it all the time, that’s when it all kind of started for me. Ryan contacted my friend, Angger Dimas, and asked him if he knew me. You could imagine how I felt the day Angger Dimas called me and said, “Dude, Kaskade is about to IM you.” I was like, “That's not funny, stop playing!” [laughs] But he was serious and about five minutes later we started talking.
Then from there you went on tour and opened for him?
He introduced me to his manager after that, and we kind of toured together, playing a lot in Vegas and such. For example, next month we’re playing together for Summer Lovin at Marquee, and when he comes to Miami we play a lot at Story and LIV, places like that.
I understand you have four more releases coming out this year. Tell us a little about them.
Yes. First, this month on Dim Mak Records, we have “Wicked”, and we've been getting really good feedback from that. Next, out on Sony Fuse is a collaboration with Henrix called “Pulse”, which will be coming out next month. Then after that, I have my next solo single on Vicious called “In Your Face”. And finally, I'll have another solo single coming out called “Cerberus” which will definitely be a good one as well. I’ve been busy!
Who are some artists that you’d love to work with that you haven't had a chance to yet?
Definitely Steve Angello and Axwell. They are just so good and I really look up to those guys. They don't just churn out song after song, they make sure they focus on them one by one, and they make it really good. I respect that so much.
What do you think about a solo album for you? Is that something that you have given much thought to yet?
Yes, that is actually in the works. At least an EP anyway.
How would you feel about starting your own label?
That is something I definitely will do in the future for sure. It’s becoming the new trend for artists to start their own companies, and I’d like to venture down that path too, while putting out good music with different labels as well.
Now for the rest of the year, what are some of your scheduled performances you are especially looking forward to?
Well, next up we have Vegas in September, where I'll be headlining the pool at Marquee. I fly straight to LA to play Sutra that night, and then I fly right back to Vegas the next day to play with Kaskade at Marquee Nightclub again. From there I go to San Diego, Orlando, and New York as well.
What are some other genres of music you are into? What are you listening to right now?
Well I'm really into what Porter Robinson is currently doing. His new album is amazing. I’m loving the slower aspects, and the M83-style. Sometimes I'll even incorporate things like that into my sets, too. I love bringing in small pieces of slower trap music with indie rock feel. A lot of people know me for that, which is awesome. It's great to be versatile.
How would you describe your sound to someone who may not have ever heard of you before?
It would mostly be big room electro stuff, but like I said, my sets are known for mixing in some indie rock, and I'm actually influenced by a lot of trap music too. So definitely a little bit of everything!
There's been that bit of controversy lately regarding artists pre-recording sets to play at festivals. What are your feelings towards that?
I've actually witnessed it firsthand, but I won't name any names. I don't agree with it. I am a 100% believer in the fact that you have to read the crowd when you are performing your set. For example, for big festivals I will have a folder of music that I really like and in my head I might have an idea of what I'm going to play, but it always changes. If you start playing something and the crowd isn’t feeling it so much, you have to switch somewhere else. If it's pre-recorded, then you're totally stuck.
I know music has changed drastically over the last decade, but I can remember back in the day paying money to actually go see a DJ mix two songs together. That was the whole point of it. Pre-recording sets could actually be viewed as disrespectful to that art, as well as to the people who paid good money to see your skills, not hear a recording.
I totally agree hundred percent. I feel like these people are paying for you to put on a show, and not just “press play” on a CD. They want to see you vibing and reacting to them. Sometimes you need to change it up, due to many circumstances. You always want to be reacting to your crowd, though. I take that into consideration with every set I play.
Photo Credit: Krystal Spencer