Matt Saint Will has had an incredibly busy 2016. He's been working on his record label Arrival, and he's also gearing up to release his new EP. His upcoming release will feature two tracks- "Touch Me" and "Pancakes." With a funky and addicting synth line, this might be the best release yet from the young record label.
We sat down with the talented producer to learn more about the label and have an exclusive premiere of the track!
Hi Matt Saint Will, thanks for chatting with us! You're gearing up for the last release of the year and we hear "Pancakes" is a personal favorite. What makes it a favorite of yours and for those that haven't checked out the track quite yet, how would you describe it?
No problem, thank you for taking the time! Yeah, “Pancakes" is definitely a favorite of mine and everyone I’ve shared it with so far seems to agree. I think what explains it best for me was when Bob Macciochi, who does all of our mastering, came back to me with the tracks, his feedback was “it actually made this jaded old b***** feel something. Melancholy and kind of nostalgic.”.
I know many will just hear shallow House music when they listen, but I actually put a lot of myself, or at least how I felt at the time, into that track. So it’s really nice to know that people can connect with that. I wouldn’t want to try and describe it but I like Bob’s choice of words.
What were the processes for making the track? What were your goals in making this EP and who were your major inspirations?
So essentially when I sat down to work on both of these tracks the idea was to just make whatever naturally came out, even if it didn’t end up as House music. As it happens, House music IS what naturally came out haha but the overall process was far more organic and instinctive feeling. There was no pre-planning about the mathematics of a structure or whether or not it was DJ friendly, matched current trends or anything like that. It certainly felt like an honest way to create, which goes back to what I said about “Pancakes”.
Musically my inspirations come from far and wide but mainly centre around House, Hip Hop, Soul and Jazz. I like producers like HNNY, Joss Moog, Boorane and Phil Weeks who often combine elements of these. One of the first people I shared "Touch Me” with was Phil and his response was along the lines of “sound’s pretty dope but still needs some extra work”, that’s when I knew I was at least heading in the right direction.
You also created your own record label recently. What is the meaning behind the names and calling all of the releases flights? Have airports and traveling been a massive influence the work that you do?
I like to think of Arrivals Records as a sort of amalgamation of elements from labels that inspire me and one of the main inspirations for the concept branding actually came from fellow South East Londoners and Drum & Bass label, Hospital Records. I actually interned with them when I was 20 or 21 and it was really my first taste of how the music industry actually worked. I’ve always admired what Tony and Chris had built with that label and part of that is the strong concept in the branding. Having our catalog numbers as FLIGHT001, FLIGHT002 etc pretty much wrote itself once we’d decided on the theme.
I feel airports are full of emotive imagery and it matched both the listeners of the music, who will perhaps see an Arrivals sign and be reminded of vacations and subsequent excitement, as well as DJs who will either be travelling to play internationally or aspiring to. It also matches our global mentality. We are London based but it’s definitely an international label. Just ask our resident Kiwi, Cam Harris.
To go along with that, what would you say have been the biggest challenges you've faced (and vice versa, biggest achievements). If you had to go back in time and give yourself some advice about starting a label, what would it be?
I guess getting others to believe in your vision before it’s been realised is the hardest part. The fact that there are so many people who believe in what we’re doing already is something that I’m truly grateful for and don’t take for granted.
Achievements wise, every month there is something new to celebrate, from Cam's first primetime radio play on Sveriges Radio P3 out in Sweden, to the major blog or DJ support of our releases, Adam John Williams featuring the video for FLIGHT001 ‘Divided’ in his Tate Modern Re-Opening installation, our first party in Berlin with Nie Wieder Schlafen, we just take it step by step.
If I could give myself advice it would be to focus on appreciating it all. At the end of the day, the mission is to create art and do cool s***, never lose focus of that.
Finally, you're ending 2016 very strong, what will you do in 2017 to top it?!
Time will tell! After the successes of Arrivals London and Arrivals Berlin, we will definitely be looking to do more parties in other cities.
Release wise, as well as my own and discovering new music, I’m really excited about who I’ve signed to the label already. Cam Harris, Maneuver, Scarlett House and our residents Tamer & Youssef are no doubt all going to have a great year ahead of them and I’m excited to see how Arrivals is part of that. I’m also keen to move into physical releases on vinyl next year.
But as I said before, I like to take inspiration from other labels that I admire. I recently met Robert Raths of Erased Tapes who I think could, and maybe one day will, write the book on how to organically grow a label. Part of their ethos is to relax and release music when it’s right and ready, take their time. This past year there’s been so much music I’ve wanted to share with the world, and so much that I wanted to do, that it can be easy to fall into an almost conveyer belt process. So next year I want to keep that attitude in mind, make decisions based on what feels like natural progression and the right timing. But still, more art, more cool s***.