EXCLUSIVE Interview: Love & Stadiums Mixtape - Mateo
We caught up with Mateo during his private listening session not too long ago. He showed us a sneak peak into his musical world while also giving us exclusive access to a one-on-one interview where he speaks about the development of his latest mixtape which happens to come out today (March 30 2011).
It seems as if you sample many songs for your mixtapes. What's the reasoning behind that? How do you approach your own remix's?
You know the whole mixtape thing is a remakes of songs that are already popular. Keeping with that tradition, we decided to pick songs that we really loved that are out and current and see if we could remix them in a way that no one else has done it. We usually try to totally redo the music, totally redo the instrumental and just kind of infuse the style of music that I do inside of it. That's how we approached the remixes and samples.
What was the process behind transforming "Power" into an rnb song?
The process behind making "Power"..was first of all picking the song. Always loved that song! Kanye West. Love Kanye West! What I wanted to do was change it up and make it into something that was even more epic sounding. Just BIG instrumentation. Like, take the choir and make the choir "bigger". I was thinking that it would be crazy that if I was actually singing the actually lyrics that Kanye West is doing in the song. We just kind of married the two worlds. This really epic sound instrumentation with some of the lyrical content that's inside Kanye's songs. And we really got some really dope collaborations. We got Pusha T and Ab Liva to come on. I think it was a good marriage of sounds.
Take us through the decision process that you go through when picking songs to be featured on your mixtape..
For the mixtape I usually pick songs that I love. If it's out, it's current, and I love the song.. that's why a lot of time it'll be Kanye West songs. Actually Kerry "Krucial" Brothers said "You know we can't be overdosing on this Kanye West stuff." That's usually how I go about picking songs. Sometimes for songs like "Runaway" we merged "Chasing Cars", which is a Snow Patrol song, and matched it up because we thought it would be a good mix if we did the two songs together.
How does this mixtape differentiate from your past mixtapes?
This mixtape is different from the other [past] mixtapes because I got Kerry "Krucial" Brothers on this project which .. working with him has raised the standard instrumentally, the production, everything! I'm used to working out of my boy's "JL's" studio which is in his bedroom. That's where most of the mixtapes where done before. And now we are in a real studio! We have real musicians coming in, we've got an engineer on staff. Things have changed in that regard. It's been good because Kerry has worked with really great artists such as Alicia Keys. I get to learn how to make my records sound bigger and have more quality to them. That's deffinrely in this mixtape! It just sounds bigger!
How did you partner up with Kerry "Krucial" Brothers?
I met Krucial originally through Quddus. Quddus used to be a VJ on MTV's on TRL. I know Quddus because we both live in Los Angeles, he's a friend of mine, and has worn many hats in my career. He used to be my A&R at Myspace Records, and used to be my manager. While we were at Myspace and trying to do a remix to "Complicated" he threw out the name "Krucial" and I said "Yeah! I would love to work with him!" Right when I left Myspace Records last year, Krucial was starting his label by signing artist to his label and asked me to be one of his artists on the roster. I was like "Perfect!"..I always really loved his stuff. It was a perfect little collaboration situation!
Which are the songs that stand out to you? Which ones are your favorite?
My favorite remix song on the mixtape is probably "Runaway". I just love how we merged these two songs that you never would have thought would go together.. and we made it into one song. I love the production in that song. In terms of original joints, I put "Doubt" and "Get To Know Me".. I think I love those equally.
We've seen you go through the struggles of the music business. What happened to you since Myspace Records?
Myspace Records was an interesting situation because when I signed onto Myspace it seemed as though music was going in it's direction of being online, and all about people searching, and word-of-mouth, and searching online for the new artist. It ended up being a good place to hone in my sound and figure out what my sound was. We also released that live EP that helped me get the ball rolling. By the time we got the top of last year I was like.. "It's been a good run.. but I think it's time to move onto the next thing." That's music...With anything! Things change, sometimes you grow apart, and sometimes -- in this case -- leads you to that better situation. Myspace Records really let me be ready for when Krucial was trying to do his thing.
You have a few old songs on your new mixtape. Why did you decide to keep them?
We included some songs from previous mixtapes because it's doing two things. It's a celebration of the fact that the last mixtape series, "Underneath The Sky" Series, received over 65-thousand downloads.. and also celebrating the fact that me and Krucial are working together. It's almost like a "Best Of" mixtape but also has some new joints on it. It has some of the those older songs off the older mixtape which gives the opportunity for people to listen to it.. while also giving them the experience for people to hear the new stuff that we are doing.