August 01 2017

Mateo & Matos' New York Rhythms

New York-Le Bain
We chat with the two New York house masters before they play Le Bain on Friday, August 4th.
LE BAIN: You're two legends of the New York house golden age in the early 90's. Despite your achievements in production and DJing, you’ve been pretty discreet. Was that a deliberated choice?
MATEO & MATOS: We would say it was not deliberate. It just happened to be that we had more gigs and notoriety in other parts of the world than in our own backyard. Exactly why, we don't know. We were traveling almost every other weekend or weeks at a time in the mid to late '90s until about 2004. Then things slowed down. We had a residency in Belgium, we were huge in New Zealand, and were constantly all over Europe and the UK. 
John "Roc" Mateo and Eddie "E-Z" Matos, a.k.a. Mateo & Matos.

John "Roc" Mateo and Eddie "E-Z" Matos, a.k.a. Mateo & Matos.

"Anything deep, soulful, and moody will always be what we seek." –Mateo & Matos
What do you think of today’s overexposure of artists through social media?
It's a flooded market, so perhaps some feel the more posts they upload or tweets they make will keep them in the forefront. Sometimes, though, it can be annoying.

I was chatting with Honey Dijon and she said there is no New York sound anymore in terms of dance music. In the '70s, '80s and '90s, the NY scene was leading the way for dance music and nightlife. Do you agree? 
We would agree. We think what helped the dance scene in those decades was the fact that we had radio support. In the late '70s you had Disco 92, the original WKTU, and of course WBLS, which is still around and is the only one that gives our dance scene some support. We also had 98.7 WRKS (Kiss FM). All three stations played dance music throughout the day and mixes over the weekend. We had Tony Humphries, Shep Pettibone, and Tee Scott, just to name a few, mix Friday and Saturday nights. It was awesome. Nowadays there are many Internet options, but I feel it's not the same.
Mateo & Matos' "Let Yourself Go" (1995)

You’ve been key players of that early '90s NY house sound. Have you been faithful to that style, or have you evolved into something different? 
We think we are faithful to that style. We made a living off of that style, but that was when vinyl was still the format in which our music was sold. Being able to sell a few thousand copies of vinyl would put some money in your pocket. Nowadays, file-sharing is rampant and it's very difficult to make a living off of it. It is still what we listen to and play. Anything deep, soulful, and moody will always be what we seek.

About your way of collaborating in the studio, you said, “We really didn’t get in each other's way.” What about DJing? 
It's somewhat similar. We usually play back-to-back about every 20 minutes or so. We feed off each other. 
Mateo & Matos' "New York Style"

Can you tell us about your first encounter with Louie Vega in 1985?
We met Louie at [NYC club] 1018. If we recall correctly, it was some sort of DJ conference. Vince Montana and his orchestra played a set, and then Louie played a set. Our friend Mike Munoz introduced us to Louie after the gig. We clicked with Louie. At the time, he had just left the Devils Nest in the Bronx and started playing at Heartthrob in Manhattan. We started to go to Heartthrob on the regular and became friends with Louie. Louie was working on freestyle joints and invited us to his sessions. Back then, one of the coolest things Louie taught us was to use the sine wave off of the Akai s-950 as a sub for your basslines. 

featuring Mateo & Matos and Rissa Garcia
The Standard, High Line | 10pm

Lead photo by Neil Aline