The late '90s and early 2000s are super hot right now -- just look at Calvin Harris and Porter Robinson's latest releases -- but where a lot producers echo sophisticated cheese, Mat Zo dug deep into hard-edged soul. His forthcoming three-track release This Is a Mad Zoo House EP shines with inspiration from '90s French touch and '70s classics. It's a bold collection funk-fueled grooves that'll have you struttin' midnight streets. He also says it was a lot fun to make.
We caught up with Mat Zo to hear more about the records and childhood memories that inspired his new retro sounds. Check out the exclusive EP breakdown below.
"Shake the Room"
This is the first track I made from the EP. When I started it, I was just having some fun, but I realized I wanted to make a collection similar club tracks with a French-y vibe. It started with looking for old sound fonts. Most the drums are taken from sound fonts that are decades old, spruced up to fit in a modern club setting.
When I was about 12, in London, there was a pirate radio station called Unknown FM that I would listen to all the time. I was already a fan dance music at this point, but Unknown FM exposed me to everything that was happening in house music at the time. I wanted to make a track that honored the late pirate radio station.
This track was heavily inspired by early Daft Punk, Cassius, Basement Jaxx and other '90s dance acts I grew up listening to. The whole track is built around a sample a jazz funk track by Ronnie Laws called "Nothin' Bout Nothin'." I found the sample while crate digging for vinyls, I just liked the look the cover. They say "don't judge a book by it's cover," but that doesn't seem to apply to '70s funk records.
Zo's This Is a Mad Zoo House EP is out everywhere Thursday, but you can listen to it in full below, exclusively on Billboard Dance.