Just a little while back, we hosted the legendary Mat Zo in our Residency Program to help highlight someone who has continued to impress us year after year. Part of this residency included a deep look into his recently released album, Self Assemble, which has been one of the most impressive listening experiences we’ve heard in quite some time.

We wanted to know a little more behind this perennial star and his latest body of work, which brought us to this Q&A.

TMN: Hey Mat – first off, thanks for coming on board to be our Resident Artist. We’ve been fans for quite some time, so it’s an honor to have you.

Mat Zo: Thanks for having me.

TMN: Let’s talk about Self Assemble. We’ve been spending a lot of time with it since it came out. It definitely feels like it’s organized to be a true top-to-bottom listening experience. Does it tell an underlying story, or is the track arrangement solely for proper flow?

Mat Zo: When I was making it I had a general story in mind, but by the end the story was so vague that it became purely open to interpretation.

TMN: As expected, there’s quite a bit of diversity, but we definitely caught a lot of nu-disco vibes in it. Were there any particular albums or artists that inspired some of those timeless sounds you harnessed?

Mat Zo: Guys like Chromeo and obviously Daft Punk were definitely an influence for those tracks.

TMN: Conversely, both “Patterns Emerging” and “The Last Transmission” are wonderfully ambient tracks, which calls on associations of some of our favorites, including Aphex Twin. Talk to how those two came to be.

Mat Zo: I wanted to have interludes dotted throughout the album to make it feel more like a movie score and help tell the story a bit better.

TMN: You feature singer/songwriter Sinead Egan twice on the album, both in “The Enemy” and “Too Late.” What brought you two together initially? There must be a special bond there, seeing as how she’s the only featured vocalist.

Mat Zo: Actually when I got her vocal we had never met. I discovered those songs when I by chance heard them playing from my friend’s room who I was living with in London at the time. He was producing the original versions, which were just guitar and vocals, and I asked him if I could use the vocals on my album and he thankfully agreed. I met Sinead after and we’ve become good friends since.

TMN: You’re hitting the road pretty hard to promote this album, stopping by a number of our favorite night clubs. Are there any shows, in particular, you’re looking forward to?

Mat Zo: Im looking forward to Sound in LA because it’s a club I’ve been to many times, but never played.

TMN: Switching gears a bit, you once said that you’re nostalgic looking back at art and music from 2004-2007. Who are some of the artists you’re referencing?

Mat Zo: There was a whole community of digital artists, whose names I can’t remember, on websites like DeviantArt, and smaller collectives like Depthcore. Back then I wanted to be a graphic designer and I was inspired by this wave of abstract digital art that happened at the time.

TMN: We know you’ve been outspoken about the direction the industry has taken over the years and we tend to agree with a lot of what you said. Does it feel like recently the fans are self-adjusting the industry by supporting underground acts, acts with live-instrumentation, and acts who go against that aforementioned norm?

Mat Zo: Yes, it had to happen eventually. People get bored of hearing the same thing over and over.

TMN: We’d love to nerd out and talk music with you, but seeing as how this is an email interview, we’ll have to suffice with this – who are you listening to right now?

Mat Zo: Tennyson.

TMN: Following up on that – are you more of an album guy, or a build your own playlist and enjoy singles guy?

Mat Zo: Definitely an album guy. I think music should be heard how the artist intended it

TMN: Alright, last one. How’s Qbert doing?

Mat Zo: He’s an asshole. I say that in a loving way
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