Leeds’ fascination with house and techno music has been well documented over the years.
Regardless, the amount of top-drawer talent the city seems to churn out is impressive by any city’s standards – and outside of London it might just have the most consistent and fervent electronic music following in the UK.
Although he grew up in Nottinghamshire, Matt ‘Kepler’ Farrow earned his stripes on the dancefloors of Leeds, and it’s a city that continues to leave a lasting impression on his sound. With his latest track, ‘Tool A’ out now on Silencio, we thought it a good time to check in with the man himself. Here’s what went down when we put a few questions his way recently…
“I owe a lot to Leeds for its influence on my music.”
Hi Kepler, how are you? Are you easing into the winter at this stage or already pining for summertime again?
I’m definitely already missing summer!
I wanted to ask as a lot of your music seems like it’s better suited to wintertime. Would you say that’s a fair description? And when are you more productive in terms of when you write music?
I suppose my music varies though depending on how I’m feeling or where I’m at when I’m producing. My productivity fluctuates though as I have quite a demanding second job as a teacher. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to work on new music. But when I do find the time it’s a great way to escape.
You’ve been busy DJing and producing for a while and we’re seeing your name increasingly at the moment. Can you tell us a bit about your history with electronic music and how you got to this point?
I’ve always loved electronic music, well actually all kinds of music. From growing up listening to mixtapes from club nights that my parents went to, to eventually sneaking through the fire doors of nightclubs to DJing in my hometown in Nottingham as I was too young to get in. I’ve always been pretty obsessed with the culture and everything about electronic music. Throughout my teens I was attending drum and bass nights in the city and eventually found house and techno. I wasn’t always into the more underground sound though, I somehow found myself on a more commercial path at one point – after moving to Leeds though, I became much more educated and developed a palette for more subtle and interesting sounds.
Who was your mentor early on or are you pretty much fully self-taught?
I always learnt my own way. From the days of getting production software from cereal boxes, to having a 30-minute demo version of ReBirth, to eventually getting a copy of Reason. I always just experimented and tried new things. It was later when I studied music production at University that I started to understand it more though.
Was there one gig, moment or time when you realized you wanted to do become a professional musician? Or was it more a gradual thing over time?
I can’t remember a time where music wasn’t pretty much everything for me!
I noticed you’ve shared the stage with titans of the scene such as Ricardo Villalobos, Raresh and more. What do you think it is about these guys that people find so inspiring?
Individuals like Ricardo and Raresh are unique. They push boundaries, they have character and they express themselves in a way which stands out through the way they perform. This is obviously paired with a very eclectic record collection and a shed-load of experience. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to go and see people like this regularly in Leeds. We are spoilt here with lineups.
Tell us a bit about growing up Nottinghamshire, where you grew up. Is it a particularly inspiring place for music? How does it compare to Leeds?
I was always drawn to the city (Nottingham) where there was a pretty good club scene back then. Clubs like Stealth were usually pretty good.
On the subject of Leeds though, it is so inspiring. I owe a lot to Leeds for its influence on my music. Nights like System and Butter Side Up, and venues like Distrikt have been great in educating me on some amazing music. It’s great to be a part of nights like MASS and King Size Recordings too – the crowds never fail.
You’ve a long history with Mint Club too, a club that seems to epitomize all that’s great about Leeds. How has playing there helped you to develop as a DJ?
Mint Club has always offered some amazing line-ups and to be a part of many of them over the last few years has been great. It was a place where I met many people for the first time too so it’s been great for networking. The beauty of playing a range of different nights at different times has taught me how to play to different crowds and to be aware of what records to play and when.
The Uno V/A marks your second appearance on Detroit’s Silencio label, right? It must mean a great deal for you to have your music appear on a Detroit label?
I’ve had 2 Eps on there and this will be my first on a VA – really happy to be on board with this one, I think it’s my favorite release yet. I’ve always been impressed with the ethos of Silencio. It’s so straightforward to work with Rudy and co. They are very professional.
Can you tell us a bit about the track – how it was constructed, the reaction when you’ve played it out, the vibe you were going for with it etc.?
Over the summer I worked on a number of tracks for use in my sets. These were more like DJ tools and I played a lot of them out over the summer months. This is the one that worked the best in my sets and it seemed a good fit for Rudy at Silencio.
Silencio release aside, what else have you coming up over the next few months?
So I have a few vinyl releases and remixes in the pipeline. Really excited to get a track out on Entity:London alongside some good friends, along with a track on a French label, an EP on Pathway Traxx with a remix from Fabe, and a track on Nick Beringer’s label early next year which I’m looking forward to a lot also. In between these I’ll be putting out some remixes on some great labels.
And finally, have you any new year’s resolutions you’d like us to know about?
Make more music!
‘Uno’ (featuring music by Click Box & Stefan Dichev, Wave Particle Singularity, Kepler, Yuuki Hori, Jorge Ciccioli and Laughing Man) is out now on Silencio