Exposing Matthew Steeper: Beyond The Beats
Since 2010, when Canadian born singer, songwriter, producer tri-fecta Matthew Steeper graduated from Berkley college of Music, he has dove head first into the world of dance music and worked with dozens of the industry’s most famed DJ’s and producers. If you haven’t heard his name before, you may recognize the countless renowned tracks that he has helped produce and write in recent years, including his first major release “No One” with Project 46, which quickly climbed the charts to become a Beatport Top 10 single. In 2015, his track “Come Alive” with Adam K dominated the airwaves of radio stations all over Canada and beyond. For now, Steeper resides in Los Angeles and, lucky for us, took an evening to sit down and talk to EXPOSED about his journey rising up in the dance music world and why he is no where near finished impacting lives through his music.
EXPOSED: As a Canadian born artist who grew up in Europe and now lives in the U.S., how do you think your background of working and living in these different industries has influenced your musical style?
STEEPER: it exposed me to electronic music very early, like when I was about 12 or 13 I was already producing trance music and writing dance music. That was at a time when in North America there wasn’t really an electronic music scene, at least commercially. On the radio in Europe trance and all these genres that people know about now were a lot more mainstream. Growing up I was going to discos when I was 13 or 14 and in Europe that’s a more normal thing there. It wasn’t everything, but it made those types of styles familiar to me and gave me a foundation to understand how that music works.
EXPOSED: As a singer, songwriter and producer, you certainly are a jack of all musical trades. With such a vast skill set, what led to you pursuing your career in the genres of electronic dance music over styles like hip-hop, pop, alternative or rock.
STEEPER: From the beginning, I think that music for me was about storytelling. When I was very young, maybe eight years old, I had an electric suitcase organ that you plug in. I would play that and record tapes and as I was playing I would tell a story verbally. I loved the idea of music adding emotion underneath the words. In dance music you have such a broad palette to use when you are telling a story, because you have all these cool sonic elements. So, I think from the beginning I always loved that and when I started making my own music the tools that were most accessible to me where the keyboard and the computer. That lends itself to making music electronically because I had more possibilities and sounds to explore.
EXPOSED: What was your first reaction to the overwhelming success of your first radio smashhit “Come Alive” with Adam K in 2015?
STEEPER: That was funny because initially I was writing this song with Adam K and at first when I heard the track, and sat down to write something in my room on my crappy mic, I sung some random ideas and I forgot about it. I tried from that point to revise the lyrics but we couldn’t seem to get away from what we had in the demo and all the mumbo jumbo lyrics came together and just made sense. At the end of the day it all came together without me consciously finishing it. When it came out I was a little anxious, but it had such an awesome reception. It went on this radio station in Toronto, Hot or Not, and it was voted “100% Hot” from by listeners. I thought that this couldn’t be happening (laughs). In my mind I have certain standards and criteria for what is a good, finished piece of music, but that was thrown out with this song. It was amazing to see a song take off on its own merit and not on the merit. The final version is still the original demo that I made on that mic in my bedroom.
EXPOSED: You have collaborated with countless legendary DJ’s and producers, like Gareth Emery, Slander and Chuckie to name a few. Who would be an artist you would love to collaborate with in the future or someone that you would love to work with again?
STEEPER: We just a finished the Blueprint album with Ferry Corsten and I got to do a lot of the production. We put a narrator and dialogue together to create this like sci-fi space opera. I want to work with people that want to push the boundaries of music like they did. I like working with ghost producers of big DJs, because those are people whose voices haven’t been heard as artists yet, but whose talents have been proven.
EXPOSED: Gareth Emery and Standerwick’s 2017 track “Saving Light” featuring HALIENE, which you co- wrote, and corresponding music video tell the heartbreaking story of two bullied teens and supports anti-bullying efforts. What is the story behind the lyrics to this wildly successful and touching song?
STEEPER: Initially we were writing a pretty dark song about suicide. For me personally, I haven’t been in a long period of depression where I have thought about taking my own life, but people very close to me have been there. It’s definitely hard for the person that’s dealing with that sort of thing and their loved ones. I was thinking about my experiences with someone close to me that was going through that. This song really spoke to the power of showing love and life to someone that is going through a tough, dark time. Music has so much value and meaning to people and sometimes writers get caught up in the business and forget that this can get someone through a hard time and even save a life. We really wanted to go to the deepest level of what music could do and make something that would effect people in a good way.
EXPOSED: Who has been your biggest inspiration in the dance music world and why do you look up to them?
STEEPER: I mean it’s pretty cheesy because I like the typical big names like Tiësto and Armin. It’s funny, there’s a trance duo called Aly & Fila that I really liked when I was growing up and I’m actually working with them now. We have a couple songs that we are just finishing and that’s a personal dream come true. I really liked Gareth Emery and his older stuff so it was awesome to work with him as well. I was less of a fan boy of specific artists than I was of certain sounds.
EXPOSED: Are there any surprises or new tracks in the works that Matthew Steeper fans can look forward to this year?
STEEPER: I’m working with Monstercat and we are filming another video with the Saint James Music Academy kids choir, a charity that helps under privileged youth who can’t afford musical education. They are doing a rendition of “Saving Light” and I’m going to play piano, HALIENE is going to sing and we are going to make a video to promote this charity. So, “Saving Light” is still going to be used to raise awareness and hopefully some money for these kids. There is a new video and remix package coming out for the track eventually. Then, I also am doing a lot of original music with HALIENE. I have some really cool collaborations coming out with some big hardstyle artists and another one with code black. Hopefully that song will be debuted at EDC, we will have to see.
It’s safe to say that just about every project that Steeper takes on seems to turn to gold. Having learned from and worked with talents from all ends of the electronic music spectrum, he has proven that no opportunity is out of his reach. Be sure to catch him on July 7 at Exchange LA alongside HALIENE and Standerwick at Insomniac Presents Awakening and keep an eye out for some rumored new collabs with some of hardstyle’s biggest names. Follow Matthew Steeper on his official Facebook, Soundcloud and Twitter for more updates and new music from this sonic genius.
PC: Matthew Steeper Official FB
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