In Conversation: Matt Ryder
Birmingham born, London based multi-instrumentalist and producer Matt Ryder is a writer, producer and self-contained creative wizard as the sole creative force behind his music whilst writing, producing and self-releasing on his own label Melo / EC30, at just 18 years old. After releasing his EP 'Escape' during the end of 2021 Matt demonstrates his sophisticated penmanship, skill at production and his innate ability to connect emotion with electronic music.
Tell us the story of Matt Ryder so far?
My journey began a long time ago aha, I started by learning the piano, giving up and then starting to play the guitar at around age 7. I then started to hear electronic music on the radio and everything changed when I heard Coldplay's album ‘Ghost Stories’ which had a huge load of production done by Jon Hopkins. I then learnt how I wanted to move forward in my life, writing my music and producing it. When I was 9 I got my Dad's old iMac and it had Logic on it. This was the start. From that moment, I taught myself how to produce and have now been doing it for almost 10 years. Since then I have learnt so much about how to be creative and how to express myself through this art form. It has been truly beautiful.
How has living in Birmingham shaped your music and creativity?
Living in Birmingham changed me and grew me into the person I am today, the first time I started spending an extended amount of time in the City Centre was when I moved to a state - funded Performing Arts School in Year 10 around the age of thirteen / fourteen. I met so many different kids and was exposed to the amazing culture of Birmingham. I was listening to a bunch of new types of music and it created a spark within me that has never dimmed since that moment.
Regarding writing and producing your EP ‘Escape', what was that like as a process?
The process of creating this EP was insane! I was learning so much about who I am, and my identity began to grow as it still does today. I started the project in the first week of the first UK lockdown in 2020, from the ages of 16-18 I was building this diary of sorts of my emotions from the spare room in my house. It was such a strange time and I had so many emotions and experienced I feel like most of the younger generation missed out on so I mainly spoke about that. As we got deeper into the winter and the lockdowns continued I began to grow sad and finally met my inner self for the first time. This was tough as I was forced to look at who I was and accept that it wasn’t going to change, the only thing I could change about who I am was to change how I felt about my identity. So essentially it was a massive rollercoaster that I feel a bunch of people went through at my age in this time.
How would you describe the electronic music scene, and how have you noticed it differs from other genres?
My experience of the electronic music scene has just been a beauty, I’ve only been old enough to club in London for eight months but due to lockdown, I’ve only been able to be exposed to it for six. From the moment I walked into clubs like The Cause and Printworks, I was fixated on the magic that so many people dancing created. I feel like no matter what music you enjoy, when you're there in the moment you can’t escape the energy. I think it differs because you could never have heard the music that is playing and still feel the energy from the music. It is beautiful.
Is there one song on the EP that has an extra special meaning to you and could you tell us more about that track?
I would say ‘Escape’ has the most meaning to me on the whole EP. It was the last song I made while working in the spare room at home before I moved to London a week later. I sobbed at the mic as I sang about how I felt working in this room for the past 4 years of my life, and how I spent every day for almost 2 years in there discovering who I am today. It was truly magical and I’m so grateful to have had that moment.
What influences the music you create and do you have any other creative interested outside of music?
My main influence over the music is my own life but other than that, I listen to so many different types of music from jazz to hard rave jungle. I think it's so important to embody music when you want to create it whilst having an undying love for your craft. Another huge influence comes from visuals, I have about 50 Pinterest boards that have a variety of different visuals from the fashion world, architecture and film. Seeing imagery work together with the music is one of the most immense emotions I've ever felt to this day. The collaboration between the two is so inspiring.
Top 3 dream collaborations.
My top three collaborations? There are so many people who are amazing in their capacity and stand for so many amazing things I find it so tough to narrow it down to 3 aha!
1. Bonobo - He shaped my vision of modern dance music and changed my life.
2. Stanley Kubrick - To work with this legend of film to create a music video or music for a film would’ve been one of my greatest dreams!
3. Kelly Lee Owens - Honestly one of my favourite creatives having made so many amazing tunes that again have truly changed my life.
Bit of a fun question now, we like to do this a lot with creatives. Press shuffle on your favourite playlist and tell us the first song that plays.
Ok aha love this, I’ll do it now… it landed on ‘EARFQUAKE’ By Tyler The Creator. Great tune and another dream collaboration, I think that would be very very interesting.
What has been the highlight of your work so far?
My highlight has to be receiving DMs from strangers telling me how much they love my music. It's a crazy good feeling and always makes my day!
At just 18, you create and release under your own label Melo / EC30, how important is it to you as a creative to maintain independence and be the driving force within your own career?
I do think remaining independent is very important however, collaboration with other great creatives is also very important to me! The driving force of my career has to always land in the space where I can be as creative as I want and execute all the projects how I and a team of creatives see it. A perfect balance of independence and collaboration.
And finally, what message do you aim to convey within your music both now and within the future?
My message will always remain the same, Be who you want. No social box will ever fit perfectly so don’t let that get you down. Accepting who you are can change your life, it's one less thing to worry about on this rollercoaster of life x
Matt Ryder's Links