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Karma, Collabs, and Will Smith: An Interview With Matoma

This past Saturday, Tom Stræte Lagergren, better know as Matoma, rocked the house with a sold-out show at Terminal 5 in NYC. Before the show, I was able to sit down with the bright-eyed Norwegian producer and get a slice of his life while on his “Party At Your Place” tour. Take a peep below and watch him spill about his relationship, his friends from all over the world, and what it means to be an authentic artist.

Related: Best Tropical House Songs Of All Time

How's your night going?

It's really good! And it just keeps getting better and better. I woke up a little bit tired this morning.

Yeah, you were just in Chicago yesterday, and have been to most of America this past year. What's been the most interesting city you've visted?

Probably Chicago, and San Francisco. Chicago is like NY, but just a little calmer, a little cleaner, and the streets are wider.

Do you ever go back to Trondheim where you first started your career?

Last week I was there! I always try to re-connect with the people I love and the people I consider family. I live there with my brother sometimes. And this time I was there because my girlfriend was visiting, she had a reunion with her school. So, she went there during the weekend, and then I came back to Norway to stay with her for the week.

Awesome! Are you two ever apart for long?

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We try to not stay apart for too long, but next week she is going to Africa, do work in schools in Zimbabwe. So I won't see here in the next month. It going to be good when I get to see her again. She's coming to my show in Miami!

That's excellent!

It's all about spreading the love, you know! (Laughs)

You've mentioned spreading the love is the reason you perform.

I really believe in having good energy. Of course I can have off days, but its about the overall energy you spread. I believe in Karma, and treating others with the respect you would treat yourself with. It makes life so much easier. [My team] works so hard every day, and we have hard discussions, but at the end of the day we love each other, and that's the most important thing.

Tell me more about your team.

Stian, he's been my tour manager for three years now. He's my best friend. Sometimes it hard to travel this much, and spend every night in a hotel room. You need somebody you trust.

You have a crazy tour ahead of you.

Yeah, I've also been in the studio in LA, just doing sessions. When you in the room, making music, time flies man. And then suddenly it's four, five in the morning!

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What have you been working on?

My own new material! Hakuna Matoma is a dynamic album that continues growing. I've been doing that for over a year now. Around 2017, I'll probably finish the album, wrap it up, and officially release it as a special edition album. My next single is coming in March!

Wow, do you have a title for it?

I can't tell you! (laughs) It's a secret. But what's out now is “Heart Won't Forget”, with Gia.

That's a great track. And so it “False Alarm” with Becky Hill. What was it like working with her.

Oh, wow, Becky was an amazing artist to work with. She has such character. To be with such artistry was incredible. We performed at this nationally televised music award show in Norway, and when we were doing sound check, we performed the song once, the directer for the entire program came over and was like “Holy Macaroni, was that playback on the tape?” He was super impressed.

So you're music draws from many different spheres of influence, and it's often been called Tropical House, what do you think about that?

I feel that some of my music can be related to tropical, but so much music is tropical! But, a tropical house record doesn't become a tropical house record just because you put bongos on it! Like, for example, I feel like the Notorious B.I.G track is more future disco and nu hip-hop; It just has a few elements that make it feel tropical.

With your upcoming tracks, do you think your going to explore different styles?

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I will never end up being somebody I don't want to be. Of course I will always have a Matoma flavoring to all of my songs, but I also want to become a bigger and better producer. I always seek knowledge, because knowledge is everything, you can never have enough knowledge! When I'm in the studio, I am always trying to make new sounds, but at the same time, I want people to recognize my music and say “that's a Matoma track”. It's who I am! But who I was ten years ago isn't the same as who I am today. And so, in ten years time, I'll have music different than the music I make now, but it is still me.

I think your personality really shines through your music.

Thank you!

It's super uplifting. I appreciate that you are honest with your fans.

I really feel that. Of course, its cool that artists have an image, and do image campaigns. But, I just want to be Tom. I have an artist name, which is Matoma, but right now, talking to you, I'm just Tom. That's why I always keep my Instagram personal. I want everyone to see “me”.

Have you gotten close with any fans over the years?

Yeah! There's two guys that I know that have always supported me, Charles and Zach. They've been to about 14 or 15 Matoma shows. They travel around the states, and once they drove twelve hours to see one of my shows!

Well, you ready to crush it tonight?

Hopefully! This is my biggest headlining show ever, so I'm pumped. [Terminal 5] is a sick venue!

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Nice! Before you go, who's your dream collaboration with right now?

Will Smith!


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