WORKING IT: "Mouth to Mouth” took off at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival.
Matthew Dear is the golden child of US techno. The Michigan-by-way-of-Texas DJ has had success with various projects — False, Audion, and Matt Dear — topping charts in the likes of Germany’s Groove and the UK’s Mixmag. The Audion track “Mouth to Mouth,” a simmering, tension-filled delight, was picked up as a set closer by superstar DJs last year and was included on such year-end compilations as Sven Väth’s Sound of the Seventh Season. Acclaimed Audion remixes for the UK dance group Hot Chip and San Francisco’s Claude VonStroke followed. This Sunday Dear makes a DJ appearance at “Bump,” a party run by Randy Deshaies’s Marz Entertainment at Phoenix Landing. Expect to hear some mix or variation of “Mouth to Mouth.”
“I made that track right in between a trip to Europe and the Detroit Electronic Music Festival,” he recalls on the phone from San Antonio, where he’s visiting family. “I passed it along to my friends in Detroit and Richie Hawtin and we ended up playing it so many times that weekend.” It wasn’t until the finale of the festival, though, that he knew he had a hit on his hands. “Rich closed the festival with that track. I wasn’t there for it, but people were like, ‘Oh yeah, Richie closed with ‘Mouth to Mouth!’ I knew it was something special.” The buzz made its way back to Dear’s label, the Ann Arbor–based Ghostly. “We had to rush it onto vinyl. We had to go into overdrive to beat the summer rush and get it out for the closing season of Ibiza. The summer in Europe, that’s when a lot of tracks get into rotation.”
“It’s a killer crossover single,” says Deshaies. “All the house heads were playing it, all the techno heads were playing it. I even saw it on some of the progressive-house charts. Good music is good music any way you slice it, but the way the song is made up, it bounced enough for house, but it’s edgy enough to be put into a techno set. It all comes down to the production.”
Deshaies offered his tech-house associate Sergio Santos the opening slot for the night. “He’d kill me if I had anyone else opening. He played ‘Mouth to Mouth’ one time at Rise and I was immediately like, ‘What the heck was that?’ You gotta work that track. You can’t just let it ride, you have to work it.”
Deshaies worked hard to bring the superstar DJ to town. “It’s gonna be the biggest departure from what we’ve been doing the last few years. I didn’t know how people would react to what we call an underground house night.”
But the likelihood is Dear will come through. “I’ve been playing a little more house. I’m up for a little bit of a different kind of mood lately. I just finished my new album, which has been a long time coming, so I’m looking for a more uplifting outlet. A lot of the stuff I’m playing is real groovy. . . . I don’t want to say minimal, but really detailed dance music.”