Matthew Koma Discusses Plans for Coachella and The Year Ahead
For the last 15 years, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival has served as one of America's premiere gatherings for the development exploration of cultural sounds and movements. From its single-day, indie rock & hip-hop beginnings to the multi-genre'd, multi-weekend event that it stands as today, the festival has always found a unique niche of artists and attendees to cater to, especially reflected in 2015's lineup.
One artist that particularly stands out amongst this year's massive line up is Matthew Koma. The NY-bred and LA-living singer, songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist is recognized as one of EDM's most prominent voices today. His hefty list of collaborations include releases with Tiesto, Hardwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Alesso, and Zedd, with the latter serving as his most recognizable release to date.
In preparation for his DJ performance at the Sahara Tent at Coachella this year, Matthew Koma spoke with EDM.com about his time in Miami, the expansion of his image, and the epic year ahead for the 27-year-old musician. Read our full interview below:
EDM: You recently performed at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, how was your experience on stage in front of such a massive crowd?
MK: Festivals are always a blast, the energy is always incredible, and at Ultra it was just really amazing to see so many sets from my friends in such a small time. The environment of a festival is not always optimal for showcasing your whole sound, since you're usually packed between sets and have to crunch all of your music into a 45-minute or hour long performance, but at the same time the audience is always excited to see you, so I try to make sure that I'm always switching things up when I sing or perform.
EDM: Many of your biggest releases and performances have been linked with your skills as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, however many of us are still becoming familiar with your background as a DJ - how do you plan to deliver your broadened image?
MK: I've always appreciated the platform that dance music has provided me, since it gives me the ability to sing, play guitar, and DJ at any given time on stage. Being a part of this industry for so long inevitably led me to learning how to DJ, and it's been a great way for me to showcase the music I'm working on and listening to that I wouldn't necessarily be able to play otherwise. I've DJ'ed a handful of shows in the past year in Las Vegas and elsewhere, and although people might not know it from my releases, it's really just an extension of who I am and how I like to play my sound.
EDM: 2015 will mark your second apperance at Coachella, however this time you return as a DJ - what can we expect from your set?
MK: It's really exciting to be returning to Indio Valley again, and this year I'll be playing at the Sahara Tent. I've got a lot of new tunes prepared for my set, including tracks that I've written, collaborations I've been featured on, and even songs that I'm just really passionate about right now. Usually I'm limited to solely singing when performing, but I'm really stoked to play some new remixes that haven't been released yet as well.
EDM: With such a diverse musical background, what artists have driven you in the past and what artists are inspiring you today?
MK: My taste is really all over the place, but Bruce Springsteen was definitely a hero of mine growing up. Nirvana also played a huge part in my development as a singer and songwriter, and my brother was a drummer in a hardcore band so he was always there to push me and my passions. Today, there's so many artists doing their own thing while staying true to the music. I got to spend time with Tiesto recently, and after learning his work ethic and talking about music I really developed a new-found inspiration for him and his career. In addition to Tiesto, Caribou has also been especially inspiring to me lately.
EDM: Looking ahead, what can we expect from you release-wise? Any EP's or albums in the works?
MK: I'm not quite ready for a full album or EP yet, but I have some big releases and collaborations down the line that I'm excited about. I've got an original track that I'm almost finished recording which has been long overdue, but that'll be my first step in creating a full body of work. Collaboration-wise, I've got a track coming out with Dillon Francis in the coming months, I've been fortunate enough to help people like Bruce Springsteen and Britney Spears on their upcoming projects too, and there's a few more things I can't quite elaborate on yet that I'm really looking forward to.
EDM: What is the most important message to give aspiring artists today?
MK: Live your life with sincerity and stay to it. It's always going to be a difficult journey, whether you're just starting and looking for recognition or hopping on flights at 4 a.m. to talk on a radio show and then head right to a gig later that night. Alot of people in the industry aren't in it for the same reason you are, so follow the voice inside of you and use your passion as a motivator to make music.