Q: Draughtsman to dj explained that transition if there was a transition?
I worked as a draftsman for 10 years in Luton, and was DJ-ing as a hobby from the age of 14 and getting bookings for house parties, youth events and club nights. In the early 90's recession I left my job in 1991 and decided I wanted to pursue my hopes of becoming a professional DJ. To do this I came to London and for months just went around checking out the club scene. I found a club in Islington called Paradise and begged the Happy Days promoter, Timmi RamJam for a half hour slot. I ended up playing for 2 hours and the rest is history, as they say. That lead to me becoming resident at the early Sunday club night, Happy Days at The Elephant & Castle, The Arches, Gass Club etc which were the foundations of the UK garage scene as it began to take off.
Q: What has kept you hungry for dj’ing?
My love of music forsure and after 20 years doing this job, I still get excited when I step up to the booth. I play lots of styles of House & Garage so the buzz of the ever changing music scene and crowds still excites me. I am also privileged to travel around the world so Dj-ing, in so many different cultures is another bonus and my tour of America starting with Las Vegas and LA is my next exciting challenge.
Q: UK Garage at one time was absolutely huge is it wrong to say that it has now gone back to its roots as a more underground genre and is that good?
No you;re right...Uk garage has gone back to its roots and it needed too as well. We had built up something back in the early 90's that lots of people thought would only last a year or so and blew up to become a fantastic genre in it's own right. But Garage lost a lot of high profile producers around 2002 when the big pay checks dried up and other genre's were getting more attention with the kids. It's always had a good mix of styles within dance music, be it house, grime, breaks etc so being underground is a good place to build from. I've also seen the same thing happen to other genres.
Q: You have been called a pioneer but who else in your mind has pioneered UK Garage and evidently UK music. three names will do?
This will get me in so much trouble as picking three is just not enough..I need at least 20.. lol.. but ok, I will have to pick my favourite from the 4x4 early times.. So apart from TuffJam, I would say Todd Edwards, Grant Nelson and MJ Cole. I think these three influenced the change of the sound of UKG back in the day, but there are so many people from Booker T, Wookie, Artful Dodger (Mark Hill), Sticky etc, who also shaped it and the list is endless. You also have to remember in the early days our dj sets were a combination of UK and US productions, and would have included the sounds of Maters At Work, MK, Kerri Chandler etc.. ENDLESS!!
Q: How is the label going and has that been hard to juggle along with your other pursuits?
Solo Traxx is doing very well, having released tracks from Rosie Gaines, Lenny Hamilton Jr as well as our own productions which are doing very well on all the digital websites. I have taken some time out over the summer due to DJ commitments around the world and some remix projects for other artist/labels, but am now working on new material with some well-known House artist's for release later in 2011 and 2012, and for me it's exciting times.
Q: Emcees irritating or needed?
HAHA!! Depends on the MC's.. There have been times back in the early days of garage, especially at The Arches on a Sunday when I would turn the mic off from the mixer if the MC was chatting crap or too much. I used to have a reputation for doing it back then.. lol, but it all comes down to who the MC's are and we in garage have some great ones as well as some new faces breaking through. I have my favourites and they are needed, and they know who they are.
Q: What’s the future hold for you now?
I have achieved so much in the music industry but I still want to do a DJ tour of the USA & Australia. Dates are already being arranged for a tour in Las Vegas & LA and then other states in 2012. As well as this there's lots of productions on the house tip as well as remixes for other labels, and I will also be doing some DJ/Production workshops for young kids in 2012. And some unreleased Tuff Jam tracks we did with artist such as Michael Watford, Bryan Chambers, Kristine Blond (to name a few) are scheduled for 2012 with new remixes.. WATCH THIS SPACE!!!
Q: Outside of music what does Matt Jam Lamont have a passion for and why?
I have a great passion for football and I'm a big Manchester United fan. I used to play a good level of football back in my day and I was a decent player, winning lots of trophies. I am at the moment making moves for my coaching badges, and helping a friend at the moment coach an under 16's side so I will at some point look to coach a youth team after I get my badges in 2012.
Q: You travel the world so where has been the place where you were blown away by their reception for you?
I remember doing a Tuff Jam gig at The Warehouse nightclub in Toronto, Canada, to 8,000 people back in 1997, and I was worried as we were in the same room as D&B legend, Kenny Ken and thought the crowd weren't going to be into our House/Garage sound. I was so shocked by the reception they gave us and the noise throughout our set was electric. It was an amazing night and the same thing happened when I Dj-ed in Bahrain in 2001, and I never expected such madness.
Q: I there anything you want people to know that I have not asked?
I have over 50,000 records which all need converting to mp3 digital format so if anyone has a few years spare to help me do this I will be forever grateful lol.
Also I have over 2000 pairs of trainers I've gained on trips around the world but I've only ever worn 15 pairs!
Matt Jam Lamont joins DJ EZ, Booker T, Mikee B (Dreem Team) and Carole Sylvan at the Back To 95: Legends Of The Old Skool party on Firework night Saturday November 5th at Pulse in Southwark. For all info please go to www.backto95.com or facebook back to 95