POPSPOKEN: Hi Matty! Introduce yourself – share with us a day in the life of the resident DJ at Potato Head!
Hi! I have been DJing since 1998, playing all over the world, but it wasn’t until I met my now wife and moved to Bali together that I was lucky enough to work as resident DJ at Potato Head Beach Club. I was there for just over 5 years and loved every minute of it!
Just under 2 years ago we decided that the time was right to move back to Singapore and set up shop here again. My business The DJ Dispensary specialises in Event Management, Entertainment Management & DJ Retreats at independent venues and luxury hotels and resorts both in Singapore and internationally. One of my first clients upon returning to Singapore, and one that is obviously very close to my heart was Potato Head.
The best part of my job is playing music to open minded guests and seeing a lot of the same faces returning week by week to the venue, the rest of the time is spent curating in house playlists, organising events with some of the most unique international DJs out there and scheduling some of Singapore’s more creative and open minded DJs, hopefully giving them a place where they are free to express themselves musically, which is very important to both me and the Potato Head brand as a whole.
POPSPOKEN: Tell us more about your music – the genre, your inspiration and what drives you as a musician.
Three of the main principles of The Potato Head brand: duality, balance and contrast can be found running through the entire business.
The music element of this is no different, clashing is key – it’s when opposing forces collide that we find opportunity. This is very much the way that I have always played music and why I feel so comfortable working with the group. I was quite taken aback after moving back to Singapore at how mainstream a lot of the venues are when it comes to music.
My drive here in Singapore is to take absolutely no notice of what any other venue is doing in terms of music policy, but keep pushing on with principled, informed and creative music selection. That motivates me, and I have been really pleased by the way that our residents have performed… and the amount of ‘blue faces’ you see most nights in the darkness (from people Shazam-ing, most of the time these tracks won’t be on Shazam so I always invite guests to take a photo of the track).
POPSPOKEN: How did Potato Head, which is known to be mainly an F&B joint, get involved with music?
I would say that Potato Head has never just been an F&B joint but more of a lifestyle brand, and a big part of that brand is music.
The Bali venue is quite a lot bigger than the Singapore venue, but the musical ethos is the same. We have been very lucky to get a lot of world class DJs on their way to perform in Bali, and this gives us the opportunity to showcase more intimate listening sessions, so far we have had the likes of Phil Mison, Gerry Rooney, Jon Sa Trinxa, Neil Diablo, Amit from Brilliant Corners, and DJ Maft Sai from Studio Lam all come in and play some wonderful music.
A good example of how Potato Head Singapore is much more than just an F&B joint is the inspiration that we have drawn from Potato Head Bali’s sustainability pillar – for our 5th birthday, we ran a beach clean up event at East Coast Park with over 500 volunteers helping to rid the beach of plastic waste.
We work hard at striving to empower change – as our motto says ‘Good Times, Do Good’!
POPSPOKEN: What is the inspiration behind Potato Head’s music these past 5 years in Singapore?
I can only speak for the 2 years I have been managing things here in Singapore, for me Bali is the spiritual home of Potato Head, the islands philosophies and unique energy can still inspire a great deal of the musical choices even here in Singapore.
We definitely have our own slight take on things as we are located in a city and people are not necessarily on holiday etc – but the core values that run through our music selection do not alter in any way from what me or the team would be playing in Bali.
POPSPOKEN: Have there been any obstacles in promoting an alternative genre of music, compared to the mainstream selection that Singaporeans are more known to love?
Actually no, if anything I think that a lot of guests had been crying out for more open minded programming in Singapore. It takes a lot more skill from a DJ point of view to play more genres, styles and ages of tracks ‘across the board’ but the team here is made up of some of the finest selectors in Singapore – so they know their stuff.
The mainstream stuff is always going to be a part of life in Singapore – if anything it just makes somewhere like Potato Head shine out as being a bit different – and I love that.
POPSPOKEN: What are some music acts that have graced the Rooftop Bar at Potato Head Singapore, and what were their general sentiments about getting to play at this venue?
I mentioned some of the names earlier (Phil Mison, Gerry Rooney, Jon Sa Trinxa, Neil Diablo, Amit from Brilliant Corners, and DJ Maft Sai from Studio Lam).
Our international guests always feel right at home, especially on the rooftop with our new Funktion One Sound-System. The mix of old and new design in the building and surrounding area matches our music ethos too, complimented by our busy and fun loving crowd, a good time is always guaranteed!
POPSPOKEN: What are Potato Head’s intentions with the newly-renovated Rooftop Bar from a music standpoint?
Keep on keeping on basically! I’m very happy with our team of residents – it has taken some time to grind out such a good team from all different sectors of the Singapore DJ community.
We plan to keep on with our international bookings and now we have a beautiful renovated rooftop and Function-One Sound-System, in my opinion the venue has never looked or sounded better.
POPSPOKEN: Are there any future plans to build on Singapore’s (and regional) alternative music scene?
Watch this space! Working with unlikely combinations, genuine talent and expanding the family is always a priority for us.
Creatives In The Lion City is a series hosted by Sheryl Teo on Popspoken. Read exclusive interviews with artisan souls in Singapore, as we get behind-the-scenes with the dreamers and doers in various artistic spheres and creative disciplines.