Slipmatt on Slip's House and the emerging Rave House sound [Interview]

Published 12th October 2022

Whether as a DJ or producer, radio host, podcaster or promoter, certified rave legend Matthew Nelson - AKA Slipmatt - has been at the forefront of rave and dance culture from the very beginning.

Forever pushing things forward, he has, for some time now, been championing the sound of Rave House, and this Saturday the 15th October he headlines Catch The Feeling Presents: THIS HOUSE IS FOR RAVE HOUSE at LDN East.

We were lucky enough to catch up with him specifically to get the lowdown on what we can expect from this all-dayer, the origins of his Slip's House podcast and his thoughts on the emerging new Rave House sound...

What can you tell us about the event this Saturday?

Well I've teamed up with Catch The Feeling to help them put this event together. Catch The Feeling has been going a few years run by Jodie and Tom. Basically, the way house has evolved over the past maybe 5 or 6 years is it's taken a lot of influence from the old school, from the classics, a bit like what I did with the rave breaks thing I suppose. There’s a lot of tech house tunes coming out with lots of rave influence - and not just rave sounds but that kind of energy you know? So we just thought why not do a party around that sort of theme - a big nod to the rave scene and the culture.

And it’s an all-day event?

It's an all day event yeah. The venue is actually an open air venue - LDN East - but it's got a roof that they can put over as well. So that's the concept really, a big nod to the rave culture. I'm sure there'll be a lot of people there with bucket hats! There’ll be a little bit of old school but a lot of new music.

How would you define rave house?

I think it's the stabs for me – if there’s a good old rave stab in there that’s when I’ll start calling it rave house y’know! It's not like every tune we’re going to play on the weekend is going to have a rave stab in it or an old skool sample but it's the energy that goes along with it.

Any producers we should be keeping an eye on? I know Clarke + East released the ‘Adventures in Rave House’ album.

They did yeah - they caught on to the whole concept of it all. I've been pioneering their tunes for a couple of years on my Centreforce show. They've been giving me a lot of their stuff first and I've been really showcasing it for them. They did their own album on Bandcamp which did well. They've come a long way with it and they're headlining with us on the weekend. They are right into that rave house sound and are both very talented DJ's as well as producers.

You mentioned your show on Centreforce which shares a name with your Slip’s House podcast. How did the podcast come about and how do you differentiate between the two?

As you know I've been doing the World of Rave podcast for a long time – blimey that'll be 10 years next year! So anyway, just over five years ago I thought I didn't want to just put out a podcast with old school music. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great and I still love doing it and it's still very popular - if anything it's going from strength to strength - but as a DJ I felt I should be playing more new music.

I've always been into house right from when it started back in ‘86. in fact, for most of my career the lion's share of what I've done is house music. ’88 to ‘89 was all house music then it went bleepy-bassy and then into hardcore sort of ‘91 to ‘93 then it was the happy hardcore thing. I had a lot of focus on that but by ‘94/’95 I was playing a lot of house again which a lot of people don't realise because I was so well known for doing the hardcore thing. By ’95 I was playing at the Aquarium and back and forth Ibiza to present day every single summer playing house music. So I've done the house thing for most of my career.

Around 2016/17 the tech house sound caught my ear and so I thought now is the time to get stuck into doing some new music. I thought ‘let’s just get started and see where it takes me’, so on my 50th birthday in 2017 I started the Slip’s House podcast. I kept both podcasts going for a while but after a few months I thought it was too much especially alongside bits of radio so I cut the World of Rave down to once a fortnight and did them alternate weeks. It took a little while to get going I suppose but as a DJ I’m probably playing three times as much new music now as I was back then. It’s worked for me massively and I love it as well - as a DJ you can't beat playing new fresh music.

I called the podcast Slip’s House and then Centreforce asked me to do a guest show which was originally only meant to be once a month. I think there was going to be four of us in rotation – I think it was me, Tall Paul, Seb Fontaine and someone else but then the pandemic hit. Danny at Centreforce said ‘no one’s really out working at the moment, do you want to step in and do it every week’ so the Slip’s House name just stuck. It became a weekly show and has gone from strength to strength - it gets tons and tons of replays on Mixcloud every week and we get number one on the rave charts and sometimes on the tech house charts in the UK. I suppose it’s a little bit unusual calling them both Slip’s House but it’s just the way it worked so there’s really no point changing it now!

The podcast is an hour of upfront house – where do you begin curating a show like that when there’s so much new music released each week?

So I go through my music every week pretty much. I go through all my promos - which in itself is loads because I'm on so many promo lists - and then I go through all the new releases that I can on Beatport, Traxsource and whatever and it takes ages. I might go through something like 600 tracks a week. I can tell straight away with some tracks whether they’re right for me but it's still a lot of work and it takes me the best part of a day to do it. Every week it's a good chunk of my Wednesday and maybe a couple of hours then on the weekend if I'm due to do Slip’s House. I normally end up with something like 30 to 40 tracks in Rekordbox and then I whittle that down to about 16 or 17 tracks and squeeze them into an hour.

I subscribe to the show on Mixcloud so I can access the tracklists and I’m often picking up new tunes as I’m listening. For me the podcast is the modern equivalent to when I’d walk into a record shop and the person behind the counter would start pulling tunes off the racks and making suggestions.

I think you're right actually, I do get a lot of people on my travels saying ‘I get all my tunes from your podcast’ or that they Shazam the radio show. I think it does provide a good service for people - obviously people that have got a similar taste to me - but yeah, that's totally right, a lot of people go to the podcast to see what's new.

Yeah, because otherwise we’d all have to spend a day sifting through 600 tracks!

Haha, exactly yeah!

You’ve had a number of releases this year – do you still get a buzz from producing new tunes?

I do yeah, very much so. I'm trying to find time to do more actually. Zipped Up went really well and I’ve got another tune out at the moment with Chelsea Singh. I'm working with Dope Ammo as well on some house stuff. I had a good chat with him earlier and we're going to start putting together some rave house tunes for Moondance moving forward. There's a lot going on, the trouble is these days it's finding the time to do it all.

On that note, Old School Ibiza must take a big chunk of your time?

It takes a bit of time yeah. That's looking really good as well – we’re half sold out of that already for next year! I highly recommend it - it's such a nice group of people. It's so friendly and such good fun. I think we've tailored it to a really good concept where it’s all-inclusive and everyone is together for the whole week.

Finally, will there be any further Rave House events on the horizon?

Oh yeah, I’ll be looking at something else definitely, 100%. It's been so, so busy this year and the music has been going down so well with a really broad audience as well. It's actually really nice to see that the old skool ravers are really enjoying the sound. I played the Moondance festival a couple of weeks ago and played a bit of rave house there which I wouldn't normally do – it was really nice to see how well it was received. I don't think the rave house sound is going away!

Tickets for Catch The Feeling Presents: THIS HOUSE IS FOR RAVE HOUSE are available here.

For all past, present and future episodes of Slip's House or World of Rave be sure to follow Slipmatt on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

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