We had a chance to sit does with the genuinely nice and very tall Matoma just before his set at Splash House. Read what he had to say to his fans.
Text by Seth Dempsey | Photography by Anna Olinova
How did you come up with the name Matoma and what’s the significance behind it?
I had a name before that was not a good one. Matoma came from an after party of a Calvin Harris show in Toronto. I was having a good time with my brother and friends. My Brother was a little drunk and said to me, “Tom, you’re starting to create great music but your name sucks!” This slightly offended me, so we got into a brotherly argument. My friend mistaking our argument for a fight came between us and said, “Tom and Dan, can you just take life easy? Hakuna matata!” My brother being a little drunk tried to back phrase it but said “hakuna matoma.” We all laughed, but we also all knew this needed to be the new name. That is how I got the name Matoma.
Before becoming Matoma, you were studying to become a music teacher. Can you tell us about the difference between being a teacher and being a Dj?
The big difference was that I am working with a different kind of music and reaching out to a different crowd. I am also influencing people on a bigger scale. I am always trying to influence people and be someone to look up to. But really I’m just a regular guy getting the opportunity to make music, travel the world, playing my own music, and spreading the love.
You got your first platinum record for the song “Old Thing Back”. What’s that experience like?
It was a great experience. When I look back on it, its quite crazy. I just finished college a year ago and a couple months later getting my first Platinum Record. It’s kind of unreal. But I try to keep in mind that I need to stay focused. I get a lot of inspiration from my record and the amount of views I got. Now, I’m taking that inspiration as an artist and producer to create new music. My next goal is to create a song that gets two platinum records. But the main importance is that the people enjoy my music.
How was your experience working with Jason Derulo and Jennifer Lopez on the Song ‘Try Me’?
Working with Jason Derulo and Jennifer Lopez was a lot of fun and a great experience. Also really stressful. I got notified on a Thursday that they wanted to feature on a track I made, but it had to be done by Sunday. I had to go perform in Chicago, Washington, and New York before heading back to Los Angeles, to finish the track. I did as much as I could on the tracks from the hotel rooms before arriving back to LA. I flew into Los Angeles Sunday morning, then drove straight to the studio. Used 4 days recording vocals and finishing the track. It’s turned into a really big song.
What has “Try Me” done for your career?
It has given me the opportunity to play at bigger festivals and more festivals in the United States. It was also great to see Jason Derulo taking something new like tropical house and commercializing it. He’s also appreciating it as his next single, which is awesome. So it will get even bigger from that.
Do you get nervous before your sets?
I always get a little nervous before my sets whether it be for 200 or 20,000 people. The people that come to my shows to hear my music, they don’t care how many people are there. They come for my music. So I always have the pressure to deliver the best performance I can at every show.
What festival or shows are you most excited to play next?
Billboard Top 200 Festival and TomorrowWorld. I’m very excited to play at both of these. They are going to be so dope!
What has been your most memorable show you’ve played this year?
Bonnaroo was definitely the most memorable. It was insane. I thought there was like 1o,000 people at my show, but it turned out to be a lot more. The stage director came up to me after the show and said we had a record for that stage.
Is there anything you would like to say to your fans here in the United States?
Without you, there would be no Matoma. I am very grateful for having such loyal fans that are always supporting me and coming out to my shows. You all bring the best vibes. Almost all my inspiration comes from my shows. Meeting new people with the best hearts and energy spreading the love, to me that’s the most important thing. I love my fans.