The term “a DJ’s DJ” has probably never been more accurate than with Mad Mats. He is one of those rare DJs who is more comfortable playing a wild style session rather than simply playing it safe. As Mats often states, “real DJs have balls!” He’s known worldwide to combine all styles of black dance music with a flawless DJ technique and a healthy leftfield attitude towards the underground.
Born in 1971 and brought up in one of the less privileged suburbs of Stockholm, music was not an influential part of his life until around 1983 when he dove head over heels into the world of hip-hop, eventually becoming a Swedish b-boy champ in 1985. He later excelled to become one of the resident DJs at Stockholm’s early hip-hop jams in the mid and late 80s. During a trip to London in 1988, he witnessed the thriving rare groove scene that opened up his musical senses to discover a world of alternative black dance music. Around this time, he also started producing hip-hop and collecting breaks, which made him search deeper for rare funk, soul, jazz, and world music. The black music cycle was complete when he got into house music in the early 90s after a visit to the legendary Sound Factory Bar in New York. With his wild cocktail of musical styles he became one of the most popular and respected DJs in the Stockholm club scene during the 90s and has taken on a cult status today, being voted Sweden’s beset DJ on numerous occasions.
In 1996 he started what would become one of the longest running and respected club nights in Swedish history when he opened up the legendary Raw Fusion club as a monthly party on the last Wednesday of every month. The Stockholm club was a mirror of Mats’ own musical references (100% musical freedom) and went strong for over 13 years with guest DJs like Theo Parrish, Peanut Butter Wolf, Jay Dee, Carl Craig, Laurent Garnier, DJ Harvey, Gilles Peterson, and Kerri Chandler, to name a few. At one point, Raw Fusion was so popular that it resulted in three festivals and various sister clubs around Sweden and even London and New York. Today the club still does various one off parties in Stockholm and Gothenburg with Mats himself behind the decks spinning what he loves most…absolutely everything! In 2001 the Raw Fusion brand also evolved into a highly acclaimed record label that released a wide range of dance music over the next decade from artists such as Simbad, Freddie Cruger, Future Beat Investigators, Spiritual South, etc. The catalog is still available online.
Today Mats is working hard with one of the most hyped house labels of today, Local Talk Records. Together with his partner Tooli, they deliver house in all colours and shapes with their trademark green and white brand via their releases and Local Talk club nights all across the world (Panorama Bar, Watergate, Badaboum, Lightbox, etc.). Slightly below the radar, they also run techno label Telefonplan, the disco edit label Basic Fingers, and as a side project, Mats has a little finger in a mysterious little label called GAMM.
Even though Mad Mats has had a DJ career that’s been running strong for over 30 years and taken him around the world more times than he can remember, he’s actually hungrier than ever and is spinning every week around the globe. Basically, he really loves his job – especially when he’s free to play a full night with no hands tied. That being said, his strong suit is being able to rock virtually any type of party, whether it be a house or techno night, hip-hop/r&b block party, or a classic old school retro session with soul, jazz, funk, disco, and world music. Just check his mixes on Soundcloud and experience the diverse sounds of Mad Mats. Perhaps best of all, being a dancer, it’s not unusual to see him dancing away behind the decks with a big smiley grin on his face when he’s allowed to drop his favourite tunes – remember…only real DJs know how to flip a b-boy windmill.