Now that I live in Los Angeles, I meet passionate, creative and driven people every day. Everyone seems to be chasing their dreams and the motivation is contagious! However, it’s not every day that I meet someone who exudes so much enthusiasm that I know a collaboration needs to happen. Matthew Anthony was one of those people and his passion for his music and vision for record label Perfect Driver is nothing short of infectious.
Many people in the music industry are primarily focused on producing the newest beats and the freshest sounds. While that’s a paramount part of the equation, in order to achieve total success and to truly resonate, there needs to be more behind a label than just quality tunes. Music is an experience that should be appreciated as a whole, which includes the exploration of one’s surroundings and emotions. It’s exactly that that Matt has been aiming to achieve with Perfect Driver. Read on to see just how his past experiences and relationship to music have shaped his path as not only a producer and label head, but also a human.
What 3 artists, groups or songs (from your past) provide you with the most inspiration today? What influenced you the most creatively and emotionally?I love all types of music, from the Oldies to Grunge Rock to Dance. It’s tough to pick only 3. Narrowing it down to electronic music however I’d have to say my biggest influences are Dirtybird’s Claude VonStroke, Classic Music Company’s Derrick Carter, and Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5. In addition to being incredible live as well as in the studio, these 3 artists engage their audience in unconventional ways.Claude VonStroke started his record label with little to no experience and grew it into a successful brand which I find inspiring and absolutely amazing. As things were progressing throughout the years he’d speak about it in various interviews. It was like having a public mentor of sorts walking me through the ups and downs of owning a label. I haven’t seen anyone else doing that.Apart from being a living house music legend, I see Derrick Carter as a positive role model. The way he interacts with fans is second to none. Always replying to social media comments, saying hello, giving thoughtful (and thought provoking) advice, all while wearing his heart on his sleeve. It’s energizing to see someone with his longevity continuing to treat people the right way.Deadmau5 is another example of online mentoring. I started to follow him relatively early on in his career and focused on his tutorial videos and off-the-cuff rants about the music industry. I learned from him musically while observing the industry through his eyes. He’s a ridiculously talented guy who speaks his mind. I’m glad he does it and I hope he doesn’t stop!All 3 artists have a distinct, groundbreaking sound to their music. Together with other artists who have influenced me, elements of these styles inevitably make their way into my own productions, melting into what I strive to be stimulating and innovative music.You’ve described Perfect Driver as a vehicle for discovery and exploration. Could you elaborate on how exactly the label does that and/or how it plans to do that in the future?I’ve been using the label to explore new music with our fans since day one. Together we check out tunes from talented artists in the underground house music scene. It’s a lot of fun for me to see peoples reactions as there’s a certain satisfaction one gets, hearing a song before anyone else… to make the first discovery.I’m working with some label contributors now to expand on this concept of discovery and exploration beyond music, eventually branching to environmental, spiritual, and other artistic media.At the core I’m a very curious person with lots of unanswered questions. I find myself pondering the biggest. Where did we come from? Why are we here? What happens when this journey is over? Driving into the mountains or along the coast in California, the music is always here as I think and grow, accompanying me on my journey. We can continue to use Perfect Driver on our individual paths. More to come soon on our plans.Let’s talk a little bit about the hustle and grind of being a passionate, creative entrepreneur. How do you think living in L.A. has shaped your career?The L.A. hustle is no joke and it’s difficult doing more than 2 things a day here given our traffic situation and sub-par public transportation. The reality is, it’s a saturated market of creative people doing amazing things. This can be both good and bad.The plus side is that you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals who you can support, and in turn, learn from. Endless opportunity and inspiration is at your doorstep as iconic leaders from every artistic medium imaginable make the pilgrimage here offering you a chance to personally interact and grow. The downside for some is the competition. I’ve seen many people give up. Unless one has a stellar calling card from the get-go (or disposable income) one needs to be prepared with their ‘A’ Game to work harder than ever before. If the right combination of talent and ambition is there, dreams can definitely come true here. I’ve seen a few make it big.My career goals shift. It started with “let’s just pay the rent and not move back with my mother” and somehow progressed to “let’s collaborate with respectable artists like BOT and Bad Boy Bill and companies like Apple and Spotify.” Trudging forward here can give you valuable experience and confidence and can literally position you for success.Do you find that people are more willing to collaborate in L.A. than other places?Yes, more willing than other places I’ve been. Collaborating is a must and not just in your art. For instance, the housing cost here is more than quadruple that of my hometown so it’s not uncommon to see entrepreneurs and independent creatives living together into their 30’s, 40’s or even 50’s. This unconventional “collaborative living” saves money and creates a mini-creative community. The same can hold true in your chosen industry or medium so in other words, artists team up on projects all the time. If your compelling idea is complimented by strategic planning, teamwork and perfect execution, the sky is the limit. Amazing things will happen.
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