trevor matthews on decks

forward by Brent Crampton ~ photo by todd ~ Trevor Matthews and Troy Dillard began working together about two years ago, meshing live vocals with deep house. Both have been involved in the house music scene much longer, Trevor DJing at raves and clubs across the Midwest, and Troy doing vocals for the likes of Joeski and Onionz, “Hold on to Your Love,” as well as Don Tinsley, and most recently, Demarkus Lewis. Together, the two have connected with common interests in deep house music and have performed at local events including Sweet Spot, the hottest house music night in St. Louis, as well as larger events such as Fair St. Louis, one of the largest fourth of July celebrations in the country. Together they have not produced any original material, but all of Troy's lyrics are written from his own personal experiences or from those of someone close to him.

The following mix was recorded for promotional use at this year's Winter Music Conference in Miami. As with any live set, this was recorded "on-the-fly" with just a few tracks picked out ahead of time to steer the mix into one particular direction. Afterwards, Troy laid down the vocals in a studio and together they where mixed, careful as not to do anything that couldn't be done live. Below you will find a track by track breakdown of what was going on in the mix as well as a little background information on the lyrics written by Troy Dillard. All lyrics have been given a title of their own and are open for use in production. If interested please contact Troy Dillard or Trevor Matthews for a master copy of the vocals.

On a lighter note, sit back, light one up and enjoy the mix in its entirety as that is how this was designed to be listened to.

Track Listing

Morning Star ~ Jay J & Julius Papp as Shuffle Inc. ~ Court Square Recordings
Trevor - I like to start off each mix with something other than a solid 4/4 beat, and on this project Troy was wanting to do an accapella at the beginning, so this track was a perfect fit. It gives us a nice jazzy beginning and a lot of room to build up in the mix. Jay J & Julius have produced quite a bit of the tracks in my bag, so its no surprise that one of them was going to make it on this disk.
Troy - My Life - We couldn't have picked a better intro for this mix. It really sets the mood of the mix. The lyrics are about people who try to force their way into every aspect of my life; not really respecting any boundaries and how ridiculous it all seems because I don't feel that my life is all that great.

Let It Ride ~ JT Donaldson ~ Vista Recordings
Trevor - After such a busy intro track I really wanted the second to be a bit monotonous, yet still have the deepness we were trying to capture. I wanted something that lifted you up into dance mode, and the breakdown a little over halfway thru the track is a beautiful example of why JT is becoming one of the world's most sought after producers. Exposing the percussion and adding a single bass line or two, I can't help but to start jackin’ my body as the beat kicks back in.
Troy – “It's All About You” - It's a soft dubby vocal continuing the deep feel the first track set. The message is pretty simple: everything should be about love.

The Life (Dub Mix) ~ Rasoul ~ Siesta
Trevor - This track has been played countless times at the Sweet Spot and is still a favorite. The bass is what sticks out to me the most and is what defines the track, along with the small guitar snippet. A very deep, emotional track. It really speaks for itself.

Good Times ~ Kevin Yost ~ 64 Music
Trevor - This track is formatted slightly different from other house tracks which makes it a bit difficult to mix. All the instruments come in at different times on different counts as oppose to the normal 32/64 beat count, and with the repetitiveness, its not hard to get lost in the complexity of it all. The keyboard and xylophone seem to hold the identity to the track and are its most recognizable features. But that synth is one that will talk to you in the dark. I love me some deep hypnotic jazz.

Still Dancin ~ Phonique ~ Loungin' Recordings
Trevor - So smooth, so deep . . . one of my favorite tracks of the project for sure. It includes a perfect little jazz number right in the middle that I could listen to over and over again. The beat contains a bouncy like structure to it, and the bass line is strong and almost talks back to the synth that is present throughout the track. These last few tracks weren't "filler" tracks, but I was more or less just wanting to put on some good music. The journey has just begun and I was really enjoying where I was at with the style of house I was playing at that moment.
Troy – The vocals I performed here are titled, “After All This Time.” I think this track really changes the direction of the mix. The lyrics are about a vicious circle of love that ends up with the main character being alone over and over again.

Yokoona Skateboard 2 ~ Diz ~ ?
Trevor - After taking the listener up from where it all began, I felt it was time to chill out with something a bit monotonous, prior to taking the journey downward and traveling the emotional roller coaster that so much house music seems to be missing. This little number is only in there for a slight moment, for I was worried its simplicity would bore most who where listening, including myself. Not a track I'm very fond of, but a great DJ tool.

The Sad Piano (Charles Webster Remix) ~ Justin Martin ~ Buzzin' Fly
Trevor - The title says it all. To me, this track moves beyond where most house music leaves off and was a must for the project. Life isn't always happy. Its’s not always about love and peace, nor is it a jazz number you can play over and over again. This isn't a track that one will dance the night away to, but it can make you stop and think about the bigger picture. It became a focal point for the project in the way that it became the ultimate low for where we were going, & if not done just right, it would kill the entire thing. Justin Martin broke out with this track on Ben Watt's new label, and everything that has followed has been equally moving, just on a happier note.
Troy – The “Drowning” vocals I wrote go along with the depressing theme set by track five, but it's also a very exciting and busy track about how hopeless you can feel when the every day pains of life are dragging you down and you don't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Blue Morning ~ Jetseb and AOS One ~ Nordic Traxx
Trevor - A perfect follow up for what we just experienced, I thought we needed something to get moving again, with a minimal but driven sound, minus any "happy-go-lucky.” I used it more as a DJ tool to get on to the next track.

Movin' Around ~ JT Donaldson ~ Amenti Music
Trevor - A great track on a great label. I usually play it when I want to make a transition onto another vocal track, but since Troy already had vocals, it worked out differently. The bass, the little guitar rift and the synth play off each other so well. It in fact keeps me bouncing around in my seat as I write this and listen to mix at the same time. I put the track here because I wanted the mix to move forward. It came out of a deep hole just two tracks ago and I didn't want to take the listener back down again.
Troy – The “Letting You Go” vocals are the last of the sad trio of vocals (tracks 5, 7 & 9). “Movin’ Around” is a floaty track with a soft vocal, and while it is depressing, it also begins to bring the energy back up. It's my take on the old saying that if you love someone, let them go, and how hard it is when they used to always be around.

Bole Bantu Beats ~ Julius Papp ~ Large Music
Trevor - I enjoy a good tribal breakdown, and have many tools to choose from to accomplish this, but this has been a recent favorite of mine. They're made relatively short and you need to kind of know what track your going to put on next or you can get into trouble (which is about what happened here). I like how the beat drops out completely and your left with this very raw, tribal gathering feel. It makes for an interesting mix as your left with this raw beat from the track coming in with tribal beats hammering away on top. At this point in the mix, I was trying to change it up as to not bore the listener. I didn't want to end it on a note as deep as its beginning and, this was a good record for that transition.

You + Me = We ~ Brett Johnson ~ Seasons Recordings
Trevor - Brett makes some of the most interesting tracks I've heard, and I was very surprised when Troy said he wanted to do some vocals over this. It has an eeriness to it that the rest of the tracks don't have, whether it’s in the sounds he choses or how he uses them - I really can't pin point.
Troy – The vocals I performed are titled, “Bitch.” I believe every one has a little bitch in them (some more than others), so this little humorous diddy is about accepting and embracing your inner bitch. The tracks tech-house sound and amusing message makes the flow and feel of the mix do a complete 180.

Welcome (Single Dub) ~ Brett Johnson ~ Seasons Recordings
Trevor - Putting two tracks back to back from the same artist on the same label is something I try not to do, but when it works, it works. I get off on the way that bass line comes in over the previous track and couldn't pass it up. Again, really good use of some unusual sounds. I especially enjoy the breakdown with all the bass staying in track and the spaced out sounds that are added. Very cool.

Zumas Revenge ~ Cpenn ~ Panhandle Records
Trevor - Panhandle put out some interesting tracks and this is no different. Funky bass and some nice synth stabs. It holds some eeriness to it as well, making it a good transition from Brett's tracks. At this point I've definitely picked up the pace in preparing for a big finish. The emotion one feels from the track selection has also changed at this point, lightening up a bit and moving away from the seriousness to the more standard selection of emotion in house music . . . happiness.
Troy – The song lyrics I wrote, “I Don't Get You” are about loving a person but not understanding them no matter how hard you try.

Happy ~ Spero Pagos, Paul Redman & David Polk ~Afterhours
Trevor - Well, we've come full circle now. I really wanted to end off the mix on a high note, so Troy and I planned ahead of time for this to be the last track. It brings back the jazzy feel we had going on the first track & just pushes it up a few notches. The vocal on the A-side of the record isn't to be messed with and I was hesitant on whether or not Troy should do vocals over the instrumental mix. I was in fear of taking a step down in comparison to the original mix, but Troy really came through and took it up quite a bit with the record.

Troy – The “Say Yeah” vocals end the mix. As the first track is the perfect intro, I think this is the perfect outro for the mix. It's one of the happiest classic house tracks I've ever heard. I think it's the perfect ending for the journey this mix takes you on. It's about love again, (imagine that) but not just wanting to feel love, but having it verbalized every once in while.

On the Decks is a column that gives the DJs themselves an opportunity to explain the feelings and progression behind the mix. If you are interested in being featured on the next On Decks, just eMail Todd or Brent and we'll add you to the lineup!


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