During this interview, Matt Black drive us into more than 30 years of music, activism, ecology, internet, vw bus, pirate tv, Max Headroom, kissfm, london best dj’s, pirate radio, warehouses, encoders, turning Radiohead to electronic, Zen Delay, Vjamm Pro software and more. Black also discuss his latest album, and his experiences in the township of Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa, or recording with the drummer Tony Allen and leading to a collaboration with the The Watts Prophets.
Matt Black is half of legendary DJ duo and multimedia pop group Coldcut, formed in 1987, and founders of Ninja Tune, the UK label. In 2020 Ninja Tune celebrated 30 years as one of the world’s leading electronic music labels and a beacon for the independent music spirit. In 2017 Coldcut celebrated 30 years in electronic music with a string of gigs releases and special projects. A new album ‘Keleketla’ was released July 2020 to ‘universal acclaim’ (Metacritic).
Matt is known for innovations in DJing, remixing, mashup, VJing, software, digital art and multimedia. Over 34 years as part of Coldcut he has combined cutting edge artistic expression with positive activist themes in such pieces as Journeys by DJ, The Only Way is Up, People Hold On, Stop This Crazy Thing, Timber, Panopticon, Re:volution, Energy Union, Walk a Mile, True Skool, and many more. Coldcut have worked with a wild range of artists, activists and other groups and luminaries eg Steve Reich, James Brown, Mark E Smith, Queen Latifah, Jello Biafra, Saul Williams, Robert Owens, Lisa Stansfield, Crass, Roots Manuva, Lee Scratch Perry, Adrian Sherwood, Tony Allen, Joe Armon-Jones, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the RCA, Greenpeace, and Avaaz.
In 2011 Matt designed the iOS app Ninja Jamm, Ninja Tune’s first music app which has had over 600,000 downloads; in Feb 2020 the new advanced version Jamm Pro was released. Matt uses his software to perform, lecture, and give workshops on audiovisual art, technology and music- so people can use these tools for their own art and music. In 2017, 2 more apps he designed were released: Pixi a visual synth, and Robbery a satirical video game. Midivolve, a music software collaboration with Ableton was released July 2017. The Zen Delay hardware unit released 2019 is also his co-creation and was rated as one of the top effects of the decade by Music Tech.
At Splice festival 2017 Matt showcased his experiments with Style Transfer, a cutting edge new style of visual processing using AI techniques. For his AV show, done in conjunction with his wife filmmaker Dinaz Stafford, Jamm triggers visual clips so every sound has a matching visual.
Matt collaborated with artist Wolfgang Buttress (the Hive, Kew) for BEAM AV installation Glastonbury 2019. In lockdown 2020 Matt revived PirateTV the netcasting project he started in 1998, and is currently doing AV shows via Twitch.
Matt’s stated ambition is to ‘create positive art, music and spiritual technology to blow the minds of the entire planet and advance cooperative strategies’. He continues to gig, lecture, DJ, VJ, record, make films, develop software and bridge the worlds of technology, club culture, art and activism.