Matthew Burns opts for simplicity and goes by his last name on festival and nightclub rosters. He frequents Las Vegas hot spots such as Omnia Nightclub, where he will play on July 5. But just because he’s playing the biggest room at the biggest nightclub in Las Vegas doesn’t mean he only plays big-room house. The DJ and producer is interested in multiple genres, including radio pop (yes, even Britney Spears) and hip-hop, which he tries to work into his sets because he believes that in Las Vegas, anything goes.
You recently talked about going into the studio with Britney Spears. Can you divulge any details about your work with her?
I can’t say too much about it, but we’ve been in the studio a bunch of times over the last three or four months. She’s working on stuff for her new record. All I can say is that hopefully we’ll hear some of it soon.
What is it like working with her?
It’s crazy for someone like me, because she’s such a massive legend. She’s this crazy entity [with a] huge, ridiculous fan base. She’s been doing it for so long, since she was so young. So it’s such a privilege for a producer like me to meet someone of that stature. I’m excited by it. I’m just glad to be able to be doing it right now.
I assume the music you two have worked on together will be targeted toward the mainstream music consumer. Would you rather make mainstream pop music or music that caters to the dance-music crowd?
I never like to stick to one kind of sound or genre. I like to dabble, which keeps things interesting for me. Most producers would agree with that. If you repeat yourself too much, it can get boring doing the same kind of things over and over. If I can do club records one day and then the next day be in the studio with a pop act making something for the radio, that’s great for me. Over the last year I’ve been producing club records and then stuff that’s pop records for radio and hip-hop stuff and R&B stuff. I just like making music.
Your Spotify playlists make it seem as if you like pop and hip-hop music, but people who see you listed alongside such acts as Calvin Harris might assume you play EDM. Do you ever try to work in the pop and hip-hop sounds into your sets?
I do that quite often, in Las Vegas especially. Vegas is great, because you can do that kind of stuff; you have such a mixed crowd. People are coming from all over, and they’re not necessarily EDM fans or dance music fans. A lot of people are hip-hop and commercial radio fans. So I feel more free, actually; I can blend different genres together. I can play an EDM record and then I can play a Drake record or play a Bryson Tiller song and it will work, because everyone’s so diverse in Vegas. It’s not just one fan base.
Do you believe that Vegas nightlife fans are interested in music that is different than what the headlining EDM DJs typically produce?
People think that Las Vegas is very narrow-minded. But you actually have such an open crowd here. You can be more experimental. Sometimes it annoys me a bit when I hear DJs playing the same sets as each other, and I think, “Come on.” You need to try to play around with things out in Las Vegas a lot more. You can get away with it.
I like to try to see what’s happening, know what’s fresh at the time and what’s trending, and see what the kids are listening to. I’m a big fan of digging for stuff that maybe not everybody’s heard of, and then testing things out and seeing how crowds react. It’s important to listen to a lot of different music if you’re a producer or a DJ. Even if you’re just working in music, you should be skilled in every aspect of it rather than being like, “Oh, I DJ EDM, so all I listen to is EDM.” You should definitely broaden your musical taste.