Eloquently spoken, Matthew J. Bentley recently sat down with SIMshows to shed some light on [Theølogy]. The rising local opened for Markus Schulz this past November; a dream experience in itself, especially for someone currently eyeing the horizon and making their own moves.
SIM: What triggered your decision to start producing, and how long have you been producing for?
[Theølogy]: I have been producing for eight years; I used to be a conservative christian and I had a very profound religious experience in 2008. I wanted to combine what I was experiencing religiously with this genre of music that I had just fallen in love with at the exact same time. I decided to search the internet to see if there was any christian trance but there wasn’t any, so I decided to make my own. Now days, I don’t have as much involvement with the Christian scene. They sort of forgot me to a certain extent. I definitely love them though and I will not forget my roots.
While [Theølogy] is self taught, the most schooling he’s ever received is from other people in the industry. Daniel Davis, Adrian Alexander and Kenneth Thomas have all helped Matthew along his journey of production; David Thulin and Taylor Franklin have also been major influences in [Theølogy]’s trance production, and he is currently in Jason Ross’s Masterclass. What’s more, [Theølogy] is looking to set the bar in 2017 with his own niche genre of trance called, “future trance”, a meta mix of future beats with trancey elements. [Theølogy] utilizes Logic X for production. If the ode to Macs wasn’t enough, [Theølogy]’s collection of twenty-two computers over the years may be.
SIM: Do you have a background knowledge of any instruments, and are you Mozart-level in any of them?
[Theølogy]: I am definitely not Mozart-level, but some people I have learned from are! People like David Thulin are nuts. He can just sit down and create something musically genius. I’m not quite that good, but I do have a musical foundation of piano, guitar, and drums; drums being my strongest instrument, and you will hear that in my music. I am very, very intricate about my drumwork and basslines.
SIM: Did you encounter support when you decided to start producing?
[Theølogy]: I received praise, but it was – and is – far and few between. I feel like I should receive more support than I do, but it’s alright—it’s only a matter of time. I don’t make music because I want to be famous, I make music because I love trance so, so much. The feeling I get when I am DJing and impacting people’s lives with the sounds I’ve created—there is just no feeling like that. It’s about touching lives in the long run. I want to be able to connect with people over music and have it be this meaningful thing. Music is very, very, very deep and meaningful to me, it’s not some surface level crap.
SIM: What have been some of your biggest obstacles to overcome as you’ve started out?
[Theølogy]: Finding that professional sound; I struggled with it for years. I’ve been doing this for eight years, and I feel like I just starting getting to the sound I like, and yet still, it’s not even quite fully there. But honestly, it is fun because in this kind of music there is always room for improvement, which means that you’ll never arrive so to speak. That’s what I love about music production; you’ll always be changing and that’s exciting to me because I thrive off of change so much.
Chasing the professional sound has always been my biggest problem; I’ve never had problems with consistent shows or gigs because of my network of people, but hopefully it’ll spike up now since I have a manager and he’s an awesome dude by the name of Dr. Devin Hays *laughter*. He reached out to me to do management stuff right after I got laid off from a consistent, weekly DJ job that I had at LUSH, and it was perfect timing. It’s so cliché, but you know the saying of how one door closes and another opens? It was such a door opening; I have always wanted to be represented by management; there is so much more opportunity for growth when you have someone working on your behalf. I am very, very excited for the future with Devin… it’s going to be awesome.”
SIM: In your experience, how difficult is it as a local to have people give your material a chance?
[Theølogy]: I don’t feel like it’s been that difficult [for people to give my material a chance]. However, I do feel like I am just finally being given a chance in my career locally, and I am very glad that it’s now because my sound is better than it’s ever been. I feel like I am at that level where I could do a set, play mostly my own tracks, and it would be just fine because my sound is where it needs to be. Whereas if this type of exposure were to have happened to me two or three years ago, I would be slightly embarrassed coming along to this point, like, “Ehhh, my music wasn’t that good, people liked it I guess… maybe? Or maybe they just said that….”.
One example of this is when I opened for Markus Schulz the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was epic. Jack Trash told me I could play whatever I wanted, and that made the lid fly off REV. I was able to crowd test my music and gauge people’s reactions to it. It was really nice to be given that opportunity and to watch such a positive reaction. So timing is everything, and I’m super glad it’s been happening as it has been.
SIM: What have been some of your favorite / proudest moments as a local?
[Theølogy]: I used to DJ at a gay club in Minneapolis called LUSH. My proudest moment was during Pride Week when I DJed Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and on the float for LUSH. It was ridiculous, and while I didn’t get to play any of my own tracks on the float, it was still a really fun experience. I got snapchats on the float from my friends, had a bunch of people say they saw me and how awesome it was. It was a defining moment! Then, of course, that Saturday I opened for Markus Schulz. I hope that in the future I get more opportunities to share my music like that with others.
SIM: What are some of the next goals you have for yourself?
[Theølogy]: Short term wise, having a track played on ABGT; it’s funny that I say it’s a short term goal since honestly it is one of my LIFE goals, and that would be incredible. Besides that, I just want to keep producing and to keep moving up in the label world. Anjunabeats is definitely the dream label to be signed to, but you know, Armada would be cool too; Elliptical Sun, Enhanced, Silk—there’s so many labels that I love and I would love to have my music associated with. It’s only a matter of time until things start happening. I also want to tour; that has been a dream of mine for years. I.want.to.tour.so.badly. I want to live that life, I want to play in clubs night after night; I love what I do so much, and I have so much energy about it that I don’t think it would burn me out as much. Like I hear other interviews with DJs that go, “Yeah, that’s a tough lifestyle, it burns you out” but honestly, I am a travel nut at heart and I spontaneously travel whenever I feel like it, so it would be an accumulation of what I love coming together.
SIM: What is something you hope never changes about yourself as you become more successful?
[Theølogy]: So there’s that classic, “He’s a super famous DJ but he’s a douche” case, and I never want to be that. I love people so much and I want to be able to talk to as many people who like my music; I want to be able to connect with as many of them as I possibly can. When you can connect to the heart of someone else with something you’ve made—there’s nothing greater than that. I hope that never changes about me; I hope that my value for people remains number one.
And number two, after people first start out and become famous, their music sometimes becomes diluted by the world; by pop culture, by the masses and I never want my music to become diluted because I am trying to meet a label’s expectations or make bazillions of dollars. Ever. I am not going to say names, but several artists that I used to love sold out to make pop music, and that’s very disappointing to me because I know they are doing it to make bank. Listening to their poppy stuff and knowing where they came from, it’s like, “Come on dude, I know you have so much more potential than that, and you’re throwing it away because you want to make money.” I hope that is something that never happens to me; I want to be known for never getting corrupted by the masses.
As it happens, [Theølogy] will be representing Minneapolis at The Sound of Heaven festival on January 21st in Utrecht, Netherlands. This will be [Theølogy]’s third official gig in the Netherlands. We wish [Theølogy] a safe trip and look forward to hearing his unique sound in 2017. Looking to follow [Theølogy] on his socials? Find them here: