We exist in an era of music in which success is easily quantified—an artist becomes a sensation on an ever-higher number of views, followers, plays, likes and so forth.
By this standard, Norwegian producer Matoma has certainly done big things in a short amount of time, aggregating hundreds of thousands of online followers, and incredibly, seeing his remixes garner millions of plays in just five months. His standout hip hop meets tropical house single “Old Thing Back” currently has 53 million plays on Spotify.
True achievement, however, is about more than a numbers; it’s about depth, feeling and and that magical symbiotic relationship between the performer and the crowd. In this sense, Matoma, the 24-year old artist born Tom Lagergren, has accomplished something special.
His signature sound is a summer-ready mix of tropical house, breezy funk and classic hip-hop, with influences including Ice Cube, Xzibit and The Notorious B.I.G. While these styles may seem disparate, Lagergrenhas fused his influences into an infectiously feel good and completely danceable sound, as heard on his remixes and mashups of artists as varied as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Will Smith, Maroon Five and Axwell.
Rather than choosing a single genre label, Lagergrenprefers to simply call his output the future of pop music. His skills as a producer have indeed gained high-level attention from the pop world, with the just-released single “Try Me,” a collaboration with Jason Derulo and Jennifer Lopez, receiving a warm critical response and major radio play.Vibe called the track a“perfect tune for drop-top weather” and SPIN labeled it the best song of Lopez’s career.
This success comes on the heels of Matoma’s largely sold out spring 2015 Midnight Sun tour of the United States. “People were screaming, ‘Matoma,’” Lagergrenrecalls of those shows, “and I was like, ‘Shit, this is my dream.’”
It’s a dream that has been years in the making, beginning when Lagergrenwas a music-oriented little kid learning to play classical piano. When he tired of the instrument, he began producing music on a laptop in his bedroom. After a stint in the military, he went to University in Norway, got his bachelor’s degree in music production, and assumed he’d become a music teacher. As it turned out, however. life went in another direction after Lagergrenstarted putting his remixes on Soundcloud. He was surprised, and thrilled, to find his music celebrated by listeners around the world.
“Remixing was a really good opportunity to show people my skills,” he says. “I did that for fun, and my Soundcloud profile started growing. I got really inspired and kept going.”
In time, Lagergrenbecame a resident DJ at his university, began playing out around town and gained industry attention. This led to the aforementioned Midnight Sun tour and earned him summer festival dates clubs and A-list events including Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Camp Bisco and Hard Summer. This fall will see him on another headlining tour of the States, and he expects to have an album out in early 2016. For the time being, Lagergren issoaking up the opportunity to play for crowds around the world and flex his diverse knowledge musical knowledge.
“I always try to adapt for the crowd,” he says. “I think it’s important when you first go out and DJ that you actually can DJ.”
Lagergrenis enjoying the adventures of traveling and of making ever-larger audiences feel the same infectious vibrancy instilled in his music. “There’s too much shit going on in the world,” Lagergrensays. “I just want people to listen to my music, be happy and feel my love through the music.”
The big time success of Matoma thus far proves that audiences are indeed feeling that love, and loving him right back.