Bedroom Producerby Mahala High Five Brigade / 02.08.2013
The Puma Social Club in Braamfontein has been pulling in some of the best South African bands and DJ’s to perform there. Every night is unique. But the one consistent thing about a Friday night at the Puma Social club at the moment is a set from their resident DJ Matt Suttner. We had the chance to ask him about the things he’s seen go down at the PSC, and whether after all this time he is still drinking frozen margaritas and enjoying the party.
MAHALA: So you’ve had a weekly set at the Puma Social Club for as long as we can remember – are you still having fun there?
MATT SUTTNER: Generally when you have a residency that lasts so long, it gets pretty boring. With Social Club, I’ve never had a dull night. I think it has something to do with the fact that you never know what to expect, there are always new acts playing and a new audience to go with them. Yes – still having tons of fun.
How did you get the job?
I’ve been endorsed by Puma for more than 5 years and have played at all of their other Social Club properties, they approached me towards the middle of last year with this concept and asked if I’d like to be resident DJ. I acted pretty cool about it on the phone but there was some major fist-pumpage going on in the background. I never would have guessed it would have gone on for a full year.
Where else do you play regularly?
I run a night at Great Dane with Heather Mennel (H-Bomb) called Stereo Science, it’s just down the road from Social Club and also on a Friday but contrastingly underground when compared to the sound I play at Social Club. It’s also some of the best music you’ll hear in Joburg on a Friday night. Otherwise I’ll play wherever there’s a good party.
Are there ever weeks where the PSC is quiet? Or does it pump every week?
I’ve never seen a night where it hasn’t pumped.
Do you change your tunes to align with the guest bands and DJs?
Not really, I play for the regulars at PSC, and Shadowclub’s groupies.
Do you ever want to jump up on stage and play with them?
It hasn’t happened yet, although I’m planning to ask AKA if I can drop a triangle solo during his set on the 16th. I have had guests jump on stage with me though, last week Jo from KidofDoom and I had an impromptu one on one. Was fun.
Best Puma night you can remember?
I was lucky enough to have my birthday party at the club on the 28th of December. I turned 30 on the 29th and Puma were kind enough to allow me to choose my own line-up for the night. That was really special, kinda eased the pain of supposedly entering adulthood.
I had a little bit of an equipment malfunction the one night, I was closing the party and my headphones stopped working with a dance floor full of crazed Puma Socialclubians… I had to play the rest of the night blind, had some seriously dubious mixes and side-eyes from the purists in the crowd.
What is, hands-down, the weirdest thing you’ve ever witnessed?
Lazola Gola trying to pick up chicks.
Do the crowds change much?
There is a different crowd every week, it’s awesome (and challenging) to play to fresh ears all the time. There is a solid core of regulars though, who get in early and are just the most amazing crowd to play to.
What do you do before and after your set?
I’ll usually play an early set at Great Dane so I’m nicely warmed up by the time I get to social club. My sets are usually pretty high energy so when I have to turn off at the end of the night I’ll usually hop out the window behind the stage to get some air and hide from drunken revellers who don’t understand I have no say over when the music gets turned off.
What’s your ‘usual’ when you walk up to the bar?
I’ve managed to wean myself off the margarita slushie that they have at the bar – that shit is dangerous! I switch between a decent beer or a good whiskey. By the way – I do accept tequila shots while playing, that doesn’t mean I’m going to play Dubstep, “something with words”, Lil Wayne or Nicki Minaj.
You run a marketing company during the day, how’s that going?
Yay! Free advertising! We’re called Sly Creative Labs and we have a lot of fun, and have cool clients. Our website sucks, don’t judge us we’re too busy doing real work for our clients.
Is there anywhere in Joburg that can rival the Puma Social Club for a good night out?
Fridays and Saturdays at Great Dane. Otherwise once-off events organised by (very a very specific group of) promoters are always good. I was at Riaan ‘Data Takashi’ Botha’s Disco de Moda party on Saturday night at Chez Ntembu, loads of fun and great music. Anything that Gert and Stefan from Seed put together is also guaranteed to be a good night out.
Did you grow up in Joburg?
Nope, I was born in East London and went to high school in Pretoria. I only moved to Jozi after a gap-two-years overseas.
How long have you been making music for?
I’ve been a bedroom producer since high school, started DJing and playing drums in primary school.
Who inspires you?
There’s a revival of slower, deeper and more intelligent music at the moment which I’m very excited about. I’m listening to and taking inspiration from a lot of nu disco and deep house artists at the moment. Eats Everything, Soul Clap, Justin Martin, Basement Freaks, Flight Facilities and Kraak & Smaak come to mind. Locally loving the sound coming from with guys like Kent, Kid Fonque and Daniel Ray.
Who would (or have you) you feel most intimidated to follow with a set?
I played after Jack Parrow in Bloemfontein at another Puma event. I was standing in the wings watching him rock an audience of 1000 while simultaneously downing a double brandy and coke with his foot on the monitor in silk boxers. I was awe inspired but also left wondering what the hell I was gonna play to follow. I didn’t do too badly though, brandy and coke does a lot for your confidence.
Did you tour with Jeremy Loops?
No. I did come up with a name for his tour though, I’m not sure if he actually ended up using it.
Describe an average day in the life of Matt Suttner…
My days are not very average because I travel a lot, so this varies as to where I am in the world. An average Jozi day would consist of waking up early and then snoozing as long as possible. I’ll spend a couple of hours in the office dealing with concepts, creative and unfortunately a little admin. At some point someone in the office will find a way to distract everyone else and we’ll end up looking out the window at our garden maintenance guy, debating weather he’s stoned or just enjoys staring into space. I do meetings in the afternoon and then if I’m not out, I’ll spend most evenings in studio. Sometimes I watch Undercover Boss and cry a little.
What are you never without?
Macbook pro, ipad and good headphones.
What can people expect from the Puma Social Club this Friday?
I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty mad with a fresh line-up. We have Mr Seruno, W.R.A.P and yours truly on stage. If you don’t wanna stand in the queue, I recommend you get there early. Or don’t, just don’t call me for guest list.
* All images © Dustin van Zyl