There are two musical sides to Matthew Dear – the fun, bouncy techno and house DJ, and the electronic musician and composer who creates avant-garde pop with a Bowie-esque bent. During Miami Music Week, Dear always breaks out his party persona, spinning lively beats that keep a crowd hopping, because the venue has never been quite right to support his full band performance.
And from 2-8 p.m. Thursday, March 27 at the Red Bull Guest House at the Gale South Beach, Dear will show off his culinary side as part of the Traktor Cookery School’s U.S. debut after successful DJ/food events in Amsterdam and Ibiza. (The school brings world-class DJs into the kitchen to prepare group meals.)
You can also check out Dear at the Dusky Presents party Saturday at Trade, and at Sasha’s Never Say Never pool party Sunday at the National Hotel.
What can we expect at your Red Bull Guest House event?
Well, I’ve never been to that particular event, but I did go to the Traktor Cookery in Amsterdam this year at ADE, the Amsterdam Dance Event. It’s like a Winter Music Conference without the beach and the bathing suits and the sun [laughs]. They had about 15 or 20 people sitting down and enjoying food prepared by the guest of honor. And it was fantastic, a really cool experience. So when they asked me to do the one in Miami, I had to say yeah, of course.
And you’re actually going to be cooking?
Yeah! Of course, we’re working with a team of chefs and people who are helping us out in the kitchen, so it’s not gonna be just me, like, flying around going crazy. But I came up with a menu and my recipe – they also asked me to craft a hamburger that they’ll serve all day. So it’s cool – I got to come up with a whole wide array of a menu.
Are you a good cook in general?
Uhh … I’m a cook [laughs]. “Good” I guess is up to you. But I really enjoy cooking, and so many people I know – especially DJs – do too. I think it has to do with the methodology behind it, the whole taking of the list, and having your recipe, your ingredients – you have a schedule you have to stick to. And when you’re a touring musician on the road, that’s pretty much how you have to live your life – you have a whole list of things you have to do every day, whether it’s check in to a flight, go through security, board the plane, show up, do sound-check, meet somebody for an interview, go to dinner, go to the gig. You’re on this really strict schedule throughout the day, and when you get home, that kind of stops. I think a lot of musicians find themselves with idle hands, and they get a little anxious and think, “What can I do now?”
You were born in Texas – will you be serving up some BBQ?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t want to touch barbecue, because I know how good it can be. So I’m gonna stick with a roast fish, most likely a wild Arctic char, and then a nice light green-bean salad with tangerines and maybe some key-lime juice in there to get the Florida flavor. Just keeping it light.
How many conferences have you been to?
I’ve been going to Winter Music Conference since 2000, and it’s been a lot of fun to see it evolve and change. You don’t second-guess it – you just go and see what happens.
I imagine everything you do is a DJ set, not your live band?
Yeah, I’ve never done a live band in Miami. We’ve talked about it, but it would take the right situation and the right venue. I’m not ruling it out, but right now, just as a DJ.
Will you spin some stuff from your albums “Black City” and “Beams”?
No, no – I kind of come from two separate worlds, and it’s a little confusing sometimes. When I got into music and all of this, I came up listening to Detroit techno and house music, so I have one foot firmly planted in the classic DJ culture/electronic music world. And then all the while, I love all types of music, and as a musician, I chose to embark on a separate path with the albums “Black City” and “Beams.” They reference more of that other side of my musical mind, where I’m into songwriting and band instrumentation and organic instruments like guitars, drums and bass. So I’ve ended up in this split personality where when I DJ I still play the Detroit house and techno, stuff that I’ll play in Ibiza and the clubs in Miami. And a lot of times I don’t see that the stuff that I made for my albums totally fits. Like, I’ll play some remixes sometimes, but I usually like to keep things a bit faster and more groovy and dance-based. That stuff’s a bit more at-home listening, or if you’re in your car.
You’re not on the Ultra bill this year – any particular reason?
I’ve never played at Ultra, actually – they’ve just never asked me. I’d love to do it – I love reaching all sorts of crowds and playing for anybody. So if they would have me, I’d love to play there. They’ve got everything, with the underground tents and all. It’s great to see these guys that I came up with – we were playing weird little underground parties, and now they’re appealing to different crowds. And just the fact that different crowds are accepting the kind of music that we were pushing in the early 2000s and mid-2000s – it’s great to see it.