MATTHEW LAW is a Philadelphia-bred DJ and torchbearer for the city’s rich, party rocking legacy cemented by DJs Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money, Questlove, King Britt and Aktive. One of the region’s eminent selectors, LAW was exposed to an array of musical styles during childhood – from Classical to Avant-Garde Jazz, Psych Rock, Funk, and most notably Hip-Hop and House. He draws upon this vast musical knowledge and his b-boy background during DJ sets.
MATTHEW LAW’s commitment to pushing music and DJ culture forward is what keeps him in demand. Since 2009, he has been entertaining audiences in cities across the globe including dates opening for Migos, Kendrick Lamar, De La Soul, and J. Cole. LAW has spun for an array of artists and events, including The Annual Roots Picnic in front of 10,000+ festival goers and tour dates with Grammy-nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan and comedian Dave Chappelle.
Even with a busy touring and event schedule, he finds time to co-produce his own hometown residency, FRIENDS & FAM, drawing sold out crowds of 500+ attendees every month. LAW’s versatility allows for a seamless transition from dance floor to stage, where he executes the precision routines that have become his calling card as a widely-respected selector and member of the Illvibe Collective.LAW’s sample-based mix of Club, Broken Beat and Soulful House prioritizes the palpable texture and warmth of analog recordings. His graduation to dance music production interpolates the sounds of his musical youth. Seeking to define himself as a solo artist, LAW returned to his impetus for becoming a DJ in the first place; uptempo music is the artform that allowed MATTHEW LAW to get closest to the sound of his own heartbeat.
Notably, his remix for Hero’s “Cry Baby” on A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold Records is a testament to this lesser known Sound of Philadelphia. Though not beholden to the city’s neo-soul history, LAW is foremost amongst a growing crop of creative outliers that did not totally ditch it. Listen closely and you can detect a nod to the music of the UK –– from Soul II Soul to Four Tet and even Burial –– mingling with the found sounds, raw edge, and hometown nostalgia of his distinctly soulful production style.
“As an artist, I am interested in tones and chords that speak to the human experience. Music that unites people without the author of the sound having to overtly convey that as an end goal of the creative process. The music that hits that sweet spot is music that is melodically expansive but not necessarily spiritually and physically taxing –– music that is energetically rich and uplifting. Even in a dystopian version of reality, there’s the beat and melody that always ground me. Certain minor chords always ground me. Those frequencies are positive forces that allow me to exist and create in a healthy space. I don’t want to call it a safe space because safety can be too quiet. The right frequencies are rhythmically combined with the right melodies to offer transcendence. There’s an alchemy to getting the right snare to hit at the right time with a melody that may not have been traditionally suited for it. Some rules and trends have to be broken in order to manifest the music you hear in your head.
I want listeners to approach any live experience or musical output from me with the understanding that even if the music is a little different than what they are typically used to, it will be approachable and fun. There’s so many peaks and valleys in life, I never want to remove that from the music that I make. I strive to present myself as uniquely emotional and transparent with respect to my sonic journey and signature sound. Finding my personal constants (consistency of beat and consistency of melody) allows me the freedom to move and maneuver however I deem necessary. If you don’t have that consistency, you end up riding someone else’s wave. Having to pivot and completely change yourself and your output every time that wave changes is unhealthy. While I have a deep respect and nostalgia for music of the past and an ear for current trends, I am clear that what I create must also speak to the future as it is being shaped right now. Listening to artists before me and listening to peers helps me to understand that there is absolutely space for all of the varied things that we do to coexist.”