Being the host country of Road To Ultra, it’s only apt that our isle gets repped by a SG-based selector on the decks. Electro-house ambassadors and seasoned Ultra alumni, the dudes from Rave Republic are accepting new citizens. We get to know Mathias Schell and Stas Madorski a lil’ better.
Hey fellas! So you guys are based in Singapore despite your hectic Asia touring schedule, right?
Yes, that’s correct! This year has been pretty crazy, but we still call Singapore home, even though home sometimes feel like it’s up in the sky or on a hotel bed with a too-hard-for-human-comfort pillow. First World problems.
You guys are originally from Russia and Switzerland. What inspired the move? And were y’all already spinning back home?
Stas: I’m originally from Russia but grew up in Sydney, Australia. Yes, I can do the Russian dance, though I need to get pretty intoxicated to take such a request. I personally moved here for work, and picked up DJ-ing while in Singapore six years ago.
Mathias: I moved here with my family from Switzerland, the most neutral country in the world. Before moving here, I was playing very small gigs, such as birthday and graduation parties.
Could you fill us in on how the two of you first met?
M:The first time we met was at Wavehouse, when Stas was DJ-ing an event alongside LMFAO. Funnily enough, we didn’t like each other when we first met. We only started hanging out properly a few years ago, when he was going through a tough breakup. Since then, it’s been a bromance all the way.
It’s pretty cool that you guys have a unique marketing concept. How important is that to y’all?
It’s super important! Marketing is not everything, but it’s a huge chunk that contributes to an act’s popularity. Too many people think that they can just focus on making great music, when in reality, it’s equally important to create a distinctive brand. It’s one of the reasons why the Ultra Singapore crew selected us to play at the event – we had the trifecta of marketability, solid production and strong performance.
Another thing we dig is how y’all aren’t just DJs, but are pretty talented producers too. How do y’all split the production duties?
Mathias has played the piano since age five, so he does more of the creative work and actually putting ‘pen to paper’. Stas recently studied at Dubspot, so his theory is on point. He does a lot of the final tweaking and mixing. We learn a lot from each other, and also from other producers in the scene.
Do you feel that you need to delve into production to survive in the scene longer?
Production is becoming almost mandatory. It was MAKJ who said that in order for a producer to perform, they needed to be a great DJ. Now, it’s the reverse – for a DJ to get gigs, they need to produce. Otherwise, there’s a ceiling.
Your mash-ups are innovative too, to say the least! How do y’all find out which tunes work together? Is it a painful process?
Thank you! We spend a lot of time making our own edits, because at the end of the day, most DJs in the club scene are playing the same tracks. You’ll only stand out if you add your own twist to what the crowd hears. Mash-ups are fun to make and usually don’t take too long to do. A lot of the time we get a burst of inspiration in an unexpected place. Be it in the shower (not together) or on the MRT, we message the idea to each other and excitedly rush home to see whether it will actually work as a mash-up. Most of the time, we find that it works.
We’re aware that Stas was nominated for CLEO’s eligible bachelor last year. But we’re sure Mathias gets his own share of *ahem* lusty female attention too, right?
M: Well, Stas got to spend a lot of time with 49 other guys back-stage. He also acted in an almost all-boys production of ‘Ah Boys To Men 3’.
S: We are naturally pretty competitive over who’s better looking, but we don’t think either of us is particularly attractive. That’s probably why we’re both single. Or it might have something to do with our terrible personalities.
M: I disagree with what Stas just said. I know I’m ridiculously good looking and I have an amazing personality. I’m also great at being humble.
We also saw on Facebook that Stas quit his corporate job to pursue music full-time. Is Mathias in this full-time too?
S: I’m every parent’s worst nightmare – going from the typical high-powered white-collar job making decent bank to pursuing creative pursuits. I do, however, plan to start a food business. Food has always been a huge passion of mine; I have been known to travel halfway across the world to eat at a particular restaurant.
M: Stas is going to get fat doing that. I’ve just finished a hopefully redundant MBA in marketing and spending every spare minute I have travelling or working on music. We are now both pursuing our dreams full-time!
You guys are no strangers to Ultra, having been on the lineup of Ultra Korea. How does it feel to play at the SG debut of Road To Ultra?
M: Stas played Ultra Korea as a solo act and wouldn’t shut up about how amazing it was. Playing at Singapore’s first Ultra event is truly a massive honour! This is one of the biggest EDM events in Singapore this year, and it’s a privilege to be on such an amazing lineup and sharing the stage with heroes like Alesso, Skrillex and Nicky Romero!
To sum up, what’s considered ‘illegal’ in the Rave Republic?
We’re all about the love, so negativity and hate are illegal. We want people to come to our show and leave smiling. We’re looking forward to giving the audience something to remember at Road To Ultra.
Road To Ultra happens on September 19 at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre Halls A-C. For more information, visit roadtoultra.com.