With his latest Toolroom Trax collaboration with Ali Wilson – ‘Canadian Geese‘ doing serious damage in clubs around the world, Matt Smallwood is the DJ, Producer & A&R behind some of your favourite Toolroom records.
Head of A&R here at Toolroom, Matt has overseen signings from both Toolroom and our popular Trax imprint for a minute now; and subsequently signed some undeniable belters! Having helped shape the club focused sound of the label, we wanted to find out from the man himself what is all-time favourite Toolroom Trax releases are…
Gabriel Ben – ‘Detroit 500’
So this track will always have a special place in my heart! I was handed the task of re-launching the Toolroom Trax label back in 2015 after it had laid dormant for several years and this was the first track that I signed in it’s new stage of life. Back then, this was the vibe; big room, driving Tech House meets Techno. Carl Cox absolutely hammered this one!
Adrian Hour – ‘Make You Feel Good’
I don’t have enough positive adjectives to use about Adrian Hour, I mean wow! What a talent this guy is! We’d just signed him off the back of our RESET campaign, he was then based in Argentina and was a firm member of the new look and sound of Toolroom and ToolroomTrax. This was a peak-time anthem that I hammered every set (where possible!) for about 3 years – Immense!
DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – ‘Access (Matt Smallwood & Polarised Remix)‘
16 releases in and I a managed to squeeze myself onto the label haha! Myself and my good friend Andy (from AMPM) had a boozy studio session one Saturday afternoon and we were reminiscing about old tunes. I’d told him that my favourite track of all time was ‘Access‘, so we decided to put our spin on it. A few hours later we had it pretty much there. I managed to sort clearance and it went on to do really well! Another proud moment for me.
Tom Wax & Strobe – ‘Hangdrumania (Ramiro Lopez Remix)‘
This record is unique, it was like nothing else I’d heard and even now that riff gives me goosebumps! It sat quite far out of the Trax remit musically so I had Ramiro Lopez remix it so the Tech House and Techno heads could still support the release.
Loco & Jam – ‘Break It Down‘
I still remember this dropping in my inbox and I’m pretty sure I signed it within minutes! Loco & Jam were really bubbling at this point, 2 techno lads from Ireland and this just epitomised the Trax sound back then. Similar to the Adrian Hour stuff, just crammed full of grooves and energy. Huge record!
Tuff London – ‘Sending Love‘
This was another great point in managing Trax as I signed this record that came from 2 old friends in the industry, Ben Keen and Sam Townend who I’d known for years. They’d started a new alias that really fused our love of old school harder edged House and new Tech House vibes. This was their first outing together and I was chuffed to give them a platform to kick off this new project and it still sounds great today!
Ben Remember – ‘002‘
Ben Remember was monumental in shaping the sound of Trax so I had to include one of his tracks here! I love the melodic vibes to this track. Ben is always known for his low-slung, sleazy techy grooves but this track just shows how talented a producer he is, he can throw himself into any sound and nail it. Love this!
Brokenears – ‘C’mon‘
At this point I’d long gone onto managing the main Toolroom label full-time and the sound of Toolroom Trax become a little more Housey and this track epitomised this fresh direction of the label. I just love the fun and funky groove, bouncy and uplifting. An easy player!
Ellis Moss – ‘The Shake’
One of, if not THE, most successful Trax record so far! My good friend Luke had kicked off this alias and hit the ground running with this one! Every DJ on the planet was playing this at one point. Just straight-up energy that sounds good every time it’s dropped. This one does some serious damage! And I still don’t know what the vocal is saying…?
Ali Wilson & Matt Smallwood – ‘Canadian Geese‘
Feels great to be on Trax again and this time with one of my oldest friends, Ali Wilson! We had our first track signed way back in 2004, the aptly titled ‘Let The Games Begin’, and we have been mates ever since. It’s safe to say that our sound and styles have altered over the years but this track was a real pleasure to make. First time back in the studio together for years and we seemed to just pick up where we left off; big room energy, groovy bass line and some old school analogue synths for good measure!