Mat Playford on his Genelecs, riding wild animals – and clumsy baggage handlers

DJ/Producer Mat Playford’s steady ascent to the summit of the UK dance music scene started when he was just five years old. As ‘tape-op’ in the dance school that his mother ran, Playford Jr. relished going out and choosing music for the school, and once a close relative had introduced him to a Yamaha CS80 synth and Hammond organ, there was no turning back. Graduating from Leeds College of Music in the mid-90s, Playford stayed on in Leeds and ran his own studio and record shop before landing various production deals and a 7-year club residency at Space in Ibiza.

Now based on the UK’s south coast, Playford’s impressively equipped solar-powered studio is now home to both Genelec 8040 and 8010 monitors, although his first encounter with Genelec was much earlier.

“In the late nineties and early noughties, the 1031 and 1032 monitors were in every decent studio - anyone who was anyone had a pair. Roundhouse Studios in London, where I was recording at the time, had 12 programming rooms all with 1031s. So, when I finally had the money, Genelecs were the first thing I went for.”

In house music, Playford looks for a loudspeaker that can provide a transparent reference, with both clarity and detail in the bottom end, although he confesses that it wasn’t just sound quality that attracted him to Genelec: “At Roundhouse I went through four NS10 cones in just a few months, so the protection on these speakers is absolutely amazing. I run loads of analogue keyboards, so the frequencies are ridiculous – it’s like riding a wild animal. I can’t believe how long I’ve had my Genelecs, considering the red peak lights have been on every single day for 12 years!”

Playford’s main monitors are the 8040s (the durability of which has also been tested by Spanish airline baggage handlers who managed to drop them from a great height!) while the 8010s act as satellites that can move around the studio and still allow him to ‘be in the music’ when he’s composing. All Playford’s remixes are done entirely in his studio, while his last album project was taken to fellow house DJ Steve Mac’s Brighton studio for mixing on Genelec 1034s. His 8010s and 8040s are run flat without any room correction applied, since he says “I’m a firm believer in just ‘learning’ your room, and I constantly reference to records that I just know sound good in a club environment.”

With his 2013 album ‘Too Big to Fail’ and his 2016 track ‘ISON’ both being nominated for DJ Magazine awards, Playford is still on a roll creatively, and a new album is in the pipeline – scheduled for release later in 2017.

To hear how Playford has been putting his Genelecs to work, check out a selection of his tracks here.