The NYC born-and-raised Matt FX is a pretty cool nerd. He’s the music supervisor behind Broad City, curator of his own vibes on his project Scooter Island and a badass DJ. We talked about his work, internet beginnings and how he connects to the world around him.
How did Scooter Island come about?
It kind of came about as the triangulation of three separate ideas. Years and years ago, when I first finished working on Skins [the TV show], I had the good fortune of building a practice space with my best friend where we started loading instruments in, and I started writing a lot of music. Back then I was really obsessed with bands that had four or five members, but were able to create these sort of locked rhythms where if you take even just one of them out of the equation it doesn’t work. The three examples I like to use for this are Foals, Little Dragon and Twin Sister, which are totally different, but every member is so crucial to that sound.
I was writing a bunch of music back then that was just me and I was playing all the instruments, but I was trying to get to that sound. I think maybe six months to a year down the line of recording and working with an engineer, I realized that it definitely wasn’t what I wanted to put out.
That was actually right when I started DJing a bunch and that kept getting bigger and bigger. My aforementioned studio mate, as well as a few of my best friends, all wanted to start DJing. We all agreed that we had interests in slightly different genre ideas, so we sort of formed a DJ crew and did that for a couple years and threw big warehouse parties. That’s where I really started meeting a lot of interesting producers and really interesting people. Fast forward to now, another year later, where I’m sort of realizing that the whole DJ crew thing isn’t really sustainable and Broad City comes out of nowhere when I needed it most.
So I’m trying not to fan girl too much over this, but what are some of your favorite Broad City episodes musically?
One of my favorites is the party-hopping episode. I cut my teeth on warehouse [and] rooftop parties so that was really fun for me. In [Broad City] season 3, episode 6—I can’t really talk about it now—but I think as soon as people see it they’ll be like, “oh yeah, this is the big music episode.”
I joke around that the girls wrote montages into the seasons in the same way that the Fibonacci seasons work, in that now that we are in season 3, it’s not like one an episode it’s four an episode. The episode length hasn’t changed, but there are so many big slow-mo, crazy, no dialogue montages this season and I’m really excited for a few more of them to start airing.
I love the first scene of the new season where they’re all in the bathroom.
Oh yeah, that was a really fun one to do. That was definitely one where there were a bunch of really great options that we had sort of figured out, but I myself and the girls weren’t going to settle for anything less but perfection. If it wasn’t the first scene of the first season, maybe we would have, but we knew we could do better.
“Let ‘Em Say” [by Lizzo and Caroline Smith]. The day that we found the song was one of the first days where the girls were in there the whole day working on the season. I remember sitting down with them and asking them for the list of artists that they wanted in the season.
So I went to listen to it—it might have been the first or second song I played—and I ran right back in the room and as soon as I opened the door, Abbi looks at my smile and is like, “you found it didn’t you?” And I was like, “found it!”
Do you remember the first song, playlist or mix you posted online?
I feel like that must be back in my Neopets or Gaia days.
I think…okay, this is crazy. Ready for this? If it’s Gaia Online, I remember one of the first things I [posted] was like an animatic music video type-cut from a scene from a PlayStation 2 video game called Suikoden III. It’s still a banger. Someone could remix that tomorrow and it would be some awesome tribal house jam. It’s like in Japanese, but sounds way more indigenous. It sounds way more native than that. It’s a crazy epic video game, but for whatever reason that one just came into my head. That must have been it.
What are a couple ways that you feel you’ve been able to connect with people digitally that you may not have otherwise?
I don’t think I’d be able to do my job without Facebook or Twitter, straight up. Let’s throw Gmail in there too, but Facebook more than the other two has been the biggest proponent of my career. As a music supervisor and promoter, a recruiter…any crowdsourcing work I’ve ever done has been primarily done through Facebook. If anything, it’s like a gratefulness that I can’t even express in words. Those algorithms have been such a big help for me. [There are] so many artists who I’ve now met but would have never. There’s a female rapper from South Africa called Push Push who followed me on Twitter last year. How would I have met this rapper from Capetown? It’s crazy. I’m the internet’s bitch. I couldn’t do it without the internet.
Last question: on a scale of 1–10, what activity (any activity) would you rate a perfect 10?
Yeah, I just want to hang out with Shep Gordon and Kanye at Shep Gordon’s house in Hawaii. I’d have like a meal, maybe a J, like low key, nothing crazy. Four to six hours, Shep Gordon’s house in Hawaii, Kanye West is the only other guest.