UNION LA X MATHIEU SCHREYER

Yo so check it… Just incase you’re pretty damn close to miserable with the current state of modern day radio play, and Old Town Road just ain’t nor ever was cutting it for you, we got something for y’all. We’re music heads over here so a few weeks ago we stopped by KCRW to see our good friend Mathieu Schreyer’s DJ session. Chopped it up and picked his brain about the history of music, his personal favorites, as well as the current vinyl market for crate diggers out there… As friends do, you shoot the shit and things form naturally. Next thing you know in addition to the article we have a Union Los Angeles x MS Playlist for all of us. Not going to lie this was a check off the old bucket list. Whether or not you’re out in-between bar hopping or dicking around at the crib, peep the playlist and remember to tune into KCRW every Friday night to catch Mathieu from 12PM-3AM. Enjoy y’all and peace!

 

Going to start off with some random shit… You’re stuck on a island and it ain’t looking like you’re leaving anytime soon, you only can listen to 4 albums… What’s in the rotation?

Haha, man that is a tough start. I’d  def want a reggae album, probably ‘ Heart of the Congos” by The Congos. And I need a jazz album, man thats tough one haha, ok ok Miles Davis “Ascenseur pour l’ echaffaud”. I def need a soul album, I’d grab “Here my Dear” from Marvin Gaye and I’d bring Snoop’s first album,”Doggystyle”. Haha they’d better have some weed on that island, and no jelly fish!!!

For those that don’t know you, where are you from and tell us about your upbringing. What music was around you growing up?

I was born in Pontoise , Just north of Paris, in the suburbs. I moved to Morroco when i was 6 years old and grew up traveling around the world with my family til i moved here when I was 20. Been in LA ever since. I heard a bit of everything growing up , a lot of jazz and folk in the house from my parents, and my older siblings played a lot of pop and new wave. Also There always was a lot of french and Arabic music around. My first real music love was Bob Marley, I owned all his albums on cassettes when I was 12. Thats all I listened to for years. It taught me that music should always be honest and heartfelt. Thats why I loved Marley’s music so much. At 16 I discovered Soul music, funk  and Fusion Jazz and started to really get deep into it, at the same time Hip Hop is blowing up. And they’re sampling a lot of the records I’m discovering, as well as turning me into tons of weird stuff. Hip Hop made you feel like Indiana Jones back then. That world was fascinating.

Did you always picture yourself intertwined with music as your profession?

Yes I did. Always only wanted to do that, and working for films too. That was my dream back then. 24 years later I’m still here doing it and I’m still really enjoying it… Still learning…. Music supervision for film is something I truly enjoy doing.

What lead you to move to Los Angeles in 95?

My older sister lived here, I came to visit her for a month and I never left. It was a love at first sight man. I love this city. Everything made sense to me here. Life was very chill back then, even more than now haha. So much more peaceful than the other metropolis of the world. You always feel like you’re a bit on vacation too when you’re not from here. At the same time you can do anything you want to do. LA is a fascinating playground.

What was going through your head at the time and how did you managed to keep pursuing your goals?

A million things were going on man, so much to see, discover, so much to learn. I was so engaged and so focused to make it work here and very determined to stay. I wanted to go to AFI but could not afford it so I did the next best thing and became a P.A on set. haha. I got a visa thru a modeling agency so I had to play that game too. On the weekend I worked at small antique shop where I helped the owner refurbishing furnitures. I started DJing right away too, got my first residency on Wednesday nights at Louis XIV, it was called Soul Food. Then I did Friday nights at Luna Park. These spots were fun man. Such a different era.

Speaking of a different era, I remember we talked about it during your session at KCRW, how no one can duplicate the emotion and feel music had coming from African American artists back in the day. 

Yeah man to reiterate the point I was trying to make, yes that era of black music and black excellence can never be duplicated but it does not need to be cause we already have it! I am so thankful for that era of music from 1965 to 1985… So much excellence was put it into it… So many hours of hard work was put in.. You can still hear it and feel it…. There was a different grace amongst people then. What people were making then was magical, music was so much more important to society at that time. Its in music that you would hear or discover new movements, new ideas etc…

Without a doubt your music library is probably crazy, out of all of it what’s the record or records that have the most meaning to you?

Probably the records I have gotten as a teenager, the ones that started it all. The ones I listened to for hours and hours. Eric Burdon and War “Black man’s burdon”, Johnhy Guitar Watson “Ain’t that a bitch”, Bill Withers live at Carnegie Hall, Marvin Gaye’s “Here my dear” and Cymande’s first Lp. These are still so special to me, and all near perfect records. You can play them from start to finish. But I’m kidding all of my records are special to me hahaha. They all mean something and all remind me of something too wether its a place or a moment or people or people at a place at a certain moment.

How about the rarest vinyl in your collection? Where’d you hunt those down?

Most likely Found in LA or online! All my rarest records are Jazz records. I ‘d say my copies of the LA Fremont high school and Alain Locke High School jazz records are up there with some of the rarest records I own, all produced by Reggie Andrews and one featuring a young Patrice Rushen on piano ( Msingi Workshop). Reggie is the shit! Greatest music teacher in the city of LA, his daughter Niia is a good singer too, check her out. He taught some of the Pharcyde guys, Thundercat…. Here are 3 great generations of LA musicicans… From Patrice Rushen to Thundercat!

Everybody has that one record you hope to stumble upon every time you’re digging. You already know where this ones going haha.

What we call grails! you always want the hardest records to find. But to clarify its not because it’s rare that it’s good. But a grail is both rare and good! So that’s why I always think am gonna find haha. Example, that Lee Moses Lp on Maple before it was reissued, it’s both super rare and very good, its a grail!

You’re around all eras of music but do you have a specific favorite? 

Roughly, 1955 to 2019. There are great musical moments every year! Personal soft spot for the 70’s tho.

No doubt! Safe to say researching the history of labels comes natural with being a music head… Any special ones catch your attention throughout the years?

So many to list but always loved Black jazz records, an independent black own jazz label, active from 1971 to 1975 . The styles of the 22 records released are mainly jazz but also soul jazz and funk too. And the records were always more spiritual and super political. In the same vein there were also Strata East in NY and Tribe records out of Detroit. To me these are some of my all time favorite jazz labels. Of course Blue Note is super interesting too, same for Flying Dutchman, Impulse… even tho they were majors… They were putting out so much great music and supporting great artists.

Switching it up a little, given that you have a background in graphics, what’s your favorite label design wise?

I love the Black Jazz Records logo! But also really like the logo to The Vanity records label from Japan! Insane label and records, check it out for sure.

Forsure going to check those out! Without blowing up the spot unless you’re cool with it, what’s your go to record shop, the spot that when you’re in town wherever it is you gotta check out.

New York: A1 , Human Head , Academy.

Los Angeles: Record Jungle , Amoeba , Last Bookstore

Paris: Heartbeat , Superfly and Big Wax records

London: Cosmos Records, Honest Jons, Sounds of the universe…

So record collecting has gone to shit – you said now it’s a bunch of Rolex collectors haha. How have you seen it fuck up the market?

Haha I just meant records have gotten so expensive that it is attracting the wrong type of collectors. People who didn’t care for records until they heard some of them were worth over $10k… It seems sometimes people care more about the price and the value of the record than the music. It’s getting out of hands at the moment, internet fucked it up a bit. Now the 20,000 people in the world who are after one record can all battle it out for it online, changed the whole game, even your local spots checks online prices. It makes total sense to me though that records are getting more and more expensive, if you think about it they’re only getting older and rarer….

Given that a lot of times cats now a days assume buying top dollar for an old original vinyl is the way to go. Are there pros to buying a new remastered vinyl vs an original from a re-seller?

Well it absolutely makes sense to want an original copy of a good record. It is the best way to enjoy any record. A first press will always sound the way the artist wants you to hear his or hers music. But you’re not buying it from the artist, so that money goes to another collector. But to me these days I’d much rather buy a fully license reissue and put some money in the artist’s pocket. There are fantastic labels out there doing great work remastering and reissuing big records. Supporting them is a must.