Introducing: DJ Matt Bolton (MoveOnUp)
When MoveOnUp turned 20 in January, we thought we’d chat to the man who is completely emblematic of the weekly club night’s spirit: DJ Matt Bolton. He started as a punter, and is now our resident, so there was some serious wisdom for him to impart.
How did you first get involved in MoveOnUp?
I started as a die hard punter in 1998 while at university in Huddersfield. Week in, week out. First in, last out. It was an education. The degree to my GCSE in parental Motown home schooling. Around 2000 I was asked to play an early doors set, having accumulated a modest set of mod soul originals. Heartbroken at the demise of The Underground, I was elated to be quickly enlisted in the MoveOnUp roster at its new home at the Hifi club. A resident since 2002. The rest is literally history.
What was your introduction to DJing?
A little night on Huddersfield called Weirdo’s, playing mod 60’s type stuff. I was very nervous, but was confident in my choice of records. As a dancer it’s easier to be a DJ. I’ve always stood by what A Guy Called Gerald said about DJ’s who can’t/don’t dance… Either way, I’m sure it was pretty quiet.
What draws you to soul music? As new genres obviously grow in popularity, why do you think it is important to remember this classic sound?
The main thing that draws me to soul is the outpouring of emotion. I’ve never been an instrumentals man. As I’ve grown older, my tastes have changed and developed, but the one constant throughout the many decades of soulful music is the unbridled passion, whether it be a 60’s stomper or an 80’s 2-stepper.
Collectively we owe a lot to soul music. It’s easy to forget that. It’s ingrained in our very beings, like it or not. The importance of that classic sound is the honesty lacking in much modern music. It’s raw and visceral and doesn’t feel the need to hide its message behind technology or novelty.
How important do you think it is to have weekly nights at a club? What makes MoveOnUp so special? How do you think it has stayed popular for 20 years?
Weekly nights should be the bread and butter of any club. For a punter it’s the safe knowledge that they can reprise that feeling week after week without having to wait a month down the line.
Without feeling a little conceited it’s difficult to say what makes MOU so special. It’s meant different things to a lot of different people over the years. Personally I’d like to think that we trade in happiness. That might sound really naff, but I honestly believe in the commodity of euphoria. There’s no better music to develop that kind of atmosphere than soul. It’s the most unifying and uplifting music there is.
When people know they can return to something that offers them that kind of regular joyousness, it’s infectious. I truly believe that’s been the key to MOU’s longevity. There are no egos, just the best music we can find/afford.
Got any special anecdotes from over the years?
My memory isn’t like it used to be. But I remember the tumbleweeds as much as the nights when we’ve lifted the roof. We try to leave the drama to the records. Simon Webb dancing all night till he was red in the face was pretty special
Could you give us a few tracks that have defined your time at MoveOnUp?
Archie Bell & Drells – Where Will You Go When The Party’s Over?
The best ender. Ever. And absolutely infectious. You ending up wanting to know the words before you’re halfway through. Top singalong tune this one. And hopefully synonymous with having had a great night!
The Road – She’s Not There
Once you listen to this version of the Zombies classic you’ll never listen to the original again. It was a massive tune for us in the late 00’s.
3. Skip Mahoney – Janice
When we made the decision to concentrate on soul and a few more 70’s soul records, this was the one that turned the tide and brought everyone along with us. When I talk about euphoric records, this is a prime mover.
Sharon Scott – It’s Better
An unreleased thing from Kent’s Ady Croasdell, I was extremely lucky to have a test pressing before anyone else. Honestly, seeing 18 year olds sing a track of this quality back to me over the last few years has been really humbling. It’s available for sale now, go treat yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
Stevie Wonder – If You Really Love Me
Stevie is pretty much our favourite MOU artist and although Superstition and Sir Duke garner much more intense reactions, it’s this 45 that really hits home for us. Just his finest cut: passionate and lyrically outstanding.