With a high-powered role as the music supervisor behind "Broad City" and Hulu's "Difficult People", 24-year-old Matt FX Feldman might be a new kind of "plug," rethinking what's hot in music and delivering it to the masses...weekly.
"I have a theory on the way rap music works," Feldman tells me over drinks at Lupe's in TriBeCa. "You need someone who is approachable, and ultimately not dangerous to start the trend, and then you need someone who is a bad boy to swoop in and actually reap the reward." He's talking the industry politics surrounding the rise of ILoveMakonnen and Fetty Wap on the trap scene, but later makes the same comparison between Tyler, the Creator ( 14 charting songs) and A$AP Rocky (46 charting songs, and a Selena Gomez feature).
But fuck industry politics.
Matt FX is set on defying standard processes —which by way of barter, or cash places music into TV shows and film— by inserting music from young, unsigned artists into his two shows. "I know I'm not the only one [supervisor] using new acts, but some of these acts, it's like, no one else would have put them there."
Take the recent '2016' episode for instance when Hillary Clinton made a viral cameo on Broad City. Those two or so minutes featured the sounds of the relatively unknown Sweater Beats. Or when rising Chicago talent, Smino ("the bad boy answer to Chance The Rapper"), shared an episode with soulful Brooklyn collective, Phony Ppl. Both were moments when little-talked about artists could be heard by millions of ears in one fell swoop.
Though budgets for his shows are tight, artists seem to welcome the opportunity for a broadcast play and exposure. "[I always say] Will this artist take this little bit of money? Please accept this little pay for your song." So far, though, the monetary details seem to have worked themselves out given the popularity of Broad City, and Feldman's personal connections (he's a one-time LaGuardia student, the son of a music conductor, and a "Skins" alum).
Scooter Island, Breezy
On the flip-side Matt also has a music collective, Scooter Island, in which he works closely with artists to develop their sound and help push out their content. It's reminiscent of what Kanye does with G.O.O.D. Music artists, or how Diddy introduced us to Biggie, Lil Kim, and Lil Cease. "It’s that idea that the best boss surrounds himself with people who are better than him," he said. “I used to think Scooter Island should be a label, but then I had the idea that if each of these artists signed to another label, that just means that we would have even more reach.” So they make music together - some sing, some produce - and they release music on the collective's Soundcloud page. Some will get signed, some may not, but the exposure opportunities are fertile. (Scooter Island's big splash came when "#NOTYOURS", a collabo between the collective and rapper Junglepussy, accompanied the most discussed scene of Broad City's last season: Abbi's empowering pegging moment.)
But despite having his foot well-lodged into music's door, Feldman remains anxious, as most 24-year-olds do. "There's an intense struggle to make a name here, and [artists] live in a shoebox apartment just to do it. And I haven't done that," he admits as we begin to wrap up . "Whatever I make supervising, I put back into Scooter Island." As he scrolls through footage shot in Trinidad, he tells me that "the high right now would be seeing Synead (a member of Scooter Island) succeed" with her upcoming full length project.
"They don't want you to succeed without some label backing," he continues, referencing industry "rules." Guess that leaves the plug no choice but to break them.
Stream a three track playlist from Matt FX
A track for your chill session: Smino, "Runnin'"
A track for your commute to work: Audiojack, "In One Ear"
A track for your #TBT: *NSYNC, "It Makes Me Ill"
Featured image of Matt via Brandon Isralsky
PostedApr 4, 2016