Spyder on Psytrance, Performing at Burning Man, His Multiple DJ Identities, and Comparing EDM to Heavy Metal

Matthew Hinman (a.k.a. Spyder, Cosmic Sea, Franck Matthews, et al.)
Matthew Hinman (a.k.a. Spyder, Cosmic Sea, Franck Matthews, et al.)

While most DJs are content with having only one slick-sound moniker, Matthew Hinman has almost a half-dozen nom de guerres at his disposal. Depending on the particular gig he's working, the 39-year-old could be performing as Spyder, Franck Matthews, Cosmic Sea, or any of the other idenities he's developed during his DJ career.

Hinman doesn't suffer from a multiple personality disorder mind you, he just digs adopting different names based on the particular brand of EDM he's spinning, whether its acid techno, industrial, or his favorite style psytrance.

He's spun the hypnotic and complex genre at underground dance events, out in the Nevada desert, and at local clubs. You're also likely to hear Hinman serve up some psytrance tomorrow night at the Monarch Theatre when he opens for DJ Tranzit. It's also an EDM style that's comparable in some ways to heavy metal, which is another longtime fave of Hinman's. Learn more about the man and his music by checking out this week's edition of DJ Dossier.

Name: Matthew Hinman

AKA: Spyder, Cosmic Sea, Franck Matthews, The Black Horseman, Bob Da Builder

What EDM styles do you specialize in? House, techno and psytrance.

Why so many aliases? For different styles of music and playing. Too many people had a hard time either understanding or recognizing that I play a wide variety of music. It seemed easier to go with different names as it was less confusing to people. Plus, it's actually fun to do.

Franck Matthews - Funky Cactus Beats Vol. 1

Spyder out on the playa at Burning Man.
Spyder out on the playa at Burning Man.

Where are your favorite places to perform? The desert, Burning Man and the rooftop of Bar Smith. I love the outdoors.

What's it like spinning at Burning Man? [It's] is a magical place and the people are so incredibly open to actually listen to the artists and feel their music much more than bars or nightclubs. The connection is amazing. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I feel blessed to be able to play at Burning Man and I never feel like "just another performer" because it's my art being expressed any way I see fit. If I want to play completely nude, I can. If I want to play abstract of highly aggressive music, I can. The absolute freedom that I enjoy makes my art unique to me.

Where have you performed locally? Oh man, a lot of places. From Chasers to Axis/Radius to Bar Smith to Shepards to 702 DWNTWN to the Monarch Theatre to Andersons to Jugheads (Viva Sid) to Myst to Madison Event Center to the Marquee Theatre to Venue Scottsdale to parking lots to the desert. It's been an interesting ride. I'm fortunate to have played so many venues as I've gained a lot of knowledge along the way.

How does psytrance differ from regular trance? The frequencies and structures. Trance is formulated and psytrance can go 20 directions during a track if it wants to. Trance seems to be waves and waves of sound layered on top of it's self while psytrance can have that plus plenty of stop and go sounds. Trance seems to be easy to listen too as is just washes over you while psytrance challenges the listeners mind to accept the information that is being presented. I left a rave one night and a girl said to me, "You're the guy who plays that anxiety music. I love it." Psytrance is an adrenaline rush.

Craziest shit you've seen at a gig? I can't point [to] anything as the craziest as it's been a huge blur at times. I've seen OD's, fights, sex...some of the memorable types of things is Fight Club Sadisco*. That's a Hell of an experience. Then there's the party where we brought out Death Guild and the Thunderdome to fight each other all weekend. Not much fazes me at this point. It's all rock 'n' roll.

What's your opinion on the local rave scene? I think it's changed dramatically from what we started. I feel like it's more of a concert than an experience. I don't see the kids dancing very much and I see them watching me to see if I'm going to do a magic trick or something. I think the music has become formulated with the same soundtracks to every party. The turn over rate is extensive because there's nothing new being fed to the consumers. I think the art form of creating a unique experience is all but lost with the exception of a few promoters. When the same music is played at Bar Smith, Axis Radius and a rave all at the same moment, I wonder what's the real difference? Where's that underground rebellion? It's a club for kids.

Spinning at a rave versus at a club? You know, that's a good question. I'm booked at raves to play PsyTrance so I tend to bring a big ole can of whoop ass with me to really rock the place. At a club, I'm a bit more relaxed with my vibe and style. I like to be much more smooth and fluid to get the drinks flowing and the dance floor moving. Either way, I always try to educate and entertain.

Ever worry about a rave getting busted up by the cops? As long as they pay to get in and support the scene with their money, feel free to dance to my sets. Oh yeah...they should buy a water instead of asking for a sip.  

What's your favorite track of the moment? Tough call as I listen to so much music. House -- Steve Judge, "Moving India," Techno -- Zzt -- "Work" (The Advent Spiriakos Remix); Psytrance - Manwithnoname, "Teleport" (Dejavoo Bootleg)

What's been your best experience as a DJ? I'd have to say the overall ability to showcase my art and hopefully turn people on to music they might have never heard as well as entertain the fans of my musical styles. I've been fortunate enough to play for so many different cultures and lifestyles.

Do you have a mantra about DJing? Educate and entertain. You're an artist, not a God.

Do you create your own material or do you primarily work with other artists beats? I just DJ at this point with music I purchase. I lost all of my studio gear when I was laid off from work a couple of years ago. I'm working my way back into rebuilding my music room.

What are you planning for your gig tomorrow night? A party on the decks! I like to enhance the party with my music. I'll have a few genres with me and I'll push the crowd a bit but overall, it'll be a lot of fun.

DJ Spyder is scheduled to open for Tranzit on Saturday at Monarch Theatre. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $5.

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