Making Space Funk with Chris Sterio & Matt Black

Lauren Krieger

Chris Sterio and Matt Black combine forces for the latest release from Mirabilis Records.

Chris Sterio & Matt Black have been making great contributions to the progressive scene for over 40 years combined. Their individual productions and labels have given them global recognition and a deep appreciation for the creative process, and their love for the music shines through their DJ mixes. Check out their guest mixes on FRISKY to hear for yourself:

Chris Sterio – Only Silk
Matt Black – Pro-B Tech

After years of appreciating each others’ music, they have teamed up to create something special together. With two other space themed collaborations under their belt, their latest project “Space Funk” brings them to Mirabilis Records with a massive groover that features tinges of acid and sinister vocals that take you into deep space. With remixes by Audioglider and Jawjee, the Space Funk EP is distinctive and dark, bringing the best of separate worlds into one place.

Go get it now from the Mirabilis website & learn more about the making of the release from Chris & Matt:

How did the idea for a collab between you two come about?

Chris: We had been supporting each others music for quite a while during the 2000s, Matt ran Segment Recordings and I ran Source of Gravity & Gravitation. We exchanged guest mixes for our respective radio shows, Matt remixed for Source of Gravity and my new project Soundscapes Digital. When Matt moved up to Manchester I contacted him and we met in person a number of times.

At the beginning of 2017 I was looking to do some online collaborations so I put some parts together for Matt which included vox, synths and melodies. Matt had always made very strong basslines, percussion and arpeggios, my area of strength was more synth and vox based so it seemed a good fit. ‘Space Funk’ was our first collaboration. Matt sent over an early version to me and we would communicate online to see how the track could be improved. After a few changes and a bit of tweaking ‘Space Funk’ was born.

Matt: Chris and I have known each other a while and I had already done a few remixes for his labels and he approached me about doing a colab, he would send me his ideas and some vocals and then I’d add my own ideas and we’d try to create a tune from it.

What was the greatest challenge of working together?

Chris: Prior to sending Matt the parts I was a little apprehensive as I didn’t really know whether he would like them or whether it could lead to finished collaboration. Luckily he felt he could work with them and once he started the process things flowed pretty nicely. He would send over the latest version I would listen to it and give him some alterations that could improve the track. I don’t think there were many disagreements. The process must have worked ok because we did 2 more tracks in relatively quick time with a 4th with a mystery guest vocalist nearing completion! All 4 tracks to date have been taken on by labels.

Matt: Well obviously not being in the same room and having to fire ideas back and forth but mostly taking Chris’s ideas and sounds and making them into a full track.

What did you enjoy most about it?

Chris: Anytime you create sonics and they lead to a finished track it’s a really satisfying moment. Over the years rarely have I embarked on a project and not ended up with a track at the end of it.

The thrill of creating something memorable always drives me forward.

The atmospheric progressive sound has a special resonance with me and this also a latent motivator when it comes to making music, releasing music or DJing. The ‘Deep Space Moves lead to Deep Space Grooves’ vocal hook is a decisive element of the track, and the utilisation of that is something I enjoyed about this particular collaboration.

Matt: For me it was taking his ideas and creating something from them, it inspired me to be creative and it was always a nice buzz when I had a finished track from Chris’s original ideas. We’ve done 3 tracks together and have a fourth on the way so the partnership seems to work well.

What is most important to you in your approach to music?

Chris: I think we all start off as music lovers and it grows from there. The atmospheric and progressive sound is something can’t seem to detach from, and the energy coupled with the emotion of the synths create a potent mix! There seems to be a renaissance of some of the veteran progressive sound in recent times. This is perhaps has come about due to the growth of the digital scene via online radio stations, websites and labels. Some really accessible and affordable software has really helped too. It’s definitely important to find someone who you can connect with musically and as a person when it comes to working on projects.

Matt: I usually like to start with the foundations, getting the drums and bass going to create a good groove although sometimes I come up with the hook first and then work from there, it just depends on the track.

Who came up with the name of the track?

Chris: I think it was Matt who came up with name and I felt it was a perfect fit. As Matt says there was a space theme for the first 3 tracks, which is down to me really and the parts I produced. I go through themes with vox, Buddhism and the dysfunctional world are other areas I’ve touched upon in other recent works. The latest track is more in the area of the modern world, perhaps that is an area for future projects too.

Matt: Well Chris sent me the vocals and I just liked the line “Deep space moves lead to deep space grooves” I thought it was a really good hook and the name Space Funk just came into my head, all our tracks together seem to have a space theme, that’s been our thing but the new one is a bit different so maybe were leaving Space now!

Go get Space Funk & listen to Mirabilis Radio exclusively on FRISKY:

Listen Now: Mirabilis Radio