Considered something of a visionary within the US’ house and techno scene, Matt Caines, though only in his mid 30s, has already led a fascinating life in electronic music. While he’s worked with the likes of CityFox and Do Not Sit in recent times, it’s his latest endeavours that’s really got tongues wagging. Art With Me started out as a Tulum-based party, but is now spreading its wings – in a big way – taking up residency this year for the first time in Miami over this coming weekend from Friday November 26th – Sunday 28th. Sure to be a momentous event not just for Matt but for the city of Miami too, the arts and music festival really does serve up something a bit different aside from the typical names. We caught up with Matt ahead of the festival to chat about his move to Miami, the importance of wellness to the festival and the – naturally – stacked DJ line-up…
WWD: How are you, what has been good and bad of the last year for you personally?
I’m a big believer in how you perceive things and If you try and learn from everything, then you can have less bad experiences. Good: moving to Miami and finding a place to live, having a home in a new apartment after being in Tulum for 3 years and away from family. Plus all the opportunities out here. The bad? Nothing sticks out… maybe what’s been challenging is growth and a lack of stability with the way things have been and not being able to make plans as easily as we saw. Everything has been a lot more challenging, making us more present and open.
WWD: What makes Miami a perfect destination for Art With Me? And can you tell us a bit about the first time you ran parties there?
Probably in the old WMC days it was with Listed and we’d do the “Ship of Fools” boat parties and I’d help with sound and curate things. That was when I got into things, when I was 24. You could really feel the community back then and I learned a lot quickly. Throughout my career I’ve helped with Do Not Sit on the Furniture here, and I’ve produced Summit at Sea twice. Miami has always been a big place for me and I’m excited to move here. It’s a good fit and the quality of life is great with all the wellness and outdoor activity here.
Miami has been evolving creatively for a long time. It reminds me of what Brooklyn was 10 years ago — so many artists and the creative scene is growing all the time. Miami is on fire right now: everyone is moving here. The music scene is picking up, real estate is picking up, it’s all through the roof. It’s such an exciting time to be here and to share our experience with the city of Miami. Art With Me isn’t just a festival, it’s a lifestyle brand too. It’s an exciting home for the creative arts so we’re delighted to be here!
WWD: Wellness is a really important part of what you do. Can you tell us a bit about that? And how integral is that to the festival as a whole?
It’s one of our really strong programs.. From sound healing to beach yoga, workshops with astrology readings, meditation, we have a lot going on. Taking care of yourself is fundamental to how you are as a person. Giving people balance in your life is really important and integral to what we’re about. We’re not just a music festival – that’s key for us. I like to offer these opportunities to people. Yes, there’s music here, but it’s not just that. I like to call it, ‘conscious entertainment’.
WWD: You’ve got some serious DJs on the bill. Can you tell us a bit about the thought process behind these bookings?
Diversity leads a lot of our bookings. It’s a mix of different things. We wanted to curate a program that isn’t just about DJs, but from house and techno to reggae and alternative, and everything in between. I like to build the line up like an experience. I think about what’s fun to listen to during the day, then have a nice transition during sunset. Who will hold the space at night and get people excited. Where’s your headline band? Most events kick off once it’s night anyway. We have 4 stages of music so we balance them out with things that fit the time and the environment. Different sounds for different spaces and not just the same people.
WWD: How will it differ from festivals you have ran before?
It goes back to my answer about conscious entertainment. It’s good to be on fire, but the next phase is that people want more; they want to know they’re a part of something bigger. People are evolving and don’t just want a $100 ticket to look at a big artist on a stage as it’s so one-dimensional. Art With Me gives people more, as it’s immersive and interactive. There are so many different possible experiences to have beyond one big headlining act.
WWD: How important is it to involve the local music community in the event and not just bring in foreign DJs and crowds?
Very important. It’s everything for us. The biggest lesson we learned in Tulum was we allowed 20-30% free programming for locals, as we knew there was a big difference between those who were part of the community and those flying in from aboard. The Care With Me foundation is about us giving back and leaving the place better than we found it. We are working with 10 different charities and have offered free tickets to them all. We are working with the board of commerce to help them get involved and offer them ways to get involved as well.. We love to showcase local talent by giving an opportunity to younger artists to gain exposure.
WWD: After some time working in events, what do you wish you knew when you started out that you know now?
It’s all about mindset and a journey of self. Be kind to yourself. Stay positive. Look for solutions and not problems. Remember that not everything is on you – make sure everyone feels appreciated. If you’re tired, it’s ok. Take a break if you have to and then get back up! Sometimes you burn out and you gotta understand that. It’s not all on you and sometimes you need to take a step back.
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