Especially with the decline of progressive house over the past decade, many wonder if behemoth Spinnin’ Records can still cut it. “The One,” M-22’s latest release, shows that they’re still churring out quality dancefloor hits.
Meeting during a writing session and connecting over the ‘90s French touch sound, M-22 is made up of Englishman Matt James and German Frank Sanders, who deliver a powerful punch of EDM production and songwriting that’s felt beyond the dance music world. Specifically, their talents have led to producing or remixing a handful of notable pop artists, including Ed Sheeran, Anne Marie, Katy Perry, Flo Rida, Pitbull, Chvrches, Bastille, and Jason Derulo.
The M-22’s success was nearly instant. Their first track “Good to Be Loved” received significant airplay on BBC 1 from Pete Tong, as well as on Capital FM, Capital Dance, KISS FM, and KISS Dance, and led to getting signed by Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso.
Their trajectory falls in line with other EDM artists, including collaborations (Robin Schulz and Klingande) and remixes (Avicii, Sigala, Axwell & Ingrosso, and Sigma). They later followed their debut’s success with “First Time,” a track with received over 550 million streams, and went platinum in the U.K.
“The One” sees the duo teaming with singer Blair.
How did both of you start making music?
Matt: I started because my brother was constantly playing Clubland-style music, and I loved the energy of it, so it made me want to become a DJ, and then I started making bootlegs on Acid Pro.
What influenced you to start working together?
We met each other in Canada and quickly found out that we both shared the same passion for music, and we started that same night, jamming in the studio. It was four-to-the-floor with big piano riffs – haha
How would you say your work as a duo differs from your solo efforts?
Doing work together is always nice, as you can spark different ideas off each other. When someone does something different, it can trigger you to hear the song in a new way. That bounce is really fun.
You’ve been producing music together since 2015. How has your sound changed in the eight years since?
I think we kept our roots sonically, and because we write our own songs, you can always tell it’s us and we really love that. Some of the sounds might change, but the DNA stays the same.
Tell us about your track “The One”? What was your vision for this release?
We had the beachball sample in mind for a long time, but we didn’t get it to the place we loved it. Frank came over to the U.K., and we started again, which was just the bassline. We sped it up, and then the top line just came out really quickly, and by the end of the day, it was pretty much finished.
For tracks like “The One,” what’s your process for finding a vocalist?
Well, luckily, we work with so many talented singers and always like to find someone who has been featured in a song before. We have been working with Blair for years, and we instantly thought her voice would be magic on this song. We actually sent voice notes to her over WhatsApp, and she sent us the vocal back. Go check her out – she’s amazing.
In addition to working as a duo, you’ve also done collaborations with other artists, as well as remixes. What do you look for when considering a collaboration with another artist?
I think it’s really important for an artist to have their own identity and lane and know what they want to say to the world with their music. We have to then help them get it into three minutes and bring it home and hopefully to your radio 🙂
Especially with the summer season coming to an end, what plans in terms of new music, touring, or other efforts M-22 has for the end of 2023?
We are making lots of new music, and we will get back on the road ASAP. Getting lots of new music out there is really important, so that’s the main focus right now.