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The resilience of Mat the Alien

Less than a year from a devastating biking accident, iconic DJ plays video set in Squamish this Friday, Aug. 13
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Mat the Alien has seen an outpouring of support from the Sea to Sky, where he has been a fixture of the music scene for years, since a devastating injury last year that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

Mat the Alien wants his Sea to Sky friends and fans to know something: he misses you dearly.

“I wish I could be over there,” says the iconic 47-year-old DJ, who will be playing a video set at Norman Rudy’s in Squamish on Friday, Aug. 13. “I’ve been staying pretty close to home but it would be good to see everyone eventually. I’ve got so many friends over there.”

A prolific DJ and producer who was a fixture of the Whistler and Squamish electronic scene since he first landed here in the mid-‘90s, Mat the Alien, born Mat Andrew, suffered a horrific mountain biking accident last fall that left him paralyzed from the chest down. The outpouring of support he got in the wake of the injury—a GoFundMe to help with his recovery recently hit its $200,000 goal—was testament to the outsized impact he has had not only on the corridor, but the electronic scene at large.

“It was amazing to see all the support and all the messages. It was overwhelming,” he says. “It brought me to tears a few times with just how much support I had from everyone.”

Mat’s recovery has understandably been a challenging road so far, as he has had to adapt to the new reality of his disability.

“You don’t realize how difficult it is being in a wheelchair or being quadriplegic,” he says. “It’s an eye-opening thing because I spent two months in hospital and then four months in rehab. I just went for a bike ride one day and all of a sudden you don’t go home for six months and you have to learn how to deal with a new way of life.”

One saving grace for Mat has been the use of his arms, which of course means he can continue to pursue his music. Already a prolific collaborator before the accident, Mat has harnessed the reach of the internet to work with a coterie of artists and continue running his boutique record label, Really Good Recordings. He’s also hopeful to resume offering online music and DJing classes, something he was doing during the pandemic prior to his injury.

“It’s one of those things where I wake up and right away start messing with music, making sounds and DJing. I’m really glad I can still do it,” he says. “I’ve been exploring all kinds of bass music. It’s just so fun now with the internet that I can work on a beat with someone in Oakland or Montreal. I can open it up, work on it, save it and put it on Dropbox, they open it up and do the same. It motivates you to get stuff finished.”

For those long months Mat was laid up in hospital, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever get to play in front of crowds again. And while he is still a ways a way from travelling to live gigs, he has already played video sets as part of Bass Coast, in addition to this week’s video set at Norman Rudy’s, his first Sea to Sky gig since the accident.

Part of the Squamish Wind Festival, the event doubles as a fundraiser for Mat. Starting at 5 p.m., the evening will also feature live performances from Russ Ward and DJ Praiz, and will be MC’d by Feet Banks. Tickets are $15, available at sevn.ly/xe100mix.

To keep up with Mat, visit linktr.ee/matthealien. You can also still contribute to his fundraiser at gofundme.com/f/3ckgd-really-good-fundraiser.