Get Familiar: Bony Fly
Bony Fly, Don Mateo or if we're doing up government names Mateo Echeverria is one of the most refreshing sound selectors in the contemporary music landscape. After seeing him live and getting to know him last summer in Croatia, he came to visit the Patta family in Amsterdam so it was about time that we got you familiar with the man himself. With roots in Guatemala and Germany that are now based out of Geneva, you can usually catch Mateo producing and DJing.
Can you please introduce yourself to our readers and let us know what it is that you do?
Hello familia, I am Mateo Echeverria, 26. I was born and raised in Geneva, and my parents have their roots in Germany and Guatemala. The first half of the week you can see me working in an office, and the other half, I produce music and I DJ. Also, I am a sociologist.
How did you first get into music?
I first started playing the guitar when I was 14 and got into reggae and dub music via the first events I used to go out to in Geneva.
What music was around you growing up?
The easiest to answer this question is by thinking of the CDs that used to be on repeat in the car when I was younger. Three artists come into my mind straight away: Shakira, Phill Collins and the Beatles.
Who did you look up to in music?
When I was like twelve years old, I was able to convince my younger sisters to contribute with their pocket money (around 4USD/person) so I could buy Avril Lavigne’s CD at Tower Records in New York. I guess this means I really liked her. Another person I really looked up to was Peter Tosh. Random combo.
How would you describe the music you make?
It can be sweet, joyful, light, pop, melodic, but also dark, hard-hitting and nostalgic. Basically think of reggaeton, dancehall and dub and combine them together. I have worked with a broad range of artists- Androo, Jne Side, Lenky Don, Busy Signal, Capleton, QQ, Landa Freak, Nino Augustine, and Eddie Hill amongst others. Today, I’m happy to share the first volume of a series of bootlegs/remix EPs called « Interpretations ». This one mixes contemporary dancehall with acid music. There is a special video made with the Patta family as well. Look out for what is coming, I'm super excited!
How important is collaboration to your process?
Collaboration is central to my creative process. The people who know me, know I work organically with the people I do music with. Except for a few exceptions I always make sure to be fully involved in the recording process, by going to the studio with the artists or collaborating remotely since COVID. Whether it comes to making or the visual aspect involved in the releases/events/etc (artwork or video clips), I believe the combined vision of the people involved must fully align, in order to call it a collaboration. My belated friend Lenky Don is a perfect example of my conception of collaboration, we used to hop on calls regularly, talk shit, and finally make great music. We knew the chemistry was there, from day one.
I saw you at Dekmantel Selectors last year and the show was really impressive, how does your live show different from your radio shows and records do you think?
While playing live I usually don't set too specific selections, while playing radio I usually have an idea and concept in mind beforehand. The important thing playing live is reading the crowd, and being able to adapt within the range of my expertise area. For the records I make, I feel a lot freer in terms of crowd-pleasing, and to be honest, it is where I’m the most comfortable in expressing myself. If I could I’d focus on studio work, instead of djing. Like Timbo
What does a dubplate mean to you?
A dubplate is a special record voiced by an artist specifically for you, or an instrumental track that only a few people (or only yourself) possess.
What is the most explosive dub you’ve ever heard or cut yourself?
The most explosive one would be a Michael Prophet dub for Iration Steppas the vanguard of dub. Without mentioning the classic Dennis Brown and Supercat dubs for David Rodigan, and an also impossible not to talk about OBF and their classic contemporary and obscure dub box - Wayne Smith, Cornell Campbell, Cutty Ranks, Pupajim, and more.
You travel a lot to make and perform your music, where is the most exciting place for you?
Medellin and New York.
What is the scene like in Geneva?
The scene is very exciting here, but there remains a lot to be done, as we need to evolve and show the world how we can set trends.
And you have a residency, can you let us know a bit more about that?
I started to promote and curate events called Dancehall Fusion in 2016. These parties aim to introduce dancehall in a more alternative way, by blending it with other “urban” music genres based on Soundsystem culture. The event is still going strong, and takes place in one of Geneva’s leading clubs, La Gravière, where the night has made a name for itself in the local scene, and beyond.
Seems like there is a lot of trust in that relationship, who have you been able to bring over to Geneva due to this?
Guests have been the likes of Dre Skull, Swing Ting, Jubilee, King Doudou, DJ Florentino, Uproot Andy, Claraaaaaa!, Poirier, Tash LC, Lil C, Felix Hall and Tako amongst others. Super excited to announce here, that the next one will feature one of my main inspirations - Rico OBF with a special and very exclusive dancehall set.
Now you have joined the roster at Mo Manager we can expect to see you a lot more in Amsterdam, but you use to live here too right?
I used to live in Amsterdam for about two years for my studies. I can assure you, whether you like it or not, I’ll be in Amsterdam more often. Super excited to start to work with Mo, I am sure we'll do great things this year.
What is your Echobox radio show all about?
This show encapsulates my interest and passion for Latinx culture and Caribbean music. The musical content of the show is contemporary/old dancehall and reggaeton (and their different branches, an extension I like to define as « Soundsystem-oriented genres »), as well as showcasing up-and-coming producers and artists, and highlighting more « leftfield » actors navigating these genres.
Bony Fly is wearing the Patta Reminisce T-Shirt, the Patta Basic Nylon M2 Track Jacket and the Patta Basic Nylon M2 Track Pant.
Interview by Passion Dzenga | Photography & Videography by Andrea Amponsah