Cape Town’s vibrant music scene thrives on diversity, and Matt Willis is a prime example. This multi-talented artist, with jazz at his core, isn’t just a musician — he’s a DJ who seamlessly blends instruments like trombone and keyboards into his sets, defying genre expectations at every turn. Lockdown became a transformative period for him, pushing him to explore his voice and create unique soundscapes that transcend categories.

This isn’t your typical Q&A. Buckle up as we delve into Matt’s musical world, exploring his origins, his experience with Big Little Concepts, the artistic influences that fuel his creativity, and his exciting future plans. Along the way, we’ll uncover the hidden gems that inspire him and what makes him tick.

Q: Tell us about the origin story of your musical career. Was there a defining moment, a love for a specific genre, or just a spontaneous jam session that sparked it all?

A: I quit my job due to burnout and wanted to explore music and my own creativity, especially my voice. After years of playing in various bands, I committed to daily musical exploration during the Covid lockdown. It was like pulling at inner threads, and I haven’t stopped since.

Q: How did it feel rocking out in the iconic Concept Records studio? Did the environment inspire anything unexpected in your performance?

A: The relaxed and welcoming environment at Concept Records made me feel at ease. It’s less sterile and more inviting, making it easy to settle in and perform.

Q: We saw a glimpse of your musical magic captured in Big Little Concepts. What message or vibe did you hope to convey through your performance?

A: I mainly want people to dance and get lost in the music. If we can pause for a moment, there’s so much depth to be found, individual to each person.

Q: What other creative outlets fuel your artistic fire besides music?

A: I’m building a custom LED lighting rig for my performances. I enjoy tinkering with electronics, even if it involves some duct tape and hope!

Q: As a Cape Town musician, what excites you most about the city’s vibrant music scene? Any hidden gems or unsung heroes you’d recommend checking out?

A: The live music scene is struggling due to venue closures. The Commons in Muizenberg is great, and I recommend checking out Ashweeta.

Q: What’s on the horizon for you beyond Big Little Concepts? Upcoming gigs, new releases, or any wild dreams you’re chasing?

A: I’m working on a creative space called Lab Leak Studios with friends in the Old Castle Brewery. It’s still new, so stay tuned! I’m also touring Europe with my punk rock band, Half Price, and planning a solo tour after playing at Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia.

Q: If you could trade musical styles with any artist for a day, who would it be and why?

A: Fat Freddy’s Drop. Their groove, dance, vocals, instruments, and live show are incredible!

Q: What’s the one record that forever holds a special place in your heart? The soundtrack to your childhood, a family heirloom, or a recent discovery that blew your mind – tell us the story behind your musical treasure.

A: Ornette Coleman’s ‘Lonely Woman’ from The Shape of Jazz to Come. This 1959 album marked the birth of free jazz, chaotic yet structured. It breaks the rules, creating a unique space for emotional connection. Open your mind and heart, and it’s a captivating, mind-bending experience.

Q: If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?

A: My Dad. We live far apart and don’t get to play music together often.

Q: Ten years from now, how do you hope to be remembered in the Cape Town music scene?

A: Legacies are fleeting. If someone remembers how I made them feel or impacted their experience, and someone else says, “Oh yeah!” with their own story, that’s enough. Art can profoundly impact individuals in unseen ways. A statue would be nice, but knowing those personal experiences exist is what matters.

Bonus Q: Share a fun fact, a quirky anecdote, or a hidden talent that might not be immediately obvious from your music.

A: I love watching beatboxing and once spent four months learning to lip roll!

Matt Willis is more than just a DJ or a musician. He’s a connector, a weaver of sonic experiences, and a testament to the boundless potential of artistic exploration. Whether he’s captivating audiences with his genre-bending DJ sets or pouring his heart into original compositions, one thing is clear: Matt Willis is a name to remember.

He won’t let his legacy be measured by awards or accolades but by the hearts and minds of those touched by his music. Every electrifying performance, every innovative beat, every instrument woven into his tapestry becomes a building block in the foundation of his impact. So keep your ears tuned, Cape Town (and beyond) — Matt Willis’s musical journey is just beginning and promises to be nothing short of extraordinary.

P.S. Don’t miss out on experiencing Matt’s magic firsthand! Witness his captivating 3-song performance on Big Little Concepts’ YouTube channel. Let his music wash over you and discover the artist who defies genres and creates connections that resonate long after the final note fades.


I can’t play any musical instruments or sing, so this is my contribution to the local music scene — which I love immensely. I can’t touch my toes, but that has held me back only slightly in life. My hobbies include reading, beer, bringing up Let’s Get Local when no one asked, writing, and surprising people with my pool skills. I believe somehow all of this will lead me to Dave Grohl.

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