The core of Dayton’s dance scene

Matt Cahill drives Masque’s music

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: Masque DJ Matt Cahill

Anyone who has hit the dance floor at Club Masque in downtown Dayton in the last seven years has undoubtedly shaken their booty to the sweet sounds provided by resident DJ, Matt Cahill. DJ MSC, as Cahill is known behind the wheels of steel, is a Dayton native whose influence is by no means confined to the Gem City.

“In the past, I’ve played in Vegas; I’ve played in New York City; I’ve played in Asheville, North Carolina; Johnson City, Tennessee; Knoxville Tennessee,” Cahill said. “I’m at Masque three nights a week.”

Though the 30-year-old Cahill may be known for getting party people moving by playing a variety of dance hits and remixes, his beginnings at Masque are humble. He started out at the club controlling lights, until he got the chance to do something more.

“A DJ didn’t fulfill some agreements, and got let go,” Cahill remembered. “I’d actually covered during a snowstorm and kind of proved myself that night. So they were like, ‘Do you want to try this out?’ and I was like, ‘Absolutely!’ and it just grew and grew and grew.”

In a small city like Dayton, it can be easy for the artistic to burn out or become jaded. There aren’t as many places to go as in New York or L.A. You tend to see the same people again and again when you go out. Fortunately, these small- town problems haven’t affected Matt Cahill’s morale in the slightest.

“I honestly think Dayton is right there,” he said when asked how he’d compare our club scene with other places he’s performed. “When I played in Vegas, it was the same as Dayton, everyone just wants to party. The only thing I wish there were more of here would be festivals that bring in big names. That would just set us apart from even Columbus.”

And in our age of constant digital bombardment, where musicians are a dime a dozen, how is a DJ supposed to keep up when there are so many crews putting out new music and remixes?

“Of course, it’s every DJ’s dream to be able to break that song that’s gonna tear up the dance floor, but you just don’t get the big huge anthem song as much anymore because people are throwing out so much music to see if it will catch. But I mean, I follow a lot of blogs. I subscribe to music services that send stuff out that’s being put out, different styles. My SoundCloud feed is huge! I listen to it all day long, looking for stuff. Blogs are really where it’s at right now, though. They have been for the last, I’d say, five years. There have been more underground people who have made it big that way.”

How has DJ life changed in the last seven years?

“It was different because music wasn’t as accessible, especially remixes of old stuff,” Cahill said. “Some people came out to the clubs to hear that because only us DJs knew how to get it. I was playing some of the classics I had actually recorded off of my own vinyl. And you’d have to, ya know, order it from England or something to get it. But now, I feel like it’s hard to keep up most of the time.

“I don’t even think it’s like an age thing or anything,” he added, “although it is a new generation, but I’ll have people walk up to me with their phone and they’ll just search their playlist and be like, ‘Here, play this.’ And I’m like, ‘I haven’t even heard this yet! Where did you get this!?’ I was always breaking new music all the time, and all of a sudden, now people are telling me what’s new and hot, and I have to base my decisions on their music.

“I think the only genre I don’t get anymore is country. I’ve been getting hip-hop, deep house, stuff that’s jazzy, the big festival hits, Top 40, and all that, ya know? Every week it’s something new. It’s crazy.”

The party culture has changed at Club Masque, too, over the years.

“Not to be crass, but I’d say that back in the day, people came out to relieve themselves, ya know?” Cahill said, laughing. “Nowadays, they just come out to get drunk, but before, there was the drug scene. There’s no drug scene now. It’s very clean, and it’s become a lot younger. I feel like it’s definitely a total mix of people. Now, I don’t see [the drugs] at all, unless you go to the big festivals. It used to be a lot more blatant, I guess.

“People don’t stay out too late anymore. I kind of miss the whole after-hours scene. We used to have that at Masque, but now it’s like once alcohol is done, it’s time to go home. Or maybe they have after-hours at home now. I don’t know. We used to not be able to get people to leave!”

In light of all these changes, DJ MSC has only positive vibes to share for his city and the club he calls home.

“We’re busy every weekend,” he said. “There’s a lot of music coming out that’s great, and it’s just fun. I leave every night smiling. It’s such a rush.”

Club Masque is located at 34 N. Jefferson St. For more information, please call 937.228.2582 or visit clubmasque.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Page Josher Lumpkin at Page josherlumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.Page

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Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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