Matthew "Illusion" Rae
MIXER | producer | DJ
Owner of House Of Dreams Studio & OOTC Management
I was blessed to find my passion for music at a young age. Two of my closest friends were very musical people, always beatboxing and freestyling on our walks home from school. Each of us were uniquely influenced by the cultural and technological changes that the 90s and early 2000s were creating.
At fourteen I got my first professional gig as a DJ at a local "all-ages" club. It was there that I learned the importance of counting beats and understanding song arrangement.
Shortly after, I found myself experimenting with production on Fl Studio and Reason. I tried my best to enhance mixes and remixes for my next gig.
Later that year I was approached by a long-time friend and artist who asked me to record a track for them using the very limited DJ setup that I had and a pirated version of Cool Edit Pro. It was on this day that I learned the difference between professional and amateur recordings.
I spent the months that followed scouring the internet for any and all information on how to make my recordings sound better. I was addicted to editing, EQing, and balancing records. I used the limited online community there was at the time. Places like futureproducers.com and Sound on Sound gave me feedback and taught me new techniques. I was still young and preparing to move to Tampa, FL for college, so I took advantage of the summer to record anyone and everyone who said they wanted to be a musician in our neighborhood. Sometimes, I even practiced on songs that I created.
When I finally made my way to college, I had learned a great deal about engineering. I bought my first official setup with the money I had saved while working as a summer camp counselor. I practiced mixing all the time and began charging people to record out of my college apartment. That was my first real taste of the studio industry. I learned a lot about charging for time, meeting client expectations, and other general business principles.
After being gone for more than two years I returned to South Florida, but things were different. I began working with many artists that were defining a new era of Miami music. I began taking on a lot of freelance work while balancing my full-time retail career, school, and managing an artist. In 2010, I released my first full body of work, a mixtape titled Open for Business Vol. 1. It was a compilation project that I developed to showcase my production and mixing skills as well as my connection to more notable acts.
With my portfolio growing and demand for my musical work rising I was faced with an unforeseen issue in my retail career. One that left me in financial, emotional, and mental turmoil. Fortunately, it also landed me in the right place at the right time. It was at this moment that I encountered the owner of a small product placement company that worked professionally in the film and music industry. He and his partner had recently started an independent record label and after several months of freelance work, offered me my first full-time position as an engineer and producer.
Eager to make music a full-time career, I signed on the dotted line. For the next nine months, I was in and out of Miami’s most popular recording studios. At times I worked next door to artists and producers I had idolized since youth. It was surreal, but like most first-time record contracts, it was not all it was cracked up to be. By month ten I was at odds with the label owners and completely uninspired to make music. There came a defining moment where enough was enough and I wanted out of my contract.
After a short battle for my music and my release from the company I had a disdain for the music industry. I stood destitute at a crossroads with a serious choice to make: return to my regular mundane retail existence or commit myself to my craft.
It took 3 years of hard work, but my freelance business exploded. I took sessions wherever I could get them. I went to both large facilities and project studios and even carried a portable setup in my trunk to do home sessions when needed. I started getting work with more prominent companies while at the same time building a rapport with many of South Florida’s fledgling acts.
In 2015, I partnered with the independent record company Forever Dream Entertainment to help curate and develop the brand and its rostered artists. As the company grew, so did it's need for productivity and space which led us to acquiring a pre-constructed recording facility in southern Miami. It was this facility that I made my home and the one I would later develop into the studio artists know today as "House of Dreams"
In 2016, I wanted to showcase my growth, so I began releasing collaborative singles with artists I had seen as staples to the South Florida music scene. The first single I released was titled "The Crib" featuring singer Ronnie VOP (The Four: Battle for Stardom), Ice Billion Berg, and YD. Since then, I've released five additional singles with each highlighting a subculture of sound that make up South Florida's ever-growing and diversifying music scene.
Today, I am focused on becoming the best mixer, producer, and father I can be. While creating records will always be a pivotal aspect of my daily life, I have also found a love in assisting new talent with their overall development and marketing strategies. I look forward to what the future holds for some of these amazingly talented musicians.