With more and more musicians creating than ever and more and more of these creations being released, what does this mean for you as an artist in terms of originality? What are some of the areas where you currently see the greatest potential for originality and who are some of the artists and communities that you find inspiring in this regard?
As new artists emerge, they bring with them a fresh perspective, a new sound, from different inspiration than your own. This can only be a good thing for sound development. Hearing young artists music keeps me on my toes in a constant strive to be better at what I do. The medium through which their music is released has also changed considerably in the last 5 years, again something we can all learn from, and this has driven me to consider other options for my music. Movie soundtracking is an area of particular interest to me. It’s a completely different format from what I’m doing now but I think it’s a wonderfully diverse arena to broaden my musical output and reach a different type of audience. The gaming community is another interesting option for original music, reaching every corner of the globe. Music for video games is hot at the moment and there’s so much potential for artists to explore all facets of their musical capabilities.
How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
I try not to separate them too much actually. I’ll have a general idea of what work I need to get done on a particular day, and sometimes I go in and work on a piece that I need to get finished. At the moment with the album, when I start a track, I work straight through it to the finish line because I have this time allocated for that alone. But when I’m out on tour, I tend to improvise a bit more. Full days in the studio are non-existent and so I’ll grab whatever time I have to sketch out ideas and save them in folder to come back to later.
How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition and what are some of your strategies and approaches of working with them?
For me it’s all about creating and finding a balance within a track. I like to let a track breathe – not to overcrowd with unnecessary sounds. And it’s a fine line. Sometimes I start with an idea of how it’s going to sound, and I’ll add elements that I think will work, but it ends up being too busy. I’m very critical about what I do and you have to be very strict when your working to allow a track to be the best it can be.
What's your perspective on the relationship between music and other forms of art – painting, video art and cinema, for example – and in how far, do you feel, does music relate to other senses than hearing alone?
They go hand in hand as far as I’m concerned. What’s a movie without a soundtrack? This is probably the best example for me. I’ll watch a movie twice in most cases, once for the film itself and once for the benefit of the soundtrack. The tension created by a string section in any one of Hitchcock’s horrors, always gives me goosebumps. And a painter friend of mine likes to have a live musician in his art studio alternating the genre and style of music as he works on different paintings.
What's your view on the role and function of music as well as the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today - and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
I’ve always viewed music as the common thread of humans. It links us all, families, friends and strangers. There’s a piece of music for everyone, and none of us can ever say that we’ve never tapped a foot or had a sneaky shuffle. So I feel in that way it connects us and we should enjoy it with others. So when I’m writing, I focus on sounds that I think will energise the crowd, excite them. If I can do this, then I’m doing my job. When I play live, I’m just enjoying the party with 5000 other revellers, that's what it’s all about.
Listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?
I think it really depends on the environment the listener is in. I know myself from going to clubs and shows, listening is done on a collective basis. The crowd hear and move as one. And the act of listening is heavily influenced by the crowd’s vibe, the listener’s friends, the stage production and lighting. And they’re listening, but they’re caught in the spectacle. Then you look at someone who’s listening to an album at home, they’re much more tuned in. The ear can pick up little sound or riffs that you might not hear in a club or festival environment because you’re caught up in the action.
Reaching audiences usually involves reaching out to the press and possibly working with a PR company. What's your perspective on the promo system? In which way do music journalism and PR companies change the way music is perceived by the public?
Music is no different than any other industry, marketing and advertising are rampant. And whilst public opinion is malleable, and PR companies seem here to stay, people will always demand quality, and as artists we have to put our trust in that.
Do you have a musical vision that you haven't been able to realise for technical or financial reasons – or an idea of what music itself could be beyond its current form?
You don’t have to have the very best equipment starting out – I certainly didn’t. But I’ve always dreamed of building my own studio. And although it’s on-going process, the day that I can buy, and install a Neve console in my own purpose built studio will be a pretty sweet one.
Find out more about Matador on his official Facebook page.