Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
Amedeo: This question is very funny because we have two totally different ways of living the routine. We are 22 and 34 years old so you can understand very well that the approaches to work ethics are completely different. You know, we basically work like a 24h non-stop. Matteo wakes up early, trains every day and eats healthy, stays in the headquarters during the day with the team of the day and in the evening he rests, especially with his girlfriend and the dog: in short, a few distractions, very concentrated and has this obsessive compulsive disorder for which he tries to constantly repeat the same things day after day, you could say that he is a monotonous and habitual type, despite being a volcano of ideas.
Matteo: Amedeo, on the other hand, wakes up late, plays the PlayStation, lives a slightly more unregulated life between shopping, friends and girlfriend but this allows him to work late at night with the night team so that the Mathame headquarters are never really closed. This cycle helps him to be relatively free-related from daily-garbage routine affair that took a lot of time.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
Matteo: I could give a very interesting example, lately we are listening to a lot of country music from the early years, let's say 1940 - 1960’s, and we appreciate its simplicity, you know American music has always had this very epic streak, as pioneers we say, and it is reflected throughout the production of the early twentieth century. These structures are useful to analyse and catapult them into new world, made of sound design and technique, and then of course, make them danceable. This is more or less what we do, listen to very distant sources, understand their structures, and catapult them into our world, made of electronics, sound design and basically 4/4 kick dance music.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Matteo: I can firmly say that for myself the daily routine, the day, the light, the fact of training every day and eating in the healthiest way possible is in fact a method for maintaining integrity, intellectual vivacity and to stay hungry. It is essential to want to push the limits more and more because I believe that in the end it is this, or the fact of finding ways that push beyond the "scene" the limits, which change the rules, which surprise but they excite.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
Amedeo: I think I answered this in the previous questions but let me say once more that writing in the studio, whether it is improvisation or design, must be crossed by a very simple mantra which is: act like a studio nerd, think like a club dancer.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
Matteo: Besides being unusual, this question is very interesting. From a compositional point of view, sound has intrinsic characteristics that make it strictly necessary exactly in the nature in which it occurs. I will explain better; in my opinion the greatness of a composer is finding the perfect sound at the perfect moment, so perfect that it could not have been otherwise within the compositional context. This is what we tend to do every time we approach a new piece, that is to prune every tinsel that does not have a precise function at a given moment and to get to the fact that a certain sound and its qualities are strictly necessary for the life of a composition. It is a very complicated job, and many times self-referential, not to say subjective, and here is a whole discourse of dynamics between the pleasure and the need that underlies the taste that every artist develops and most of all the context of reference to which it will be addressed the composition.
Amedeo: So many variables involved that perhaps the perfect sound at the perfect moment will never be found.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
Matteo & Amedeo: Certainly, the most interesting aspect of the interaction between the senses is that of synchronicity. Our brain is deceived and so third outputs are generated that give new life to both sounds and images. Take Ikeda's live, or Chris Cunningham's video clips, despite the constant minimalism, their energy is incredible, so it sometimes seems that the medium surpasses itself in terms of its ability to reach the viewer or the listener in depth. We, being not only film lovers but also directors, are sick of image and interaction between the senses and are planning something for 2021 but we cannot say anything at the moment.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
Matteo: Discussions on art are really complicated and even if they are my passion, I think I will spare them otherwise we risk going beyond the allowed pages.
Amedeo: Please no, John (Amedeo and Matteo call themselves “John”)
Matteo: Joking aside, being an artist is a statute that has kept me busy for years. You know, the art school, the theoretical approach. All of these things had led me to question everything, but above all I lived for years with a sort of restlessness to understand where the magic was, where the truth was and I embarked on a search that not only has lasted for a long time not only mentally but also physically. I was worried, what does it mean to be an artist? What responsibility do I have? what should I do? Why doesn’t anyone understand where the magic is? What does he have that I don't have?
It was so that I approached the problem from the philological point of view, as they taught me in university. In addition to the so-called artists, I went to see what the types of artists were who historically in the West carried on, today we would say, the 'scene'.
Amedeo: oh my god it’s starting…
Matteo: I came across the figure of the ascetic or religious artist. I began to think that ethical conduct and above all the extreme regulation could in what way open 'doors' to see the truth if there had been: obviously it was the years in which I read Huxley and everything seemed to me to be right, it was as though everything reached a climax, or rather a squaring, when I read the diaries of A.Tarkovskij, my favourite director, who said that our body and its reception systems are reached perhaps by 10% of all the material in which we are immersed and that the artist is a kind of antenna that picks up signals and "reveals" something that was already there. From then on I have truly lived as an ascetic for many years, living on the volcano, alone, in completely abstinence of sex, drugs, alcohol, and fasting, and this also hurting myself very much, trying to understand where all this meaning was and how I could make myself and my body an antenna capable of functioning one hundred percent. Do you know what? Maybe it's all true, but at some point, you have to come back to earth with real problems and find real solutions: that's why the energy of Ame that calls me back to make music was so important. So, what was all this experience? It helps me to find a way to 'open' and 'close', a way of dancing between being artists, perhaps artisans but without a shadow of a doubt, in the end, ordinary people with trivial wishes.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Matteo: I had this discussion with an academy teacher of mine. He was one of Stockhausen's last pupils before he died. It is difficult to define current music. Let's try to look at the recent past, or since 1900’s, research and avant-garde concepts have had a crazy and irreversible impact. After Cage, after Duchamp, nothing can be as before and everything is changed: function, use, everything.
In addition, in a certain precise historical context, at least for the West, the time has come for what we can call Capital, which has engulfed everything or less, not least music. So yes, since to understand something we have to pull boundaries sooner or later, so let's pull apart music in a "commercial' way, we can say that we discovered this thing, "the music" that is like a gigantic parallel organism that works with a language that speaks directly and mechanically to our bodies without being well decodable. We say that we and our structures they feel a mechanical signal, but it is not about communication, let's say more than an impression, despite the fact that it is very clear or even banal (for example in dance or pop music in general). The future probably lies in those things that will increase definition, clarity, but also convenience and access. both in transmission and in reception of this "signal".
Amedeo: we are losing him, please stop.