Thursday, July 05, 2007

Interview: Matthew Dear pt. 2


Apologies for the delay, here's the second part of our interview with Detroit 'experimental pop' producer, Matthew Dear. Incidentally, his album "Asa Breed" is out this week and we reckon it's one of the most exciting of the last few months, well worth picking up.

Q: How do you decide if you’re working on Audion, Matthew Dear or False stuff on any given day?

A: Well I’m always doing everything. Right now I’ve been a bit too busy touring and trying to get the album out, I honestly haven’t sat down in the studio for a couple of months. I’ve just done a couple of remixes and that’s it. I’d like to get some more Audion songs down and we’re probably going to put out another Audion album early next year. I like the dual personalities, I love techno music, I love the environment of the club and I love being able to DJ, stay up late and get into that style of music. I also like playing with the band now, so there’s really no ‘favourite’ in my book, I’m just going to try and do both really well and if one suffers, I’ll take a break from it but I don’t want to give up completely.

Q: What sort of live environment suits this record? Are you taking it to the clubs?

A: I’ve tried to pick more rock style stuff for these shows, I don’t want to play the same places that I’ve played as Audion. I really just want to make a split and let my audience know more about each act individually, rather than going to the same club they saw Audion.

Q: Have you done the full live show at a UK venue before?

A: No never, I’m going to hopefully. Right now we’ve just got a festival lined-up. It’s just tough because I have to re-write the book on everything I’ve built up so far in terms of touring. When you tour you obviously build relationships with venues and promoters and then if you come out with a completely new project that appeals to a different set of people you have to find new venues and it can be a bit tricky.

Q: You were compared to LCD Soundsystem in a recent review, which seems rather off the mark to us…

A: What I’ve found doing interviews and talking to people, everybody has their own favourite song and everybody has their own favourite comparison. I’ve heard everything from the ones I thought – Arthur Russell, Brian Eno, Talking Heads – to Joy Division, some bands I never even knew of, some really obscure bands that made me think I was more credible than I am. A lot of these artists were just future-thinking electronic artists, mixing rhythm and melody like you talked about, they’re mixing pop structure with art structure… And I’d like to think that’s what I’m trying to do. I think we’re all just trying to carry the torch of modern experimental pop music.

Q: Do you feel affiliated to any particular artists working at the moment?

A: Not so much, I think I just see myself as part of a generation of artists that are branching out and trying new things because of technology becoming so rampantly available. I don’t want to say I’m just a genre mixer; I’m not like an electro house, vocal micro-house singer. I don’t like those labels, I just like to think of myself as making experimental pop music. In terms of other artists I’d like to hope I’m something like Four Tet who takes a different approach with each album. Anyone who just tries something new each time, like The Liars, they’re not getting locked into one style. I like Susumu Yokota, every album I hear by him is a new experience, it's like he’s really trying to adapt technology and express himself differently with each album. We’re not the same artist over and over again and we can constantly reinvent ourselves.

Q: There’s a critical short-sightedness in the UK that insists on pigeon-holing electronic acts who transfer to the live arena…

A: That’s a shame. I’m not trying to be an Underworld or a Chemical Brothers, I’m not trying to make electronic music like that again. I think people do just get stuck in this genrefication, they need it to be one thing. ‘This is where he’s coming from – he’s a DJ, he plays at techno parties in Berlin so this must be what he’s trying to say.’ I’m not trying to be a techno frontman, I’m just trying to be a musical frontman.

Q: Putting aside the associations of 'minimal' as a genre of electronic music, do you consider your music as minimalist?

A: Well I use a lot of spare sound. My new definition for minimalism in techno music is, there are a lot of small sounds and minute sounds happening although the music can be very broad and very expansive, it can still be minimalistic to a certain degree because there’s a lot of detail and care put into the production. There can be a lot of little things happening at once. In my mind that’s what ‘minimal techno’ has become because, obviously, the songs aren’t very sparse anymore, they’re pretty energetic and club-storming. So really it’s just the attention to detail and I definitely have a lot of that in my music, I’ll spend hours on one loop and make every sound perfect in my mind. So in that sense I think its minimalist because I’m really stripping it down to the bare elements and really working on every sound, trying to make it perfect.

Q: What do you make of the music coming out of the techno scene at the moment?

A: It’s a bit oversaturated right now but I still hear the diamonds in the rough that are well worth the wait. Mainly, I think it’s because with technology these days – programmes like Ableton Live and computers getting a lot faster and cheaper – you’re finding more and more people all over the world, kids in some random corner of Spain or all the way over to Argentina, are making music constantly. Unfortunately with that you’re getting a lot of repetition and people just doing the same thing over and over again.

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