Exclusive: Matthew Dear, Thoroughly Modern Musician


You don’t earn a reputation as one of electronic music’s most versatile artists by limiting your creative output to just one sound — or name for that matter. The whole multiple personalities thing is just one of the reasons why we find Matthew Dear (and Audion… and False…) so intriguing; find out more about this refreshing Renaissance musician in Flavorwire’s interview with him after the jump.

Flavorwire: Like many of the artists on Ghostly International, your music appeals to both the indie and techno camps. Do you think your ease with straddling genres is a product of your Michigan roots?

Matthew Dear: It has a lot to do where I came from. Being born in the South, raised on folk, but electronically nursed in Detroit. However, I think more of my genre straddling is more a testament to modern music consumption. It’s a lot easier to collect all genres, and really learn about them today. In the past, one only had so much time to dig through record bins, and amass knowledge about a specific genre. You can spend an hour today downloading an entire genre, researching online about the figure heads of that genre, listen the music for a month straight, and then move onto another genre. I’m infatuated with styles of music. I can pick and pluck my favorite pieces from a musical movement and apply them to my life as I see fit. Musical creation has always been a fun puzzle for me. My output reflects this varied intake.

FW: How did you first meet Sam Valenti IV (Ghostly’s founder)?

MD: We met at a lecture on the death of pop music. I was slowly nodding off in the back corner, since pop music was (and is) alive and well in my opinion. I wasn’t buying it you see. I guess I caught the corner of Sam’s eye. After the lecture, we had a coffee, and he asked if I wanted to help revitalize the form with him. He had immeasurable ambitions.

FW: Has moving to Brooklyn changed the way you approach your music?

MD: Since I’ve always had a firm grasp on my open-ended production style, it’s hard to say. I tend to simply open up and press record. When I lived in quiet Detroit, I made louder, more aggressive melodies and tracks. Now living in New York, a city always breathing and screaming, I’m making more subdued and inward material. Age could be more of a factor at this point though. Really though, it’s hard to say.

FW: Save the Cannibals is trying to breathe some new life into New York’s techno scene. What US city do you feel like has the most vibrant, exciting stuff happening right now?

MD: There is no perfect Utopian techno city. Each have their own qualities. I mean, everyone in American is feeling the bite now, and all we want to do when we go out to a club is escape. Everyone’s trying to escape out there, and I’m going to play the best I know how to help them.

FW: We heard that you’re currently working on a brand new series of Audion 12″s. Do you feel like a different person when you record as Audion vs. Matthew Dear? Do you ever swap head spaces to help you think through a piece?

MD: No… It’s not a calculated procedure by any means. I’ll tell you exactly how I do it. I sit at my desk, turn on all of the equipment, switch after switch. And then just start doodling of sorts. Once a loop grows, it either takes on a dance feel, or a song feel. I cannot, and will not over think it. It’s too exciting to not know what’s coming next.

FW: So if your next Matthew Dear phase is taking a more cinematic approach to music, what are the films that you’ll take inspiration from?

MD: It’s the other way around really. As if I’m writing the music to inspire the film. I see lots of trees on fire. A thousand weeping willows, swaying back and forth to an invisible sweeping wind.

Matthew Dear plays Save the Cannibals — a new weekly series spotlighting global techno talents — February 7th at Rebel. Click here for tickets and find info on his most recent release, BODY LANGUAGE Vol.7, here.