Interview: Matthew David

Interview: Matthew David

Without being biased, it’s safe to say that the Brainfeeder movement is taking over the worldwide music scene. While Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer are names a lot of people are familiar with, Matthew David might be a new name to you. Because his experimental/electronic music is truly beautiful, The Find Magazine decided to hook up with the L.A.-based producer to do his first interview – ever!

Without being biased, it’s safe to say that the Brainfeeder movement is taking over the worldwide music scene. While Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer are names a lot of people are familiar with, Matthew David might be a new name to you. Because his experimental/electronic music is truly beautiful, The Find Magazine decided to hook up with the L.A.-based producer to do his first interview – ever!

Music: Matthew David – Holiday Lasers

Can you give a little introduction of yourself for the people that don’t know you?

I’m Matthew David McQueen. Experimental musician / Electronic producer, now based in Los Angeles.

What music do you listen to yourself?

The more listening I do, just in the most universal sense of one’s ability to hear or listen, the more transparent the line becomes between music and non-music. Lately, I’ve been attempting to understand what music is, to me. In a simple example, bird sounds in the morning, or insects in the evening, and silence has become important as well. I’m not too keen on an ultra-abstract philosophy of this sort of thing, but its hard not to recognize the different elements of sound when one is so close to this form of art. The abstract becomes non-abstract, and clearer!

I hop around to different music scenes here in Los Angeles, from noise/punk rock shows to Low End Theory. I am very much engaged in the traditional meaning of music (composition, etc.), both witnessing it and creating it.

What are your biggest influences?

Plants, wind, water and sun. Seriously.

When did you start making music?

I’ll quote Ras G on this one: “From birth.”

What equipment do you use in the studio?

My studio is my home, my living space, my front yard. I have a laptop that everything ultimately ends up in Ableton, and monitors in my room, but instruments and “gear” are neatly scattered all throughout my house. I enjoy collecting new instruments, and becoming connected with them in my own way. I take a lot of field recordings on portable cassette recorders (particularly the Sony Cassettecorder TCM200), sometimes natural-environmental recordings, other times pre-meditated playing in a chosen (or random) setting.

I love recording outdoors. This sort of process resonates with me as capturing a particular moment in time, moment in my life. I have hundreds of cassettes, this is the “bulk” in my life, I must say! They are all documents I can go back to, integrate into a new recording, re-process, re-visit.

Music: Matthew David – Carousel Reel

Also, process is very important to my work. I would say the most rewarding. Im always experimenting with analog to digital and vice versa. One example: I’ll just work on my 4-track Tascam cassette recorder, and leave my computer shut for a number of days. I open my computer days later with two or three new tapes to digitize and process digitally, and work from there. I’ve been mic-ing amps lately with my TCM200, then taking tapes into the digital realm.

Can you give a discography of your work?

SPILLS (Plug Reasearch 2008)
DISK collection (Leaving hand-made 2008)

And various compilations including:
Flying Lotus – L.A. E.P. 3×3
Dublab Presents: In The Loop (Vol. 5)
Dublab Presents: Echo Expansion’s NESW

Compared to others in the L.A. scene, you don’t have many releases. Any special reason for that?

My mode of revealing work is perhaps kept in shyness, or a stubborn sacredness. Again, a lot of time is spent experimenting rather than cranking out beats upon beats. This helps me understand many things, like my own life, connection to art, etc… It doesn’t need to get too deep!

One of many reasons I started my own label, Leaving Records,  is to reveal my own (and my friends’) musical experiments and adventures that have turned out successful in my opinion, but on a “broader” scale for listening audiences would maybe be far-out.

What can we expect from you in 2010 musicwise?

A full-length release on Brainfeeder / Leaving Records!

Music: Matthew David – 2010 album (Snippets)

How did you get involved in Dublab?

I reached out to Plug Research records upon moving to Los Angeles a bit over three years ago. Turns out Plug Research and Dublab shared an office, so I ended up interning for both (a super-fan of Dublab already). The synergy and taste-level was a perfect match, I continuted dedicating my time to dublab, and eventually witnessed Dublab’s establishment to a non-profit organization and became a full-time employee.

I am still very very much still involved with Dublab on an L.A. community level, and the world-wide internet radio / podcasting level, whenever my time permits.

And what about the sketchbook/Low End Theory/L.A. ‘beat scene’, how did you get involved in that?

I come from a hip-hop background. In college, in Florida, I was introduced to underground movements and scenes through independent hip-hop. I started to become more keen on instrumental music (dont get me wrong, I love rappers!) , just from a production standpoint, and then became very interested in electronic music. When I moved out to the Westcoast, Low End Theory was just starting (I attended the very first show!), it was THE place to witness the brand new Electronic / Experimental hip-hop scene here in Los Angeles.

From working with Dublab I was introduced to Ron at Poo-Bah records, Ras G, Kutmah and eventually Flying Lotus. They were very pleased to meet me, I was for the first time very much focusing on strictly melodic/Lo-Fi ambient music. Sharing these creations of mine with  L.A. experimental beat-makers. My general production standpoint at the time, I think, was coming from a slightly odd angle of experimentation and non-specific genre incorporation into beats, or electronic music.

Can you explain the sudden success of L.A. beat music?

That would be difficult to do! I’d like to say that it’s a very new sound, a new form of producing hip-hop and electronic music. with any instance of a different twist on a genre of music that activates your soul (a very important aspect, in my opinion!), there will be an audience, an attraction.

Given our generation’s technology, it has become perhaps easy for people to create, share, and play this sort new music. The more this new sound will be exposed worldwide, the more it will allow a progression to the sound. I am hopeful people will create more unique approaches to the sound instead of replicating, but sometimes, one has to begin replicating sometimes in order to eventually establish and understand a unique angle to art.

Besides music, you also do art. Can you tell us what you do/make?

Ah, something that I have been encountering a lot lately is the language used here. Is music not art? It is just another form of expression. Painting, drawing, sculpting, etc. It’s all “art” here, right?

Jesselisa Moretti and I met in college, she has been a photographer and mixed-media artist for quite some time now. All of her friends in college were in the Art-program, so I was constantly exposed to visual creatives. I was making a lot of music in college, but visual expression amongst my closest friends were the most immediate. In time, I started a closer relationship with sight, as well as sound. I found it very rewarding and stimulating to watch colors blend in a harmonic sense, or understand geometry in nature, or natural patterns. I think the visual side of my art just came from many close friendship influences, and then my final grasp of visual understanding, and willingness to experiment in these realms.

I draw many parallels to the creative process of experimenting with painting, say, as I do with creating ambient music.

I make a lot of packaging for my music, paint on cassette cases, or CD packaging. It adds a personal touch, a physical touch, that is very important for a tangible item in music, today.

Music: Ras G – Willow’s Breeze (Matthew David Remix)

Can you tell some more about Leaving Records, the label you’ve created with your girlfriend?

We created it to provide an outlet for experimental music, but now it’s just becoming a label for our many tastes, and for friends making  great music. We’re doing a pop record, or two, this year, for example.

We also were handed down and intense collection of cassettes, from a very special source. Cassette culture has played a very important role in my life as of late, and sometimes the only way to share this with people is to digitize cassettes (not everyone still has a tape-deck!). Leaving Records was also started to share music for free, like the many rare tapes from our personal collection of world-music, new-age, and experimental….

Which artists do you have signed already?

Oscar McClure
Julia Holter
Dem Hunger
Ras G
Matthewdavid (that’s me)
+more to come!

Music: Dak, Dibiase, Pudge & Matthew David – Thursday Transmission (Live)

The first release was a cassette. Are all the releases will be in this format or are there also going to be vinyl/CD releases?

All official Leaving Records releases will be digital. Meaning you can support us by purchasing from the major digital music retailers like iTunes, Boomkat, Bleep, etc. We are making many many more cassettes, like releasing the first ever Ras G cassette. We’re also entertaining limited vinyl runs with Sumsun, and Lapti.  Julia Holter’s “Greek Tragedy” will be full-length vinyl (we hope we hope!).

I already do release music in a great many ways, for free. Does that count as a “release”, I think in this day and age it should be?

Sometimes, It may not be explicitly revealed that it is my music, but i’d just prefer the anonymity approach here with our blog/label model. Check out the Leaving Records website, for example. Lots of free music on there, which feels like a blog.

What are the upcoming releases on Leaving Records?

Feb. 23rd Dem Hunger will release “Caveman Smack”. Soon thereafter, we will release:

Ras G – Anywhere but Here
Julia Holter‘s – Greek Tragedy
Lapti – Humanoid Rights 7″
Dak – Singles
Sumsun – Leaving You EP

Kutmah‘s release and my upcoming album are tentatively untitled.

Any upcoming producers we have to we have to know about? Somebody you can recommend?

Lucky Dragons, Run DMT, The Treehouse, and all of Wigflip Records from Baltimore.
Sumsun, Eric Vallely, Sun Araw, Pocahaunted, and all of Not Not Fun Records out of Los Angeles!
And let’s not forget Baths.

Anything you want to add/say?

This was my first interview, ever!! Thank you for your continued support!


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