Today, Matter drops his new track “Acerbic.” It’s a downtempo, bass bumpin’ banger that kicks like a mule and puts his full array of production skills on display.
The airy tones and spacey atmospheres that introduce the track are like bait on a hook – drawing the listener in while the build intensifies. When the full beat finally kicks in, it’s a grimey and distorted composition that oozes filth. I got a chance to catch up with Matter on how his whole project came together, and his routine on producing such heavy tracks.
SRJ: Tell me a little bit about the origins of Matter. Give me the backstory on how this all manifested.
M: “When I first got into music, I was like 12-13 and trying to make rap beats in Garageband. At the time I was really into rap music, and I wanted to be a rapper, so I figured having my own beats would be super tight. I did that on the side until I was about 15, and then began to discover electronic music. I really liked the idea that I didn’t have to have include words to make me feel the way music with lyrics made me feel. Once I found dubstep in 2013, my life changed forever; I immediately started focusing all of my energy on that. I decided that if I were to make music on my own I would need a name, so I decided on “Precious Matter.” About a year into producing, I was making no real progress. I saw ill.Gates tweet about taking on new students and I signed up immediately to start lessons the following week. Over the next 3-4 months my production skills doubled. I was working 5-12 hours a day, every single day on my music, putting my heart and soul into it. Once I found the sound I was inspired by, I began to feel that “Precious Matter” gave off too pretty of a vibe for some of the dirtier and heavier music I was making. I decided to drop the “Precious” and leave it at “Matter” – because matter itself can be anything and is the building blocks upon which everything physically is. A few months later I wrote “Recognize” and that’s when everything started manifesting.”
SRJ: Your production style seems to ebb and flow between sharp daggery synths and space bass atmospheres. Where do you draw your biggest inspirations from?
M: “I certainly have a lot of different inspirations, my most obvious one is ill.Gates (being the person that literally made me into the musician I am today). His music inspires me the most because I’ll hear things he taught me in his songs, and that inspires me to keep on pushing myself. The least obvious inspiration (for me, at least), is Nirvana. There’s just something about the rawness and heavy guitar of grunge that drives me, and makes me feel ways no other genre of music can – not even electronic music. I love their music so much that I even have more Nirvana remixes that I haven’t released. Some other notable artists I’ve been drawing influence from recently though are Jantsen, Thriftworks, Eprom, Kloudmen, and NastyNasty.”
SRJ: How do you approach music production? More specifically, tell me a little bit about your process and how your work comes to be.
M: “I approach my music production a lot different than most people do; at least the way I think they do. I typically like to draw up a vibe or emotion in my head, and channel it into my computer to make sounds. That’s where I’m at when I sit down to write. I do have some serious little routines though. I won’t start writing a song until at least 12:30 PM in the afternoon, and I won’t start it any later than 3. After that, I block myself out and I won’t allow myself to start anything [new] unless it’s after 9:30 PM. I don’t know why I’m so peculiar about those times being so specific; when I should and shouldn’t start music, but something just doesn’t feel right if I’ve waited too long in the day to start. Sometimes I can’t get the vibe I’m looking to portray while the sun is still up. I attribute a lot of my darker works like “Emulsion,” “Fissure,” (and a few others that aren’t out yet) to writing music once the sun has gone down; there’s just a different type of energy to channel in the night time. Once I start working, I give myself about 30 minutes to get a main riff/melody going and then I spend about 10-15 minutes writing out the notes for my drops and other sections with a grand piano. My theory behind that is that if I can get something to sound good, and make me feel with a simple instrument like a piano, I can really convey emotion once I add more electronic sounds and elements. I typically start with the skeleton of a song (the core rhythm and melody) and then add the muscles – the parts that make you move and dance). Then, I add the skin (the little extra bits to give it life and a persona). This again is something that was taught to me by ill.Gates and is something that is consistent throughout all of my tracks.”
SRJ: Where do you see Matter going next? What are your plans for this summer, and moving forward?
M: “I think the team here is really just focused on what’s going on right now, and trying not to look ahead too much. I used to do that a lot, and it always led me to unmet expectations. So we’re just gonna roll with the punches, keep sending tracks to labels, and keep pushing to reach more people like we do every day and just let it grow from there.” ◆