A couple months ago I came across a track on soundcloud that captivated me. I couldn’t get enough. I posted it to a couple playlists and tweeted about my love for this track. And then, as it happens so often in this social media world we live in–I got a DM from Mathien himself. And from there on, we chatted about music, what was going on in his world and came to the conclusion that an interview sounded like a pretty rad idea. Learn a little bit more about Mathien and keep an eye on him. He’s going to be touring soon and you’re gonna wanna be there when he does!
Lauren Ignited: As many musicians, you started playing music as a young age. You learned guitar at age 8 and starting writing songs in the 5th grade. What was the first song you wrote? What was it about?
Mathien: I learned guitar from a guy named George Bellas who is incredible. The first song I ever wrote was called “sunshine” and it was about getting suspended from school for smoking pot in the parking lot. It basically sounded like a Sublime song… How fitting.
LI: Haha, that’s great. So, do you still think back to those days early in your musical journey? What do you think about that time in your life?
M: Yeah, I think about those days and I get the same feeling you’d get from looking at a picture of yourself from junior high. Lotta head shaking and embarrassment, but I still smile thinking about how valuable of a time it has been, and how far I’ve come.
LI: Who were your early influences? What band(s) gave you a whole new perspective on music and helped shape the sound you have today?
M: My musical tastes are vast in terms of different genres and style. But, one band I can credit with opening me up to so many different possibilities was Parliament-Funkadelic. It was through them that I discovered the infiniteness (is that a word?) of music. I don’t give much thought to what type of songs I should be writing, instead I try to just be more impulsive and make brash decisions when creating, and I think if I learned that from any one group, I learned it from P-funk.
LI: I hear you moved recently.
M: In February, my plan was to move to Nashville…simply just to live somewhere else for a while. My folks randomly moved to Knoxville at the end of May so I shot down there with them a little early so I could save up some cash and start on my new project before I moved to Nashville. I think I might just find a place out here in Knoxville though. The pace is definitely different, but I do love it. Its good to taste your food every once in a while. I do miss Chicago though…
LI: How is the band formation coming along?
M: The band formation is coming along quite naturally. I’ve had a few guys hit me up who were interested in being part of the live show, which is great because I prefer to get people involved who are already into the tunes. It also helps if they don’t play in 6 other bands. No shows lined up yet but, definitely by fall should be making a go of it.
LI: So, you know by now that I cannot get enough of your sound. I love it. The song that really pulled me in was “Chemistry.” I think it gives a soothing reassurance that everyone has a little something they worry about that they shouldn’t. Did you write this song from personal experience?
M: I wrote Chemistry after an awful experience with drugs back in August. It really caused me to look at myself and at the people around me, and ultimately I discovered that for some reason we’re constantly trying to mask who we are as people whether it’s by drinking or even changing our physical self. It was a very personal experience but I tried to write it from a more objective and broad perspective.
LI: Your latest single “Soul Down and I” is another incredible piece of work from your musical mind. It has a gritty southern soul sound that I naturally gravitate to. Tell me a little bit about the production of this song, the journey of the lyrics, how you feel when you perform it.
M: I called up my old friend Bert Swiderski to come and write some music with me. He brought a case of harmonicas over and I found one that was in the key of G minor. He said he had never used it because no one ever asks him to play over minor keys. I played the opening harmonica melody on the bass as he followed along and the rest of the song kinda snowballed into completion on it’s own. The first verse is accompanied by this spooky synth sound I had been playing with that whole week. The drums were done in London by these guys who record sessions to tape and sell em for use. The session I bought was originally in 4/4 but I chopped and edited it to work in the 6/8 time signature that “Soul Down” is in. For the overall production of the tune, I knew I wanted it to be classic sounding like a Sam Cooke song, but I also wanted it to be dreamlike, like Mazzy Star’s “Fade into you”. Once I finished the production, I recorded the lyrics which I wrote about a girl I had a thing for. I had only seen a picture of her at the time I wrote it, so I really blew the emotion of the song completely out of proportion, which I enjoy doing… quite a lot.
What’s #FridayFinds? Every Friday, I post new albums from artists we all love, or new artists that maybe we don’t know yet. Expand your music library and maybe even learn more about the artists that you live in the city you’re from.