The first time I heard Matthew Dear I was blown away. The Texan-born moved to Michigan as a teen where he was inspired by the sound of Detroit Techno. He met Sam Valenti IV at a party while attending the University of Michigan, after which the two created the record label, Ghostly International, based on a shared love of electronic music. Dear’s first single was 1999’s "Hands Up For Detroit". Successive singles, such as "Stealing Moves" and the chart-topping "Mouth to Mouth" (as Audion) were issued on Spectral Sound, Ghostly’s offshoot that focuses on dance floor music.
Dear’s first album Leave Luck to Heaven appeared in 2003 and was praised widely as a seminal fusion of pop and minimal techno. The album’s single "Dog Days" became one of Spectral’s best sellers and a favorite of international DJs. Dear followed the album with Backstroke in 2004 and has also begun working under the harder-edged Audion alias, apart from additional monikers False and Jabberjaw because 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. I believe this whole multiple personalities thing is just one of the reasons many people find Dear (and Audion… and False…) so intriguing. In an interview he briefly mentioned that the idea for Audion came from a dream and it inspired him so much that he started to piece the tune together based on what he remembered.
In 2007, Matthew Dear released his sophomore full length, Asa Breed. Matthew and his band, Matthew Dear's Big Hands then began a US promotional tour tour and an European tour as the opening act for Hot Chip. 2008 saw the re-release of Asa Breed as the Asa Breed Black Edition. This re-release added 5 new songs, including a remix of Don and Sherri from Hot Chip and the video for the song, shot in NYC. Most recently, Matthew's eagerly awaited Body Language vol. 7 mix for our previously profiled Get Physical label is a powerful, compelling snapshot of today's electronic music vanguard, and an intimate journey into the creative core of Matthew himself, shot through with pop panache and a propulsive, party-minded momentum, while also exploring the sensuous side of cutting edge dance floor 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 and Derek Plaslaiko plays Save the Cannibals — an incredible weekly series spotlighting global techno talents — this February 7th at Rebel.