Because Because dropped in with great effect to the Salute Music Makers competition with a burning track ‘Inferno’, that delights in industrial, military, and pop sensibilities. We caught up recently to talk life in Leicester, 3D Design, and esoteric sampling.
- Salute: Where did you grow up Matt?
From the age of six I’ve lived in Leicester. I suffered a lot of bullying growing up, most often in schools. Eventually, I reached my limit and started fighting back, even protecting my friends. It is unfortunate that the bullying was never stopped by the teachers or the schools, a child shouldn’t have to fight back.
- Salute: What kind of music did you grow up on?
My older brother was listening to a lot of metal and rock when I was about 9 years old in 1991, like Iron Maiden, Alice in Chains and Nirvana. So I heard a lot of that but I was more interested in his copy of “This is our art” by The Soup Dragons, which he doesn’t even remember owning but that was the start of my love for 90’s indie music. I started saving up my pocket money to buy cassette singles and a few albums, by bands such as Jesus Jones, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Inspiral Carpets.
- Besides your older brother, was there much musical influence from elsewhere? Either at home or in Leicester?
I’d hear a lot of my parent’s music in the car, and although they were happy to play a lot of the same songs, I did enjoy the greatest hits of The Beautiful South and one of The Pet Shop Boys albums from around 1990.
- Did you go to any concerts/gigs growing up in Leicester?
I was terrified at the thought of being in a crowd of people, so I never went to any gigs until around 2001-2003, when my favourite band Jesus Jones came out of hibernation and were coming to Leicester. Having presumed them permanently disbanded after their Already album in 1997 I regretted never having seen them, so this was a chance to rectify that.
I started going to more gigs, both in Leicester and around the Midlands, seeing Jesus Jones multiple times, discovering support acts like Captain and The JB Conspiracy. I’ve seen Sonic Boom Six a fair few times in Leicester too. You know you’ve seen a band a lot when they start remembering your name!
- Salute: How did you get started making music?
It was actually from the PS1 game Music. It was a nice learning curve to see how loops of music could fit together. On PS2 I went through a few music programs, and I’d hook up a mixer and a microphone, and record my vocals onto a tape. As soon as I got a PC though, I was introduced by a friend to Fruity Loops, and I was blown away by the possibilities.
- Salute: Was there much of a local scene or did you find a lot of stuff through the internet?
I come from a time before the internet was mainstream, and at that time I didn’t think to look outside of what was on the radio. When MySpace came about, I did discover a lot of great unsigned artists, and it was great to be able to share my own music via a built-in music player on my profile, something I wish Facebook had incorporated.
- Salute: When did you write your first song?
I don’t count my console program days as my own music, so I would place that during my early Fruity Loops days. I created some depressing industrial music with little bass and way too much distortion! I was experimenting though – who else can claim to have the sound of a forklift truck being operated by conspiracy theorist David Icke’s brother in one of their songs? Haha!
- How did you get David Icke’s brother sampled in your music? Are you active in the conspiracy community?
Ha, nothing like that! His brother was just a regular bloke working in a factory and operated machinery, and I worked there for a spell!
- Salute: What gear do you use for production?
A Mac laptop with Logic Pro X is my choice of software. Last year, I visited James Atkin from EMF’s studio as part of his pledge campaign, where he recorded his vocals and played guitar on one of my tracks; and I was so impressed by how smooth and easy it was to use his Mac, I just had to fork out for a Mac and that program! I also use a PreSonus Condensor microphone and pre-amp, an official USB keyboard so I can record my performance rather than placing down notes, and an Ashton guitar that’s just a beginner’s basic instrument really. Oh, and I recently was given a harmonica by my mother who never got around to using it!
- Salute: What’s the influence behind the augmented reality in your video for ‘Inferno’? And does the dystopian theme reflect your personal concerns about the state of the world at the moment?
I’m no programmer, but I always like to produce music videos that are unique to each other, trying different techniques and ideas, from stop-motion to green screen effects. So to really push myself for “Inferno”, I followed tutorials on creating 3D scenes and built up the city. Sometimes, technical hurdles can create an unexpected effect. The city is void of people because I am not at a level where I can create people walking around. The fog is there to make the scenes look less static. All of this has created a deserted city, left to the viewer’s imagination as to why. That’s the beauty of art.
- Salute: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and competition?
I like how diverse the artists are, people who I would never have heard their music if it wasn’t for this competition. I’ve even been messaging a few Salute artists, like the talented Paris Solemn. Our music styles couldn’t be more different, but we both share this passion for our music and are always striving to improve ourselves.