A quick glance at Matthew Dear’s tour schedule reveals a man who appears to do the impossible: he performs in one country, magically appears in another the next day, and then plays again, at highly respected venues, week after week. Such a calendar would be daunting for even the seasoned veteran, but then again, this isn’t just some veteran. The co-founder of Ghostly International /Spectral Sound and groundbreaking electronic musician was kind enough to give us a brief interview before his appearance tonight, April 13th, at the legendary SpyBar in Chicago. He has had a successful EP drop earlier this year, a highly anticipated album coming soon and numerous big appearances to come this summer. After his announcement as one of the A-list acts set to appear at the Wavefront Festival in Chicago (phase 1 just released) tonight should serve as an exciting preview of what's to come when he plays Chicago's first electronic music festival this summer. Ladies and gentlemen, Matthew Dear...
Matthew, your gig schedule over the last few months has had you hopping all over the world, from Sydney to Miami, and the next few months are no exception. How are you holding up? I'm doing remarkably well. After about 10 years, your body learns to stop fighting it.
You’ve played some pretty interesting venues in your career- what’d you think of the AGWA Yacht in Sydney? It was hands down the most beautiful boat I've ever played on. You really don't even realize you're on the water until you look out and see Sydney Harbor all around you. It was really special to be there on Australia Day also. There was such a festive atmosphere everywhere.
What’s been your favorite moment of 2012 so far? Any particularly memorable events or gigs? Funny enough, I saw Roger Federer in Melbourne at Rockpool the night before he played Nadal. In terms of performances though, my band and I just did a wonderful hometown show in New York at the Bowery Ballroom. I'd always wanted to play there, and the audience made it very special for us.
You’re playing at SpyBar on the 13th of April, and later this summer at the new Wavefront Music Festival also in Chicago. Are you excited about your Chicago dates, and, as a person who enjoys the outdoors, playing by the water? Chicago just always comes through as a consistent place to play. Whether it's with the band or as a DJ, I get so much support out there. SpyBar is a fantastic venue, so I'm thrilled to be going back. Dino had me out to play in an old loft last time, and that was my favorite gig of the year. Blue light, massive speaker system, and dirty old wood floors. I played whatever I wanted and the sound was so crisp and heavy.
Your upcoming album, Beams, is highly anticipated, especially after the success of the Headcage EP. Who did you work with on this album, and how long did it take to complete? The Headcage EP had two collaborations. One with Jonathan Pierce of The Drums and the other with Van Rivers & The Subliminal Kid. Beams however was produced solely by me. I took it to be mixed at Rare Book Room Studios in Brooklyn, and Nicolas Vernhes really opened a lot of the music up for more re-interpretation.
2011 and 2012 have both been extraordinary years for electronic dance music. As a veteran of the scene, what’s your reaction to the sudden upswing in interest, particularly in the US? In all honesty, it's fantastic. It reminds me a lot of the era when I got sucked into it all. Around 1996-97, with the huge influx of music from Daft Punk, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers. As we can all remember, this stuff ate up the airwaves, and pulled a lot of people into electronic music for the first time. We should be thankful there are hundreds of thousands of young people showing up to these events. While it may not solely be based on a 4/4 rhythm anymore, with people "dancing" to the music, I'd be shocked if a small percentage of these new fans didn't figure something out and start turning onto more underground artists 3 or 4 years from now. They're in a binge drinking phase right now, over indulging in massive quantities of cheap music. We'll be here waiting for them down the road, our arms open wide.
The spring/summer festival season is almost upon us. What events are you most looking forward to over the next few months? Any plans to play in Ibiza? I am really looking forward to the Wavefront festival. I'll come out to Ibiza in August for a bit. I'll be working on some other albums as well. More Audion is right around the corner.
Is there anything specific you’re hoping to do/achieve this year, musically or personally? I hope to continue to grow as a producer, musician, and performer. I hope to work with more of the wonderful and outrageously talented people that keep releasing spell-binding music. There is so much creative wealth in the world right now, and I feel privileged to bask in it.
In recent interviews, you’ve mentioned trying to get away for a little while and take a breather in the woods. Is that ever going to happen? Yes, I will be moving to the woods this summer. I will build a big studio and make a whole lot of noise.