Matthew Dear has been producing music and DJ’ing since the turn of the century and has created a back catalogue as Audion, False, and Jabberjaw and, most recently, by fronting a live band. With a career that has taken in minimal, house and pop, Pulse thought it would be worth finding out which artists and sounds have influenced him. Olly Chubb spoke to him quickly ahead of a recent performance at Hoxton bar & Grill.
Pulse: What were the first records you remember hearing? Matthew Dear: I remember hearing ‘Pump Up The Volume’ by Mars and ‘Rocket’ by Herbie Hancock when I was young. I was drawn to both of those records because they sounded obscure and weird. It was around the time when sampling was catching on. It felt like an out of body experience at the time.
Then I was influenced by my older brother’s record collection. He had some quite industrial sounds but also some of the new, energetic stuff that was emerging like Information Society or The Happy Mondays. I didn’t know where it was coming from but it was different to what was being played on the radio stations where I grew up in Texas. It was more effeminate and fun.
From Texas you moved to Detroit and your music career really started with releases on labels such as Ghostly International and Plus 8. What were you listening to at this time? I moved to Detroit when I went to Michigan University. I was aware there was something going on within electronic music but not much more. I enjoyed playing in bands so the summer after my freshman year I flyered to find some like-minded people to get together and play. I actually collected flyers a long time before I started DJ’ing. I liked the aesthetic and from collecting flyers that led to me listening to Daft Punk or The Chemical Brothers.
The United DJs of America series was also something I remember from around that time and brought some different styles and sounds to my attention.
I really got 4/4 when I started going clubbing. Seeing people dancing, the constant energy and the rise and fall of tracks. That was really powerful. I’ve always liked electronic music because it encourages you to know something about yourself.
I went back to the studio and started trying to create what I had heard in the club. I liked techno with an element soul so I was a big admirer of Carl Craig and Stacey Pullen especially. Stacey always had that combination of funk, soul and tech and I always tried to see him DJ.
I was also a big fan of Titonton Duvante. He was someone else I’d try and learn from and emulate.
By now you were starting to establish yourself under both your own name as well as False. Where did you find inspiration from next? The next adrenalin hit came from labels such as Playhouse and Perlon. That was also fantastic in terms of learning more about my own production. Some of the early records those labels were outing out were amazing. Producers like Stephan Laubner. He had such an organic sound and a real lightness. ‘Portside Waves’ was a fantastic track… He’s still the master of what he does.
From the minimal days as Audion and False you’ve since moved into poppier territories with the live band. What sort of things were you listening to then? I was listening to groups like CAN, as well as people like David Byrne. He’s been involved in so many great projects and there was lots to explore and learn. Nowadays, I like bands such as Animal Collective or MGMT. I think they’re popular and where they are for a reason – they’re sort of the pinnacle of modern pop.
And if I pushed you to name a favourite track of all time? Laid Back ‘White Horse’. Easy!
For more information on Matthew Dear and his upcoming tour dates, head here