Mattic is an artist I heard about several times before, but as is the case with numerous people, I didn’t really take the time to dig deeper and discover his various releases (shame on me). Luckily, Word Is Bond’s very own Hardeep put me on the MC’s latest album The Abstract Convention through the stellar review he posted several weeks ago. Since I love discovering and sharing new music, but also get to know artists better, I accepted their open invitation and reached out to Mattic and Phonosaurus Records to enter the artist’s particular universe. Not only was I very happy to read his answers but I am now quite excited to share them with you. In this very interesting interview, Mattic tells us about The Abstract Convention, of course, but also moving to France, working with Dirty Art Club, substantial music and much more. Without further delay, let me introduce you to Mattic…
First of all, for people who are not familiar with you and your music, could you introduce yourself?
I go by the name of Mattic or Mr.Mattic (I don’t know where the “Mr” came from, I think when I came to France, but I wish to drop it…). I come from Charlotte, NC (USA) where I used to be in a group called “The Others”. Now I travel the world as a component of a project created by a French DJ named “Wax Tailor” and when I am not doing that, I stay locked away inside of my studio composing music for my record label “Phonosaurus Records”. I stay as low key (hidden) as I can… (Laughs)
You have been living in France for a while now, where you perform regularly. Why did you decide to make the move and how do you feel about the country in terms of art, culture and hip-hop?
Many factors played in to my decision to move to France. I came here in 06 with “The Others” to tour with Wax and completely fell in love with the country. As things began to change with my group in the States and in my life, I always had dreams of coming back and visiting, but no clue that this would happen. A year later the opportunity was presented to me to come and join the “Wax Project” and the rest is history. I love France in terms of the preserving its history and culture to always remind people what has been here before us for many years. As far as the art and hip hop, it nice to see less saturation than in the States with hip hop. People here have a mind to support what they like and at times you can find that golden feel hip hop used to have… it’s wonderful. Everything is like a big classroom here for me… some things easy, some things hard.
You released “The Abstract Convention” recently, in collaboration with producer duo Dirty Art Club. The combination of their music and your lyrics works perfectly well. How did you make the connection with them and decide to create this album together?
Well Madwreck and I used to be in “The Others” and besides that he is one of my best friends. We never stopped working together and for a couple of years we worked on a album produced solely by him entitled “Around The Day In 80 Worlds”. This album was shelved due to other factors I won’t discuss. But even before that, we had a group called “ZKPRZ” (Zookeepers) with “Matt Cagle” (DAC) and “Astrid Engberg”. So the connection has always been there. As I started to compose “The Abstract Convention” it felt only right to work with all of them. As a matter of fact I’m working slowly on another project but this one with only Madwreck… stay tuned.
Something that I find interesting is the use of live instruments and beautiful vocals, which add freshness and originality to the album. Is it important for you to experiment and find new ways to create music?
Of course, but it’s also important to stay me and keep myself grounded by the roots from the tree of Hip Hop I came from. Experimenting with the live instruments was a must, because I am surrounded by so many wonderful artist who play since I’ve arrived in France, but it can also be a pain, because you have to chase after them due to there other projects they work on. I am sure they say the same of me (Laughs). As far as the vocals, I just wanted to try some things and see what melodies can be caught without mimicking others. Always trying to grow is the key.
There is something substantial about this album, a certain richness that calls for repeated listens and gives the listener something new every time, both in terms of production details or lyrics and concepts. Was it something you worked on specifically?
It’s how I am and how the people I work with are. As far as me, if I may relate to my past of growing up with music, there was always this feeling that would shoot through me when I heard something, be it hip hop or whatever category in music. A feeling that words can’t describe and when I felt it, I knew that what I was listening to was unreal and so real at the same time. It is what I must feel before I think of releasing any creation from my studio. Something that makes you think and enjoy at the same time. This notion in music is becoming extinct like animals. I just do what I do. I understand that this is not a popular method in music (mainly hip hop) but nobody’s going to change me on that.
In addition to the depth of the music, your lyrics are very “abstract” at times, especially when you use somewhat obscure references that not everyone can get at the first listen. Once again, did you create this consciously or is it more something that happened naturally?
I came up in a golden era in hip hop. An era where you had to be on point with your flow and be original. An era where you would catch so much hell if you were not on point that people would lose a bit of respect for you as a MC. It’s just a shame now how the powers that be can flip it 360° around and make dumbing down things acceptable. What does that say about the minds of people? Music and words are a powerful factor in everyday life and thinking. There is a saying I heard once and it goes like this: “If you want to know how life is, just listening to the music”… it’s bad now. I wish not to be a contributor to this circus of sound coming out now. I’m not stuck in old ways, I just learn from them how to grow. I always thought is was cool to listen to material that made you think or the person had a metaphors that were like riddles. This is brain stimulation.I think every human should want that. I do. But to each his own. It’s all about substance structured in the illest and dopest form of words and sound for me.
From the title of the album, as well as the topics you touch upon and the way you develop them, I can discern a certain emphasis on creating new dimensions and using your imagination on a high level. Is music one of the best ways for you to express your reality creatively?
Yes… for now. I grew up listening to my dad sing songs in the house every morning (he still does) and my mom was always playing good soul music in the house or in the car. Being a loner for much of my childhood was how music became such a close entity for my expression. As I have grown I see many other formats to explore for expressing my talents… but just not yet. I have found my runway and followers to fly for. As for “The Abstract Convention”, I just rhymed what I live in my own expression, show who I am and what I see… a portion of it.
Anything else you would like to add?
Be yourself in everything you do and don’t change unless you feel you must. Never be afraid to be you. Keep an open mind and the rest of your life will open up just like a flower in bloom. I would like to thank all the groups and organizations for seeing that in me and having trust to allow me to express it to the world and ears that have found me. Good music is out there, but it’s just like knowledge because you have to dig deep for it now ah days. It’s out there, so go enlighten your mind. I also would like to thank you for the interview and having a chance to express myself. Keep reaching and learning… it’s a beautiful thing.