Band Interview: Mattergy

Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging life are pleased to bring you an interview with progressive metal band, Mattergy.

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1. How did you get started as a band?

Mattergy started out in 2016 as the project of Aigars Aress Māls (Enhet) and Ivars Kalniņš (Bruit Monkey, The Mascaron). Andris Buikis, a well-known Latvian drummer joined the band shortly after, and then Tobias Sarra, a British avant-garde/folk musician joined as lead vocalist in 2017 while he was living in Riga. Back then the band was playing with Stanislavs Yudins as bassist, a popular double bassist on the Latvian jazz/improvisation scene. Stanislavs left the band and was replaced by Ilvars Vitolins, who now also makes the visual art for the band’s releases. We’ve been working hard over the years on composition, recording and production, building a strong local following around our sound. We’re now focusing on live shows and taking our music to a wider international audience.

2. How would you describe your sound?

Our sound fits mainly into the ‘prog metal’ landscape, with heavy, jaunty guitar-led riffs (7 and 8 string so it gets pretty beefy), melodic vocal lines and synth overlays. We often make long tracks with multiple sections and unusual structures, but there’s definitely some underlying ‘pop’ influenced anthemic principles. The songs are usually big, heavy-hitters, sometimes frantically fast-paced, but we also have moments of extreme spaciousness (as with the start of Wide Awake) and even some power ballads (Lightborn, Delight). Each of us has a different background, so we’re bringing together lots of different experiences to this space.

3. What bands/artists would you say have influenced your style of music?

One thing that makes the band special (we believe), is our eclectic mix of musical influences. Aigars and Ivars are very influenced by metal, especially prog – bands like Dream Theatre, Karnivool, Periphery, Sikth, Meshuggah, Tesseract, Caligula’s Horse, Haken, Leprous. Andris comes from a jazz background, and is influenced by Genesis, Dave Weckl band and Simon Phillips. Ilvars is mainly influenced by jazz, fusion, latin, artists like Jaco Pastorius, Anthony Jackson, Tom Kennedy and Brian Bromberg. Tobias is inspired by art-pop, experimental improvisation, folk/traditional sounds and everything in-between – Matana Roberts, Blake Mills, Tori Kudo, Yves Jarvis, Sam Amidon, Jake Xerxes Russel, Sóley, Michael Hurley, Busdriver, Milo, Amanda Palmer, Arthur Russell, Claire Rousay, Tigran Hamasyan, Sibusile Xaba, Scroobius Pip, Kae Tempest.

4. Has the rise of YouTube & music streaming helped or hindered you as a band?

I think it’s definitely helped to some extent. As a young band, we’re still growing our audience, and I think YouTube and music streaming in general is really good for that. It helps people to get to know our music and bring them into our fan-sphere. I don’t think I really see a hindrance for our band around these platforms. It’s definitely not ideal financially, and I know I’d personally like to see higher percentages for artists on streaming revenue. But for where we’re at right now as a band I’d say it’s helping us to reach wider audiences that we might not have reached pre-streaming.

5. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not making music?

I love being in nature – long walks or just little wanders through the forest/at the beach. I try to get out whenever I get a spare moment. I love qigong, contemporary dance/embodied movement practices and making visual art (paint & clay), and try to stay active within the Newcastle DIY arts/music scene. I’m also pretty keen on football (which not a lot of people guess when they meet me) – I’ve spent a lot of this year following my football team’s progress (West Ham) – we’ve had a pretty successful season!

6. What are your future plans musically? Tours?

We’re currently in the process of signing a short-term contract with a manager/booking agent. The plan is to do small tours over the next year to try to grow our fanbase. We’re also hoping to find time over the next year to make a 2nd album together. Whereas with our 1st album the skeletons of the songs were written by Aigars, with other members adding their parts to the basic structure, we’re hoping our 2nd album will be a more collaborative effort from the get-go.




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