MATTEUS – One Man Band

Matteus is one of the most interesting greek artists appearing in this year’s Synch. His album, recorded both in Athens and a church in northwest Iceland, seems like a dollhouse with a collection of eerie sounds and voices lend by the dolls/narrators of the album.

Would you describe your new release as concept album? What are the topics that provide inspiration and how do you translate them to music?

Yes, it is a concept album and it deals with issues like love, emotional breakdowns, separation, isolation, happiness and especially lack of communication between people. Human relations in today’s world is the inspiration for what I do. The need to understand characters and attitudes, put me in the process to create these fictional characters -dolls with only standard human features- and to analyse their nature. As to how I translate it to music, this I find impossible to explain; it just happens, it comes and finds you. You are the medium, with your paper, pencil and equipment ready to reveal what is needed.

Do you like being called a ‘one-man-band’; Can the keyboards create the sense of a full band?

I wouldn’t say I like it but it doesn’t bother me either. During a live show you are completely on your own on stage, playing all instruments by yourself, handling the electronics and singing and there is no other way to describe it. The reason I’m doing it, is not because it suits me but because I’m too neurotic and dysfunctional to collaborate with other musicians. However lately I have been making some small progress; I work with a very good cellist. Keyboards alone certainly cannot create the impression of a full band, you need many other things and instruments. Undoubtedly they are very good and technologically advanced audio tools with endless potentials.

Out of the artists you mention on your website as influences, who had the most profound affect on you?

My influences belong to a particular musical genre and its branches. I can only be affected by Nick Cave’s dark stories or the torrential frenzied monologue of Lydia Lunch, the disarming frankness, whispers and sweetness by Stina Nordenstam, the confessions and piano playing by Tori Amos, the cries and screams by Maja SK Ratkje and Diamanda Galas, the the technological genius of Laurie Anderson, the depressive charm and relevance of Lisa Germano and the addictive mess by Sigur Ros. In my view, there are very notable names in Greece too that deserve careful attention, like Manekinekod, Aris Forvitinn, Love Boat Orchestra, Larry Gus, Naono & the Melorman, Etten, Pan Pan and others.

‘Ugly Doll’s Stories’ by Matteus is released by ORL.

Link: matteus

Interview: Andreas Dimopoulos/ Photography: Dafni Anesti