donderdag 17 september 2020

Interview met Miles Matrix

Miles Matrix is terug, met zijn tweede album van dit jaar. Gisteren uitgebracht en nog vers van de pers. Met ¨Silicon Valley¨ horen en voelen we zijn visie op deze hightech regio in Californië. Een album wat weer hoge ogen gaat gooien in vele eindejaarslijstjes. Tijd voor een interview!

Miles Matrix is back with his second album this year. It was released on yesterday and still fresh. With "Silicon Valley" we hear and feel his vision of this high-tech region in California. An album that will once again attract attention in many year-end lists. Time for an interview!

Miles Matrix

Miles, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I'm Miles Matrix, a 38 year old producer based in Vienna who dabbles in electronic music on the more retro side of the spectrum. Started with Synthwave, but branching out a bit now in terms of influences. But all in all pretty much retro and definitely synthwave adjacent.

Congratulations with your latest album "Silicon Valley". What was the idea behind this album?
Since the majority of my music is instrumental, working with a theme gives me a creative framework. Not only in terms of song titles or art, but also in regards to atmosphere, vibe, etc. The theme somehow just came to me. Basically, the title of the EP, "Silicon Valley", was there first, and I extrapolated the idea from there. I wanted to blend the utopian visions we connected with the valley twenty years ago with the capitalist hellscape it has become, plus the influence it has had on culture, be it work or pop culture. Obviously not every detail is reflected in the finished EP, but that's basically the thought process behind it. We start out with the founder-centric, ego driven startup mentality in the first song "I'm SEO, Bit" (a little pun based on Zuckerberg's infamous business card), create some hope with the second song "City of Business Angels" and then end with destroyed dreams in the last song, "Vaporware". The last one is my favorite song actually. One of the most reduced tunes I've created productionwise.

In June you released "French Riviera", a very chill and relaxing album. Perfect for the summer. What things did you do differently on "Silicon Valley" compared with "French Riviera"?
To be honest, they're not too different from each other. On a meta level, "Silicon Valley" is a sequel to "French Riviera". Thematically they're obviously world's apart, but the creative process was pretty much the same. I would like to think that Silicon Valley's vibe is also still quite chill, albeit thematically a bit more chilling.

Both records continue a process I started with "Androids Anonymous", something you might be able to call "method writing" or what you used to call a concept album. It works pretty well for me. It leaves enough space for creative exploration but offers a guard rail and orientation. I don't know, maybe it's helpful because I'm autistic and structures, routines are very important for me.

Also, "Silicon Valley" was the result of a challenge I set myself. I challenged myself to finish an EP in seven days. 5 tracks with one track per day, plus a day for mixing / mastering and then artwork. It took a day longer than expected because I spent more time on mastering (mixing is something that is always already part of the production process for me) but in general I finished the challenge and I'm quite happy with the result.

The biggest difference probably is that I branched out stylistically much more on "Silicon Valley". The first song is basically vaporwavish synthwave mixed with a UK Garage beat, music I listened a lot to around the millennium. The second song explores Explosions in the Sky territory, very cinematic. The third one is straight up funk, I'd say, with the last songs leaving Synthwave / Retrowave territory entirely.

You are based in Vienna. Can you tell us something about the music scene please?
To be honest, I don't hang out with many artists, but then again I don't hang out with people a lot in general. But what I can say is that Vienna has a very vibrant scene. Some of the biggest names right now are probably Bilderbuch, Mavi Phoenix, Voodoo Jürgens and Ankathie Koi plus a host of rappers who are very successful in german-language Europe. But there are many other great unknown bands to watch out for, for example Crush with their indie hit "Twist and shout" or Dramas with "Undercover Dreamers".

What other synthwave producers from Austria do we need to keep an eye on?
Well, I think Powernerd needs no introduction anymore, but if you don't know him yet, check them out. One of the best synthwave artists out there.

What are your other plans for this year?
Not sure really. Have a couple of ideas for new songs, let's see what works out. I think I'll be definitely releasing something this year.

What musicians do inspire you?
Aw man, difficult question, that can really change on a daily basis. I'm inspired by a lot of music, not always a particular musician. But artists I always return to are for example The Crystal Method. I love everything they do and they're a huge inspiration for me.

What equipment do you use in your studio?
Right now I have a setup with Native Instruments Maschine MK3. My records so far have mostly been produced in Garageband on my laptop. I am not a trained musician, I can't play the piano or anything, so I love the Maschine MK3 because it lets me jam and really streamlines my production (plus it will make it easier to translate songs to a live performance). I also use the Maschine software. I know many don't like it but I find it to be really cool.

Retro gaming is hot! Are you a gamer and what are some of your favorite games?
I think calling myself a gamer would stretch it too far, but I do like gaming. I've spent quite some time in Valorant this year, but also with indie games like Islanders. A game I'm really enjoying right now is Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. I also create games myself sometimes. My last one was Dungeons & Deadlines for which I also produced a soundtrack.

Which book should everyone read to your opinion?
My favourite books are the ones in the Cartel series from Don Winslow. Another good book I recommend is Trust me I'm lying from Ryan Holiday and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Trust me I'm lying from Ryan Holiday

What do you like most about the ´80s?
The world was far from being perfect back then what with the Cold War, Thatcherism and of course much more inequality than today. But it was also a less complex time. Social Media can be great, and for me as an autistic it has definitely helped in many regards, but presently I think the cons outweigh the pros. So that's why I think many from my generation and older like to return there on a little nostalgia trip. The music of the ´80s is amazing, as were many of the movies. So it's basically the entertainment from that era I like best.

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
Thank you very much for all the support you've extended to me. It's really helped me grow as an artist and I enjoy being part of it.

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