T.H.E Interview – Mathame
Italian-brother duo Mathame are gearing up to release their debut album towards the end of April via Astralwerks.
We got in touch with the duo to learn more about how the album came about, their recent trip to India and how they manage to balance between producing and DJing.
Aditya – Hello, we’re glad to have you for this interview. How was the last year for you?
Mathame – Great, thank you. It’s been the best year so far.
Aditya – You guys have a 13-track album coming out in a few weeks, I had the opportunity to listen to a few tracks, sounds really eclectic. What was the creative process behind the album?
Mathame – The creative process was very lengthy. This album is more of a memo of impressions from the three years we worked on it. There is not a certain concept behind it, there are just distinctive visions that we wanted to convey through music, which then exploded into each track.
Aditya – How long did it take you to produce this massive album, from scratch to finish?
Mathame – The album took three years, not working every single day of course but three years overall.
Aditya – How was your recent visit to India?
Mathame – It was a great party. We felt a lot of love from India’s people. You really feel the love and passion of the crowd for this type of music, which was kind of unexpected. They are really into this sound.
Aditya – You played at the Sunburn Festival, which is Asia’s largest festival! How was your experience?
Mathame – It was unexpected the amount of love and energy they had. They have a lot of positive energy, which is the main thing we felt. We got a very warm feeling from the crowd.
Aditya – You’ve have a bunch of festivals lined-up this year, which include major festivals like Coachella, Ultra Miami, EXIT, and more. Which festival to do you look forward to?
Mathame – We can’t choose just one. Anytime we play it is a test to understand the environment of the people and the crowd. Every festival is a new experience and has a huge amount of energy which makes them all very exciting. Coachella is definitely something you dream about in the beginning of your career so we are super excited about that.
Aditya – Off your hectic touring schedule, how do you manage to spend time in the studio?
Mathame – It is pretty difficult. We are playing 120+ gigs per year. It is hard to stay home but we have great time management. We work during the night in our free days. The only way to stay in the studio is to have no boundaries between life and work.
Aditya – How did you both become DJs, and what motivated you to work together to make it a career?
Mathame – Matteo: We are brothers, so it just felt like a natural family thing. When Ame was a kid, I was teaching him how to DJ so it was only a matter of time to start playing together as we grew up. Everything was super natural, nothing planned. We are very complimentary, not only with our personalities but with our sound too. We just felt from the beginning that something was working well so we were like let’s do it.
Aditya – “Ethereal Techno” and “Melancholic Techno” are terms used to characterise your music. Could you briefly describe your style and what makes you drawn to this sound?
Mathame – Our style can be described as expressive or cinematic techno in a way, not just melancholy or melodic. 99% of the tracks we’ve made could be used in movies so expressive, cinematic techno is a good way to describe it.
Aditya – In 2018, your song “Skywalking” became a huge hit. What was it like to suddenly experience such a surge of popularity, and how did that impact your career?
Mathame – Matteo: Firstly, we were very happy because we started seeing success and were achieving our goals. Music is always connected to the time period + context and Skywalking in that period was very special. Maybe it was visionary luck at the time. The dark side of its success was that I began to have negative feelings towards the song because it became difficult to create something I felt was better than that track. Now, we are proud that we created something so impactful for the scene and our careers.
Aditya – You have performed in some of the most well-known clubs and festivals in the world, such as Berghain and Awakenings. Do you have a favourite or particularly memorable experience at a gig?
Mathame – We have very bright memories of every place we’ve played in, there are too many to choose just one from all the gigs from Buenos Aires to Mexico to NYC. The best memories are when we are able to connect with the people.
Aditya – How has your music changed since you two first began to professionally DJ and produce together?
Mathame – I don’t think we have changed our actual approach to making music much since we started, but after beginning to make music professionally, we started to analyse the context and the scene’s evolution more than before.
Aditya – You’ve remixed music for well-known artists in the field like Jon Hopkins and CamelPhat. How do you choose the songs you want to remix, and how do you give them your own unique touch?
Mathame – The first step to choosing the song is feeling the track, we don’t focus much on names or profiles. With our remixes, we want to take listeners to another planet. Sometimes we have been criticised by fans because they hardly recognize the original version. For us, putting our touch means putting our world into a song. We can’t just change one thing or create another arrangement. How will listeners feel Mathame here? Mathame is our vision, so we put our own principles into our remixes and that’s why they often sound so different from the original. Sometimes people do not want to remix our tracks because they say there’s too much personality in our tracks and they don’t think it should be changed.
Aditya – Your music videos include breathtaking visuals and compelling storylines,” Could you elaborate on the making of these videos and how they relate to your music?
Mathame – Matteo: Nowadays, techno is becoming more and more connected to cinema and visuals. Our approach is to build visuals that work well in our live experience. Our visualizers for Come For You, Believe, and So What have all been used in our live experience. There’s a new field of research of visuals for dance experience we are just discovering and any techno artist should take it into consideration to expand the musical experience. We haven’t yet worked on a traditional Mathame music video as it’s not the right time, it will come when we are ready to take it seriously. I actually was a video maker and director and would love to direct my own video piece for Mathame in the future.
Aditya – What advice would you provide to the aspiring DJs and producers that are attempting to enter the industry and establish a reputation for themselves?
Mathame – The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. When we started to make music, I would often read this in artist interviews and question what it truly meant. It means to be true to your vision and sincere with your feelings. It doesn’t mean never taking advice from others, but to trust your vision and be your own thing. Build your own identity and sound. Connect. The music is a reflection of who you are. Go deeper on that level.