Matt Robertson

Matt Robertson gets comfy as we light the blue touchpaper on the quick-fire question machine.

Where are you right now and what can you see?

“I’m living on Salt Spring Island in BC Canada. I can see lots of trees, and over the next hill and a small stretch of ocean, Vancouver.”

Composer, synthesist and producer…do you have a favourite job title?

“Job titles are always tricky. I’m happiest when I’m doing a mixture of all three! I love sound design, but it’s easy to get bogged down in minutiae. Being a composer/producer is more broad strokes.”

You’re also a musical director. Erm, what is a musical director?

“It can mean very different things depending on what project you are working on. In my case, I have a general overview of all the musical elements of a live show. That means the actual ‘music’ in terms of arrangement of parts, who is playing what, score production, sample creation, but it also requires having an overview of the music related technical side of a production.”

You’ve got one heck of a CV – Björk, Anohni, Lamb and Cinematic Orchestra… who do you look forward most to getting the call from?

“I think any call is a good call. Every project is totally different from the last, even if it’s with the same artist.”

Your new album, ‘Entology’, that’s a made-up word if we saw one?

“It’s basically a made up word, yes…”

The album explores extinction and the desolate spaces of a post-apocalyptic world. What brought that on? 

“I read a book by Elizabeth Kolbert called ‘The Sixth Extinction’, which discusses the idea that we are currently in the middle of an ‘extinction period’, with a massive loss of biodiversity in a very short period of time. Not so long ago, the whole concept of extinction was laughed at. When people first started digging up dinosaur bones, they believed they were from mythical creatures like dragons. It was only relatively recently, around 1800, that the idea was given some credit.”

The idea that instrumental music can have a subject matter is an interesting one…

“Sound, and by extension music, is a fabulously powerful medium of expression. The exact subject matter may not translate directly to the listener, but I don’t think that necessarily matters. There is usually a feeling that gets translated, and that’s great. I think it’s the same with some vocal music. Songs with slightly more abstract lyrics can be interpreted in many ways, but the feeling usually gets across.” 

From Terry Riley to a good dose of hands-in-air- trance, we’re hearing all sorts in your music… 

“I try to go from a sort of minimal electronic chamber music to a full on party across an album or across a track. Some of my main influences recently have been people like Oneohtrix Point Never, Abul Mogard, Colin Stetson.”

You work with some great singers, were you tempted to get them to help you out a bit? 

“Yes, totally! And one day I will.”

That would have been a very different record, right?

“Yes. It also opens the Pandora’s box of… lyrics.”

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