After exploring the outer reaches of his sonic capabilities, L.A.-based producer Matthewdavid has found a familiar (to many), yet foreign (to him) source of inspiration: love.
It may seem too ubiquitous a subject for the Brainfeeder mainstay who's known for his fondness of found sounds and cassettes, but with a renewed creative spirit following the birth of his child, he's making a daring move into pop music territory. We talked to him ahead of his new album, In My World, out today.
In My World feels a lot broader in scope – what brought about that change since Outmind?
This record has always been there. It was just sort of suppressed. I felt like taking on this role in the experimental/lo-fi/collage/whatever scene and coming out with this pop voice. I wanted to have some sort of positivity that was really bold. I didn't want to be ashamed of being more outward. A lot of us don't want to talk about what are deemed as cliché topics.
Happiness, love, etc…
Yeah. I don't know why it's only reserved for soft, crooning, R&B artists, but when they talk about it, it's always directed towards a woman. It's a more universal concept on my record. There's no addressing the female pronoun at all. I was a little annoyed about the current state of Top 40 hip-hop/R&B and, coming from my weirdo, freakish background, I wanted to trick some people into listening to this stuff, too.
Did you know that you were going to go in this direction for your next album?
This was planned. A lot of these songs are old. I've been waiting to build the confidence and for the right timing to present this stuff. Back in 1998 or 1999, I was just writing raps and making beats. I'm trying to come back to that. I was waiting for that right time. Being in L.A. and getting to know people and building relationships with all of my colleagues that support me, I wanted to surprise them.
What gave you the confidence to put this out?
The Low End Theory, beat scene, instrumental, post-Dilla, future beats stuff took a good 5,6,7 years to totally circulate throughout the community. I think that had to run its course to introduce a new style, a new era of production. We had to just marinate on that and decide, now that we're older, what do we do now?
Crossing over into pop territory is fun to experiment with; see if you can bring a new audience in, convert the old audience, and garner some new fans by playing that trickster pop artist role.
Your cover of sorts, “Perpetual Moon Moods,” I see as a centerpiece to these themes you're talking about. Why did you decide to do that track?
I got really into Rick James two years ago. I was recording a lot of covers around that time and that one I ended up flushing out. That song is so fun and funky and it has those roots in hip-hop, being sampled by Big Daddy Kane and other old-school folks. I wanted to flip it in a cool, glamorous way. I did some other demos, but that's the one that stuck. I don't know where that stands legally because I definitely don't have that kind of clearance, but I tried to disguise the sample. Everyone knows what it is.
One lyric that really struck me from the song “Artforms” was “I'm feeling all the artforms start to blend together”
I guess what I mean by that, very simply, is that there's connectivity to a singular source. No matter what your discipline is, there's that common ground between everyone. In that song, it's all coming from love. Regardless of what you're portraying, it all fuses as one with love as the center. It's a pretty generalized statement, but I still feel like it carries that weight.
What was it like going into the studio after the birth of your child?
You start to ask yourself these existential questions about your art. It's definitely very beautiful, but it's also more challenging to find the time and space. It's that extra challenge that is so inspiring. When you finally do have that time, everything that has been building up is just released. Subject matter and lyrical content, the stuff I'm sampling and pulling from is now influenced by that experience. I would've never known. We can take psychedelics and do all that other existential shit, but having a kid is super trippy.