Wednesday, November 2, 2011

MATT LAWSON, of Secret Colors

We recently talked with Matt Lawson from Secret Colors in advance of his show here at Cairo on Friday November 4th celebrating the new release, Water Mirror, being put out on Brooklyn NY label Group Tightener. Show starts at 8 pm, and will also feature sets from Weed (Vancouver, B.C.) & Pleasure Beauties (Olympia, WA). Check out the interview below & as well as some recent videos Matt created.

Heavy Sleeper from Secret Colors on Vimeo.

1995, or 2012? That is hard! I feel like I could think about this for a long time . . . As much as I wanna say 1995 I know it's foolish to wanna live in the past so I'll say 2012. I'm excited for the future.

How did this album come about? What is your relationship with Group Tightener? Group Tightener is run by two guys from Seattle that live in Brooklyn now. They found my music via the internet/myspace about a year and a half ago and asked if they could put out some of my stuff. At that time I wasn't too focused on Secret Colors, I was a lot more invested in this new band, Stephanie. But they really wanted to do it and of course the prospect of having a vinyl record with my music on it was really exciting. So we came up with a way to do it. Basically, I hadn't recorded any new material in a long time, so they asked if I could send them all my old recordings and together we could decide on a batch of songs that could make for a good album. As a result, half the songs are from an old tape that had a ridiculously small pressing, and the other half are from a cd-r that I made and never officially released. Those guys are awesome and their support really made me take my solo music-making a lot more seriously and the process of putting out this record has been so amazing. Thanks Jamie and Sam!

Where did you grow up? Did you go to shows there? Do you remember the first show you ever attended (sans parents)? I was born and raised in Spokane, WA. There was some stuff going on there but I never knew about it. I never really went to shows at all until I moved to Seattle. I think that's given me a real appreciation for a lot of the stuff I'm able to experience and be a part of here, because it hasn't always been like that for me. There's so much going on all the time, it's so cool. I feel really blessed to be where I am in all of it. The first show sans parents might have been The Wailers (with some guy filling in for Bob Marley) in Spokane. Haha, that was pretty cool.

You work in a ton of mediums, was art apart of your childhood or upbringing? I loved to draw and write at a young age. I loved writing stories. I really enjoyed that and was told that I was pretty good at it. That's something I wish I did more of these days. I used to draw a lot and make comic books and stuff. At some point basketball kind of took over, and then skateboarding, and finally music. But I really love to try and create things in lots of different ways. Music definitely comes the most naturally to me, but with other stuff I just get inspired by friends and stuff I see and sometimes it's fun to try and make a poster or a video or whatever.

Secret Colors - Rewinder from Secret Colors on Vimeo.

Are there particular filmmakers or video artists you admire? I really like David Lynch, Werner Herzog, Terrence Mallick, I saw a couple films by Andrei Tarkovsky that were inspiring. Same with Ingmar Bergman. Recently I got into Lars Von Trier's stuff. I really love Enter the Void by Gaspar Noe. Old skateboarding videos for sure. I think what I like about video art is the way you can sort of simulate a hallucinatory experience. I also really love the way situations or stories can be presented through film, as opposed to in a book, as much as I love reading and appreciate what that medium has to offer. There are just certain things that can be done with film that I feel really drawn to.

Was there a particular band, or song, that made you understand a reality "outside of Top 40", or commercial radio? It's hard to think back and figure out when that switch was flipped. I grew up a huge hip hop fan. From about 10 to 15 almost all I listened to was like hardcore rap. My dad would find the cd's and break them in half! But then I got really into a classic rock phase, and then I heard The Velvet Underground and that was huge for me. So then it just went from them to Sonic Youth, and then Black Dice and stuff like that later on.

You collaborate a lot, is there someone either historically, or a contemporary artist you'd like to create music with? There are a few bands that I'm so obsessed with that I've totally dreamed about going back in time and being in the band. It's almost painful that I can't actually do it. The Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, and The Swirlies.

Top five forever albums?

The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
Animal Collective - Sung Tongs/Feels
Yo La Tengo - And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out

Who are you particularly psyched on right now musically? My biggest musical discovery this year has been Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. I'm obsessed. They've become one of my all time favorites for sure. Eric Copeland from Black Dice is one of my favorite contemporary artists. I've been really into this band Disco Inferno. They were from England and put out a lot of awesome stuff in the '90's. I also just recently discovered Tonstartssbandht, these two guys that make this weird music that just feels so good to me. It's kind of all over the place, from psych-rock to crazy a capella doo wop. Feeling inspired by them right now, like there's no reason to hold back.

What is your day job? How do you view your day-to-day, is a job a means to an end, or does it contribute to your creative process? I work at an elementary school as an after school counselor. I hang out with kids every day. I've been doing it for almost two years now and I feel really comfortable and it fits into my life really well. I think in some ways it could be contributing to the creative process because I spend that time thinking a lot about musical ideas and band stuff. It's not so demanding or stressful that I can't let my mind wander. A lot of it is fun and really entertaining and keeps me feeling like a kid.

We've never met, but I hear you are over 8 feet tall, any good stories come out of that? Haha,I'm 6'7" actually. Sometimes I become really conscious of that fact and it freaks me out, but at the end of the day I am what I am. I've gotten used to it. I always have a pretty good view of my surroundings, which is nice.

What's your favorite thing about the Northwest, or Seattle in particular....what keeps you here? The Northwest is just home. I'm so used to it. I think the main thing that keeps me here is relationships with friends and loved ones. I'd like to travel more and see more of the U.S. at some point. I don't know if I'll be in Seattle forever, but it feels good right now.

SEE YOU ON FRIDAY, $5 gets you in the door, and $10 gets you in the door AND a copy of Water Mirror! Until then enjoy another insanely blissed out video below....

Secret Colors - New Lens from Secret Colors on Vimeo.

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