In depth with Mathew Jonson…


Dubai outfit + – have pulled out all the stops this season to bring the party to the UAE, featuring stand out sets from Chris Liebing, James Zabiela and Benoit and Sergio, but the season closing party features an artist like no other – Mathew Jonson. Mathew’s productions have broken the mould ten fold with his seminal work as part of Cobblestone Jazz, Modern Deep Left Quartet and under his own name, but it is his live performances that consistently impress. Ahead of his show for + – I catch up with Mathew to talk shop….

Words – Stu Todd

How has 2015 been for you so far?

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster to be honest. From some vacation time in February to some really heavy touring, I can tell this year is going to test me in many ways. Luckily, I have friends that are good at taking care of me.

I am very excited about the recent Cobblestone Jazz material. Can you tell us more about the record?

I’m really excited about it too. It has been sometime since our last release. We made both tracks over a day session in my old studio. It was actually the last day before closing so it feels like it was a great way to go out. ‘Northern Lights‘ is my favorite of the two. It was made playing the Rhodes and CS-60 live through the modular synthesizer‘s gates. It took about an hour to set up the patch that created the rhythm of the parts. As myself and Danuel were playing at the same time – him on the piano and myself on the synth – we were able to find a nice flow that naturally evolves. The result was something that sounded quite percussive but actually we were holding sustained chords and letting the modular do a lot of the work.

Mathew Jonson vs. Minilogue and Modern Deep Left Quartet performances sound like mouth-watering prospects, please tell us more about how these setups work, and when and where we can catch such a show? 

We don’t play very often. It’s something we like to save for special occasions when it’s the right kind of situation, as this kind of improvisation is not right in every setting. We usually play quite long sets so the musical direction can be quite dramatic over the set. We don’t have anything prepared; we write sequences on the drums and synths live so it’s quite organic the way things evolve. We all just try to listen to each other as best we can and play what feels right for the moment. We have two shows in the next months: one at Ozora Festival in Hungary and another in Holland at Drift Festival.

Festival season is under way again, what shows do you have coming up that you are most excited about?

I’m really looking forward to Rainbow Disco Club outside of Tokyo this weekend. The Modern Deep Left Quartet is playing one of our rare shows. It’s also an improvised show. We have been doing it since the 90’s from time to time so we all know each other’s capabilities quite well. Playing in Japan is always something special for us. It doesn’t really get much better than traveling with your close friends to foreign places and experiencing things together. It can be a lonely road out there playing solo.

Off Sonar is up next after your show in Dubai, is this always a special place to play? Can you give us an example or memory from BCN?  

The guys from Cynosure and Wagon Repair get together every year at this time for a show at Moog club. We are all quite close and most of us live in Berlin so it’s really a family thing. I would say that’s where most of my favorite memories are from. The upstairs room is small and kind of a sweat box. The Mole is usually up there playing records with Tyger Dhula or Natalia for example. This is where the party really is later in the night. Our friend Koosh is coming over from Canada for a rare appearance upstairs this year, so we are all looking forward to that.

An album from The Dog Years is imminent, please tell us more about it and how this differs from your solo work and Cobblestone Jazz output?

Yes, this is something special. We are still unsure of when or with who it will be released. But we are speaking to Crosstown and Damian is very interested in doing it. The music is really out there though so it’s not the easiest thing to put out lets just say that. The project consists of The Mole, Hreno and myself and the album also features one mash up from a session I did with Deadbeat.

What has been happening on your Wagon Repair label recently, what/who should we be looking out for?

It’s slowed its output in the last years and is now something I use for my projects from time to time. I have been too busy with other things to put much effort into running a label as of late but it feels like it’s time to open it up again. I can’t say what that will mean though.

What other releases of yours do you have coming up?

Nothing signed yet. I’ve been holding out trying to finish another album first.

You bring your live set up with you to Dubai in June, what kit will you be bringing with you? Any new additions?

Same as always. Tr-8, Machinedrum, SH-101 a mixer, some controllers and effects.

Do you ever wish you could just rock up with a couple of USB’s and headphones?

I’ve only tried it once at my friends wedding years ago. It was fun and really easy to find the music you want to play. If I ever decide to start dj’ing again it would be a good way to go. Not the most sexy format to play music but the time it takes to look for your music with the new CD players is unparalleled. If you stick to WAV or aiff files the sound is great so that’s what’s important. Lugging my gear around is not easy but the live result is what counts. At least I get some exercise between my shows.

Event link to follow – https://www.facebookcom/events/1604536849798596/

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