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  • Aug : 12 : 2016 - Spotlight: COLD SUMMER Release ‘Fight To Survive’ EP (Listen & Watch) [Post-Hardcore, Punk Rock]
  • Jul : 28 : 2016 - If These Trees Could Talk – ‘The Bones of a Dying World’ Album Review [Post-Rock]
  • Jul : 8 : 2016 - Interview with I PREVAIL! [Hard Rock, Hardcore]

Introducing Matter, a post-hardcore band out of Los Angeles fresh on the scene. The band is poised to release their debut album THE MAN, available for download November 13th at www.matterband.com. Consisting of Daniel Griffin – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Elijah Kellogg – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Daniel King – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Josh Marmol – Bass, Backing Vocals, Matt Perry – Drums and citing influences of Thrice, Brand New, Explosions in the Sky, Isis, Defeater, great things are in store…

 


Hear their debut tracks and experience the versatility of the band in the somber, riff-laden Stammer and the hardcore thrillride Regicide:

 
Elijah and Daniel King were gracious enough to take time out of their final mixing process to give AmpKicker an exclusive interview:
 
How did the band meet and how did the roster come together?


Elijah Kellogg (EK): I’ve always loved music and band culture and was actually part of a fairly serious punk-four-piece, Fentruck, for a solid five years of my life. Fentruck was always right on the brink of getting signed and “making it big”; we were even under the management of Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta from NOFX for the last few months of our existence. But, in the end, labels were just either not interested or already had their budgets maxed out on pop-punk bands and nothing came of it and the band eventually dissolved in late 2010. It was about six months after that when I realized I really missed writing music and wanted to start up a new project, not really knowing how serious it would turn out. One-by-one I started contacting the friends I knew who were interested in the same style of music I was looking to write, starting with Daniel Griffin, then DK, then Josh Marmol and finally Matt Perry. As it turns out, I ended up being the only one of all the members who had ever truly written, recorded and performed in a touring band and that’s craziness because—as I learned over our 1 1/2years of writing together—these guys are incredible musicians! I am so proud to start this new journey of music with these guys, and, needless to say, I now know that Matter is going to be the real deal.

 

Daniel King (DK): Basically what Eli said. I was in one band before Matter called Stride Upon the Gale with Josh and Griffin (shout-out to Josh Suaverdez! You da’ man.) but  that never really got off the ground. Personally, I have always been a guy who just writes guitar parts for hours sitting alone in his bedroom. Eli and I had one practice for an acoustic project that he was thinking about in early 2011–one that I think we can both look back on and laugh about now. A few days after that practice, I remember telling Eli that if I was going to do a project, I wanted it to be big. Well, I got what I bargained for when I came over to jam with him and Griffin in June, 2011. That’s where we wrote the meat of the very first song on the album, Rapture.

 

How does the writing process work within the band?


DK: Eli tends to be the idea-factory of the band. Every time he comes to a practice he’s presenting some form of new idea, whether it be musical, conceptual or practical. He tends to be the guy who gets the creative ball rolling. I’m the editor (as Eli will probably allude to with his own answer). I’m not a terribly creative person on my own, but I love collaboration and taking somebody’s work and really running with it. Griffin is the master of layers and dynamics. He’s great at bringing fullness to the sound of a part, and he really thinks on a textural level in ways that the rest of us don’t. Josh has a great ear for chord progressions and song structure. He’s got a fantastic ability to lay down a foundation for us to build on, and some of my favorite moments on the album were written this way. Finally, Matt holds a surprising amount of influence in the melody/song structure department and he’s really good at helping steer the mood and feel of a song to where it should be. Like most bands, a lot of the writing also has been happening in the studio at the last minute. There’s something fresh and organic about getting that last little layer or part in there before you ship your baby off into the world.

 

EK: Yeah, every member really plays a vital role in the writing process, however, each role is extremely different. I’m the too-much-too-soon, full of ideas guy, and DK is totally the editor. What he said about the other guys is absolutely true too–we each know our role and it just works perfectly. That’s a blessing I know a lot of start-up bands really don’t have.
Like DK said, while almost all of our writing is done together, a lot of the guitar layering is written and finished just moments before we mix and master. It’s funny because often times those parts are added without Josh, Matt and I even really knowing about it! Haha. But DK’s totally right–those guitar leads are amazing and almost always end up being my favorite parts. He’d completely deny it, but I am convinced that DK has the potential to be one the the next great guitarists of our time. His work under pressure, way more often than not, results in pure genius. I’m just lucky he’s my friend and I got him before anybody else did, which, really, is a true statement for all the guys in Matter.

 

Do you write songs as independent singles, or as part of a larger story/theme?


EK: I made it clear right from our formation as a band that I am a huge believer in music being the vehicle by which humans tell their stories. We are worshipers, plain and simple. Whether you like the spiritual nature of that fact or not, it’s absolutely true: human beings are wired to reflect the things they hold dear and believe in through the arts. We’re like fun-house mirrors: putting our own unique perspectives on the truths of life that we are forced to reflect. And that is why I am so thankful that the rest of Matter was absolutely stoked on the idea of writing stories with our musical gifts, and not just the next top-40 single. Thus, our two upcoming releases are actually two different chapters of the same story. As a plus, stories help convey our ideologies and personal trials without being preachy, a point that I feel A LOT of modern Hardcore and Post-Hardcore bands completely abuse. You can make good music, but if you’re a bad story teller or exchange the art of story-telling altogether for cheap words and empty bro-chants, it can really sag on the value of your work.

 

What’s the story behind the the song ‘The Man’? Give us your favorite lyric (or a lyrical highlight) from the song.


EK: This song is really interesting for me because I wrote the guitar part for it years and years ago, not really knowing what I’d ever do with it in the punk band I was in. It was just so haunting right from the beginning, and to this day it’s still a bit mesmerizing for me every time I hear it—it’s weird, like a floating member of my body that I can only visit, but can never really own. Anyway, when we were coming up with the end to the album, “The Man,” we knew we wanted the title track to be sobering and I instantly got excited when I remembered that I had never used that guitar part. Writing lyrics for it took about 10minutes because the notes of each chord just led me to all the right words.
This part of the story is where our character realizes he has nothing left. Everything he had put stock in has turned on him, which makes the first line—“So this is feeding with the swine”—so perfectly pathetic and still very insightful. Another line that I’ve always loved is “If there’s a lord behind these lies, then I’m the smallest of his flies,” which fits two references to Satan in one awesome reference to William Golding’s masterpiece on the real nature of humanity. I have to add that I enjoy how the song ends, leaving the audience to consider if there is really any hope for this sad individual that they, hopefully, have really grown to relate to.
 

 
Matter, as a band, functions as its own business enterprise under the sole-proprietorship of Elijah Kellogg, dba MATTER RECORDS, registered 2012. Being your own enterprise, what has been the biggest challenge so far?


DK: Eli going off and buying jet skis with our money. That can be frustrating.

 

EK: Bahaha… right. Haha. Well, to be completely honest as the label guy, it’s frustrating to know you have a great product but a really jaded and mistrusting consumer group. Music as a business is probably the worst form of entertainment you could try to be getting into these days. The internet, while it has given us the ability to get in touch with hundreds of great musicians, has also opened up the door for a lot of crap to wade through to find the good stuff. The audience we’re trying to respect and entertain has already become tired of being bombarded with “bands” who make better tattoo models and social-media drones than musicians. The more and more I do market research, the more I’m finding that most listeners end up doing one of two things. It’s either a) they skip out on the search for good independent music altogether and just settle for what the mainstream is trying to force feed them or b) they boldly start the search, but then find a few mediocre bands who are on their friend’s “label,” settle for that and make believe it’s good music because it’s not mainstream. Both of those scenarios don’t help us at all. Sure, we don’t plan on going platinum, but we’re not going to fool ourselves or our fans into thinking half-baked garage-demos are worthy of label support and people’s money either. There’s a balance we’re striving to respect and thankfully we’re starting to get a good reputation with the right kind of fans. But it’s a huge learning curve to achieve that balance.

 

Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique? If your band had a slogan, what would it be?


EK: Matter really cares about what we do as humans, not just as musicians. That’s kind of what our name and its double meaning is all about: existence and significance. Every band has a lifetime, just like people, so with the time and talent we’ve been given, we don’t just want to take up space; we want to make a difference. One of the ways we felt we could do that is by donating 50% of all digital sales to an incredible non-prof called Life Impact International. They rescue children, particularly orphans, and house/feed/care for them in areas where youth are endangered by the local slave and sex trafficking trade. Along with providing financial support, we will be advocating for Life Impact and similar organizations during all of our live performances and online in an effort to inform this generation about the modern-day atrocity of child slave labor and sex trafficking. If die young as a band, we’d die happy knowing we used our platform to help save lives. You can check-out what I’m talking about and get involved at www.lifeimpactintl.org.

 

DK: Absolutely. Musically speaking, we have really tried to hit a balance between catchiness and depth. It’s vital that a song catches your ear at some point while you’re initially listening to it, and I believe that these six songs really do that. I’m finding myself frustrated with a lot of current bands who have almost no dynamics to speak of in their music. It all just sludges together and there’s nothing really distinct for your ear to pick out. I think we’ve succeeded in creating those “whoa” moments. The other side of this scale is the depth. We don’t want to just be one of those instant-gratification acts where every single measure is trying to be this blissful array of transcendent melodies and chords. Those albums have a one-week shelf life for me because there’s nothing to work through. We want people to have to dig a bit at some points; to work. A big element that drives this is the story we’re telling. Our character encounters moments of extreme anguish and misery in our narrative, and the music must reflect that. Sometimes it does this in a very sad, beautiful way, and sometimes it’s just ugly and in your face. This concept is nothing new to fans of bands like Radiohead, Isis and The Dear Hunter. Those bands require your attention, and even your patience, to listen to. A goal of mine is to meet listeners who have not yet plumbed the depths of those sorts of acts with an accessible but intriguingly different sound. We would never be so ignorant as to put ourselves in the same category as a band like Radiohead, on any level, but I would love to win some people over to the side of listening to music that actually makes you think. Aaaaaand we partner with Life Impact and they’re awesome, like Eli has stated. Seriously, can’t give those guys enough credit and support.

 

What moods should we expect from the album?


DK: It’s really dark, and where it’s not in-your-face dark, it’s sad and kind of melancholy. This won’t be your post-breakup, feel-good-pick-me-up album. I find great value in darkness when it comes to art. Admittedly, we’re all aching for everyone to hear the second half of the story, where there is an incredible depth of joy, hope, reconciliation and rest, but there is something undeniably penetrating and transforming about darkness. We don’t want people to feel like they’re walking through a Holocaust museum or anything, but I would be perfectly happy to shake people up a bit, even if I hear that people don’t necessarily feel all too good when the last note rings. It’s nearly imperative that one listens through the album while reading the lyrics at least once.

 

EK: Totally. Whether heavy or relaxed musically, the theme is extremely treacherous. It’s a journey that needs to be taken, but taken with caution. As weird as it seems, we want people to come the end of the first chapter of this story asking themselves things like: “Did I really just hear what I heard?” and “How the heck does this story end on a good note?”

 

Would you rather achieve major label billboard success or local sustainability with the band?


EK: I definitely think this band has what it takes to be big. You can hear it in the music. You can see it in our live show. But the question is really dependent upon how much we’re willing to sacrifice to make that a reality. I think it’s safe to say we all enjoy our day jobs and there’s a part of me that appreciates that we’re just five guys who write music and tour in our spare time, but still contribute in the daily 9-to-5 that the rest of society is bound to. It’s more realistic to keep it that way, for now. Though, if people really support us and want us to get big and we’re blessed with the right opportunities, anything could happen. It’s funny because I can think of about five different friends of mine who are musicians and who would completely disagree with everything I just said about doing music and keeping a day job, and I get why they believe differently. For me though–having already taken this journey once before–I’m now well aware that life goes on when the final curtain closes–whether you’re ready or not. Thus, now I take this saying to heart way more seriously than I did in the past, especially when it comes to your entertainment career: you’re not ready to live well until you learn to die well.

 

Which musicians/bands do you admire? Why?


DK: We are all huge Thrice fans, and everyone will be able to hear their influence in our music. I mean, let’s face it, what rock band in the last decade hasn’t been influenced by Thrice in someway or another? Aside from that, I am personally a bit of a Radiohead geek. I love music with a really layered sound and I’m most definitely a moody person at times, so all of Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood’s shenanigans are right up my alley. I’m also a big fan of Defeater, and they, as another story-based band, have definitely inspired a lot of how we present ourselves thematically and lyrically. From there it’s a melting pot of things ranging from Between the Buried and Me and Converge to Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens.

 

EK: Haha. That last part sounds ridiculous, but it’s so true.

 

One song you never get tired of:


EK: So many of them…but I’d say I get absolutely jacked-out-of-my-mind every time I hear “State of the Union” by Rise Against. That song is so raw and seething and the message at the end is what really drove me to fall in love with music that has a cause.

 

DK: How To Disappear Completely by Radiohead. It’s not a song you just throw on your jogging playlist, but the depth of feeling that this song hits is always flooring for me. It’s kind of this little gem hidden within the beast that is Kid A, and I absolutely adore its tangible sense of sadness and tragedy.

 

Do you have any upcoming tour plans?


EK: We are so excited to announce that we are headlining a tour in Eastern Europe this spring for a cause called Exit Tour. It’s a non-prof that puts on a  sort of teen-issues day for schools in the local cities where suicide, teen-pregnancy, drug-abuse and other major young-life-conflicts are a huge concern. Because countries like The Czech are still experiencing the fall-out of heavy communist dictatorship, creativity, emotional health and spirituality are all aspects of teens’ lives there that are under constant restraint and under the generally apathetic attitude from their elders. Exit Tour was created to give hope to students in these areas of their life, and as the musical act for the tour, we are SO stoked to be a part of the healing process. You can check out the Exit Tour at facebook.com/EXITTour.
As for state-side, we hope to build slow and work our way out. Unfortunately, that means unless cross-country labels, bands and fans really show interest, we’re going to be stuck on the West Coast and Southwest regions for a while. Our debut show will be Friday, November 30th in our home town with special guests Back Pocket Memory, Via Coma and Divine Attraction. If you’re in the LA area, you can get tickets here: matter.brownpapertickets.com.

 

 

Thanks for the interview guys!

THE MAN, available for download November 13th at www.matterband.com

http://facebook.com/matterband

 

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