Already active for some years and previously signed for two full-lengthalbums to the German Out Of Line label, this US act has made a comebackdue to summertime with the release of the self-produced album “Deus LoVolt”. It seems that Matrix haven’t lost their way, combining melodiousSynth-/Futurepop elements with smooth male vocals to produce a danceableand catchy attitude. Still remarkable enough to catch someone’sattention, we couldn’t resist to ask some questions to the Matrixmastermind John Sepulveda…
Chain D.L.K.: Greetings, first some words to you. Could you please fillon any biographical details of your music project Matrix? Does youband name not cause any trouble with some film makers out of Hollywood?
Matrix: I have always been really into electronics, and Matrix was a wayfor me to combine my interest in music with my interest in electronics.I named the band after my favorite synth, the Oberheim Matrix 12. SteveCoates who was an original band member, and myself would go to many ofthe city clubs such as the Limelight to catch bands we loved. We alsoused to go visit friends that worked at TVT Records when that stillexisted. This got the two of us really interested in doing music. I hadbeen playing piano since I was six and later I learned guitar. I staredbuying crappy used synths at the local music shop. I then began writingthe first batch of songs that became our demo. When Matrix firststarted, Steve Coates and I decided to try and get signed by sending anote with our demo saying that whoever signed us would receive a hugesupply of porno movies. Mind you, this didnot get us signed, and mostly got us aggravated responses. After a yearor so of playing the east coast of the US non stop, I gave our demo toAthan from Spahn Ranch. He helped us out big time by giving our demo toOut of Line Records, and they liked it so much they signed us. As forthe second part of your question, no we have not had any problems.
Chain D.L.K.: With Ania you have included a full time female band member.A short introduction and some info on her, please…?
Matrix: Ania has been playing with us from the beginning. She touredGermany with us in the earlier part of this century as a live keyboardplayer, and she has done quite a lot of vocals for us. We will also beusing her skills with my side project “In-A-Sense”, which has a more EBMfeel to it.
Chain D.L.K.: The collaboration with both GASR members Gary Suarez andLuis Brito also still seems to work fine. Please give us some insight ofthe globally working process and the functions in the band. How importantare these collaborations for you and the being of Matrix?
Matrix: I think collaboration is very important. Since most of the timewhen I collaborate it is at a distance, the internet helps tremendously.For example, with the guys from GASR I would write something and pass itto Gary for lyrics, at which point he would work his magic and come backto me with a copy of the lyrics and a rough copy of how it should besung. Then I really get to know the lyrics and I record myself singingthem in the way I think they should be sang. I think Gary has a realtalent, that many other lyricists in this scene do not. When I work withLuis of GASR, it is usually the two of us sitting in front of my synthsand bouncing ideas off one another. By the way, GASR is in the finalstages of recording their new album, and from what I have heard so farit kicks ass!!
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you leave the German label Out Of Line, especiallysince a track like “Culture Of Shame” made an appearance on one of the“Awake The Machines” compilation?
Matrix: Out of Line is a great label that is growing by leaps andbounds, and we owe a lot to them. In true American spirit we wanted moreindependence. “Culture of Shame” is one of my favorite tracks, and bythe way Gary wrote the lyrics and Ania sang, which is why I think thatthe collaborative process really works.
Chain D.L.K.: “Deus Lo Volt” is completely done, produced and funded byyou. Wasn’t there an interested label to pick you up? How arereactions so far on your new CD?
Matrix: We are constantly running out of copies and having to get morepressed. It is actually being funded by the people who are purchasingthe album, as all proceeds are going into pressing more copies. We didcheck out a few labels, and we may revisit that in the future. If youreally look at it though, there is not much a label can do for you thatyou cannot do yourself nowadays. I hear of many artists getting robbedby their labels on digital distribution rights. Heck it only costs thelabel a few dollars/euros to get the song to Apple iTunes, and they get90% of the royalties for the rest of your life for something they don’thave any risk with…. that seems stupid tome. There is no manufacturing costs for them or any inventory to worryabout, yet they can make out like fat greedy pigs.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you fill a long time of silence after the 12thtrack “Eastern Sky”?
Matrix: There is a bonus remix of “Silence” after 10 minutes.
Chain D.L.K.: Lets talk on the technical side of producing musicgenerally. Which kind of synthesizer do you prefer, hardware orsoftware-based? Where do you see the Pros and Cons on both kinds?
Matrix: Steve Ferraro from In-A-Sense has been trying to take me intousing software synths for a while. He loves using Receptor and told methat may be the way to go. Although I really love hardware synths. I havebeen modifying and building analogue synths for a few years now, andwill never give that up. I recently modified an old Moog Rogue, bycutting off the plastic sides and changing them to nice wooden ones, andadding some MIDI and PWM. The hardware synths are tactile, the softwaresounds fine, but it’s not the same. Heck, you’ll have to hope yoursoftware will last more than 3 years because every time you upgrade yourcomputer’s OS you run the risk of incompatibility.
Chain D.L.K.: How is it with live gigs? The new tracks should work wellto animate the masses, so what do you expect? Any touring plans you canalready confirm?
Matrix: At Matrix shows the audience is number one!! We had a reunionshow last year in which everyone named Steve that has ever played inMatrix was on stage! Steve Coates, Stevie C, who did the “Among theDolls” video that we put on our Myspace page, and Steve Ferraro. Thereare no current plans to tour. We played a gig with a great new bandcalled Level 2.0 which I was really impressed with.
Chain D.L.K.: Your daily life besides being a musician. Please fill indetails, relations, hobbies, and further interests…
Matrix: I work as an Microwave and RF Engineer for a SATCOM outfit. I gosurfing and snowboarding depending on the season. I also love playingIce Hockey. My other main hobby is modular synth design.
Chain D.L.K.: Please let us know about your upcoming plans, some newreleases you like to confirm here?
Matrix: Late next year we will be releasing a new In-A-Sense album,which we are putting a crazy amount of work into. Soon I might releasesome new Matrix tracks for download on Myspace for the fans.
Chain D.L.K.: Some final words to our readers to conclude this interview…?
Matrix: If you have not heard the album yet, go tohttp://www.cdbaby.com/matrixband3 to hear all of the tracks, or just goto iTunes. Also like I said before we have a free Matrix video for thefans at our Myspace page. Also, our fans really keep us going!!
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Tommy T. Rapisardi]