Matrixxman Opens Up About Following His Creative Inclinations

Charles McCloud Duff is Matrixxman; the DJ and producer making some of the most interesting techno to come out in recent years. Releasing on labels like Ghostly International and his own Soo Wavey Records, the he explores some of the darker, more acidic sides of techno. His recent album, Homesick, saw Duff develop some of those themes even further, drawing quite clearly on influences from the analogue age of the music that has made him what he is today.

After following his work for some time, we're incredibly excited to invite him to EC1 for our 16th birthday celebrations this weekend. This will be the first time he's played for us here in Farringdon and we can't wait to see what he's got prepared so here's an introduction to what he's all about ahead of this weekend…

Tell us a bit about where you’re from?

Matrixxman: I reside in San Francisco although I am originally born and raised in Virginia, just outside of Washington DC.

Do you have a musical background?

I suppose in the most traditional sense, no. Although I have long had a burning passion for music since a young age (despite displaying little ability for such things early on). Over the years I have attained a modicum of musical proficiency insofar as I am now able to confidently compose in a variety of disparate genres. Stuff ranging from reggae, shoe gaze, fun and territory on the total opposite end of the spectrum like classical and film score-related material. I started out producing for other artists initially so that forced me to try my hands at things I ordinarily might have not attempted. Techno and house eventually came into the picture when I decided I would rather produce for myself after years of toiling away for other artists' visions. Interestingly enough, it was when I started focusing on my own path that things took on a life of their own and ultimately blossomed into a career. Call it fate, perhaps.

How did you come to DJ for the first time?

Vin Sol, a best friend of mine who I work with regularly, kept pushing me in that direction during the days of my more production-oriented phase of life. It turned out to be a crucial step in the direction of making music a proper vocation.

”I am presently enjoying my techno journey at the moment”

In terms of production, where do you draw your inspiration from musically? People or places…

So many things contribute to inspiration. Obviously music itself is a huge source but that's just one piece of the puzzle. I draw massive amounts of inspiration from sci-fi literature, film, fine arts... you name it.

You’re frequently asked how it’s possible to have released such a volume of work in such a short space of time, but is that maybe due to your versatility as a producer?

Yeah, that could definitely be a factor. What's hilarious to me is that the thought never occurred to me whilst I was making all that stuff, "Oh wow! This is a lot of music to be putting out!" It was merely me following creative inclinations; a sort of knee-jerk reaction as it were, to whatever I felt compelled to do at the time.

How did you meet Vin Sol and what lead to the starting of Soo Wavey?

I met Vin while I lived in New York around 2008. He happened to be out there for a DJ gig I believe. The label eventually came about since we were tired of waiting for others to press wax.

What are your plans for the label?

I am looking to start up something new. Thus far, Soo Wavey has been primarily a house oriented endeavour while I am honestly playing mostly (if not entirely) techno these days. That being said, Vin plans to release a bunch of stuff on it and I will probably revisit it too at some point. I do admire someone like Luke Slater's omnivorous approach where he bangs out a slew of techno under his Planetary Assault Systems moniker but then will also explore his softer, house inspired side with the L.B. Dub Corp alias. Personally, I am presently enjoying my techno journey at the moment so I am going to be unleashing plans of a wholly separate imprint specifically tailored to just that. More on that very soon!

Turning to the new album, how did you decide you were ready to make an album? Is there a story behind how you made it?

It was just time. I had sufficiently delved into the EP territory to the extent that it just felt like I needed to do something deeper and more comprehensive. Albums are great because you truly get to venture off into all sorts of emotional realms that just wouldn't make sense in the context of a shorter format. You get to tell a story and I felt that component was lacking from the terse vocabulary of singles and EPs.

What production methods do you use? Are you hardware or software focussed or do you use a mixture of both?

I am quite varied in my approach but more often than not, I am tweaking some knobs on something physical. I do enjoy some of the benefits of software. In particular, the combination of analog gear with modern software production can be lethal in my opinion. Although at the end of the day, it truly does boil down to the mind behind the music. I know people with the most elaborate analog synth collections ever who can barely finish a tune... in addition to folks that only have software but still manage to convey something compelling.

How would you describe your sound to people who might not have seen you play?

Strident, jarring, mechanized futurism interspersed with glimpses of fleeting joy and beauty.

How are you feeling about coming down to play for us at the fabric birthday?
It is an honor and frankly a dream come true. It feels downright surreal to be quite honest.


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