MATT HART has been crafting his own science fiction world with music, over the last few years. A dystopian world, visited by alien machines whom have no interest in terms of peace but rather to overrun the planet and rid it of the human vermin. The machines lower the temperature to suit their needs and force the original inhabitants to burrow into the very ground to escape the tyranny and also keep warm as a global ice age ensues.
This brings us to BELOW THE TERRA PT.1, the latest of HART’s album releases, which follows the human’s plight as they scramble to ensconce themselves deep underground, though this is surviving, is it living? The three singles that have so far been lifted, give you a good gist of what this album is about but also a feel for the general earth crackling ambiance in the thumping rhythms, bristling electronics and, of course, HART’s howling, gravelly and often defiant vocals.
Techno married to an angst ridden industrial abrasiveness, each track telling its part of the story, such as “THE LAST RAVE” which is the humans coming to terms that their numbers are dwindling and this might be the last hurrah or “TO THE CORE“, where humanity is digging to escape and the machines can be heard in their triumph. All extremely catchy and very dance floor friendly but I noticed this album has less of a guitar influence and a lot more synth. Why may you ask? Well, I did just that, plus a few other burning issues…..and a word to all aliens, don’t mess with MATT HART because he will totally fuck you up, stone cold….
Welcome to the rabbit hole MATT HART, our domain. In case of alien robot attack, the exits are here —>, <—-here and under the dining table.
Matt, you are a pretty busy guy. Your paying day job is a musician, you have DJ’ed at London’s Slimelight Club amongst others, you have your own Twitch DJ channel, recording and playing live gigs. How do you fit all this in and do you like to be this busy?
Honestly, I’ve no idea how I fit it all in! I’ve got a lot of energy and so I guess keeping this busy is a good way to burn it all off, but I definitely know how to relax too. On the promotional side, my awesome wife helps massively with that – networking, sending my music out, keeping my bio and FB updated. She’s highly organized and I’m a complete creative, so it’s a good balanced system we got going. Also, with my job, I’m travelling on a coach/train often so that gives me opportunity to put my headphones on, turn my laptop on and just plug in and write. Some of my favourite tracks came from using “on the road” hours to focus.
So talking about recording, your new album BELOW THE TERRA PT. 1 is a corker! How long do you think it took you to write and record it?
Thank you! BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 took around a year to write, in a slow process as stated above – about grabbing time here and there while travelling. All the other busy hasn’t allowed me to write much faster! That said, when I’m on a roll I can write a track in a few days! It’s just getting that space time to do it! Hmmm, guess that gives me some food for thought, if I cut all the other busy things out, just think how quickly I could get music done! But, but, I do love the other things I do too, balance, right!
Do you find song creation an easy thing or would you say that you find it a painful process at times?
It’s generally easy. I have quite a good template process that I can dive into and start creating quickly, however, sometimes writers block does strike and I just can’t get anything down. When this happens, I know to just walk away and give myself some time. Stepping away from something gives you opportunity to gain fresh perspective on it. I’ve also found a great way to get past a hurdle is to work on someone else’s music, so I really enjoy doing remixes for that reason.
BELOW THE TERRA PT. 1 is part of a much bigger storyline. Can you tell us about this apocalyptic tale you have envisaged?
Technically, BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 is a sequel to my album TERRA 3808 (Nov 2019), which was about the war on the machines. This album, BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 is about humanity surviving in the icy wastelands of 3808 and below the machine overlords on the surface. Being as this is a PT.1… there’s going to be more to the story, just not sure what that will encompass as yet.
Have you always been a big fan of science fiction?
Yes, as far as I remember, I have. I love the Matrix and the Terminator movies. I think I watched the Matrix so many times I wore out the vhs! I’m particularly interested in machine worlds, and how/what that means for humanity. Could we survive, are we headed to that future? Machines already run so much of our lives, and there’s different ways to measure the positive/negative aspects of that. I’m also a huge fan of the Halo world: books, game etc and definitely the visuals – you can likely see that in my album artwork a bit.
Industrial music lends itself so well to this genre, do you think that is another reason you are compelled to perform this style?
I was always a fan of heavy metal and industrial metal but I think as I started clubbing in London I was influenced by the harder dance floor sounds of EBM and dark electro and found myself gravitating in this direction more strongly. Being able to write and perform industrial music, basically as a solo artist (though I have an excellent live guitarist Jerome Badoux) has allowed me to have control over the whole process. The bonus of creating without hardware, provides a different type of freedom — will mention again about all my travel, so this works for me. That said, I regularly record the guitar parts and wouldn’t give up any of my guitars hanging on the wall – I just don’t use them as often as had done in previous years. Sharp edge sounds and aesthetic, what’s not get onboard with!
This album seems to less guitar based and becoming more electronic focused. Was this a conscious thing because the machines have taken over?
Haha! Great observation and comment, but no, it was driven from a place of not having my guitars readily available to me, during a lot of the writing process for BELOW THE TERRA PT.1. Writing solely on a laptop allowed for the focus more on the electronic elements. However that’s a really interesting point that I hadn’t really thought about! I was also wondering that since the humans have spent all their time simply working to survive and get away, that they too in a way have become machines, shadows of their former selves in the current situation…… Society certainly has become less of a military faction and more of a resourceful entity but there is definitely still humanity residing inside them. It’s actually a theme I’ve been batting around for writing new stuff, and in another vein, that as they band together that their humanity actually becomes stronger, as they actively work together.
Which track off the album did you enjoy recording the most and why?
To be honest I really loved what I did with LAST RAVE! I set out to write a heavy club track and I totally feel I achieved what I was going for. I had it in mind that I wanted it to include guitars as well, as I’d intended for it to be done live with my guitarist, Jerome – so it has an extra heavy chug chug sound to it. It was just fun writing a classic rave-centric track that was heavy at the same time. Am also quite pleased with the video produced for the track. It’s footage from appearances at Elektro Vox and Resistanz festivals, both in April 2022, London and Sheffield respectively and premiered on Communion After Dark – wowza, right! If you want a glimpse of the kind of energy I bring to a stage, it’s a good video to watch. It’s up on my YouTube >>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1VrlDE2gaDJJJfMjGqo4UQ/videos
Covid is such a bugbear for live music currently. Are you doing or going to be performing live shows?
So, since the UK came out of lockdown I’ve had a few gigs/festivals as noted above and recently I opened for Leaether Strip in London and the weekend of 9 th July, I performed at a post-apocalyptic festival a could hours outside of London called Road 2 Ruin. Talk about a fitting environment for me! Wasteland crew and fire, it was incredible. Up next, in chats about a small gig in Scotland in August, tying that into some holiday time up there. But I really want to start putting some good focus into writing new music for the next album…… I’m really pleased with how tracks from BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 fit into my live set though, heavy, driving and really danceable – great elements to a gig!
You did a brilliant remix on Simon Carter & Fabsi’s new album and you have been popping up as a guest mixer on many other tracks. Who else have you remixed recently and is this one of those things that makes you really happy?
I do really enjoy doing remixes. Sometimes it’s the perfect break from your own music too. To be honest, I’m not a fan of recording vocals so when I get someone else’s vocals on a track to remix I jump at it! I love reconstructing other bands tracks and making them different, often giving them a more dance floor sound. Recent ones out are the Synapsyche “Silvertongue feat Danial Graves” and the Antibody “I Don’t Understand” remixes! Haven’t seen this done by anyone else (so feel quite innovative about it), but I’ve got a page on my Bandcamp where I list all the remixes I’ve done (a compilations page too). Think it’s a great way to cross-promote and the list of artist names I’ve worked with is impressive and I’m proud to have worked with them. There’s more I’ve done, that haven’t been released as yet — but watch that page, things just waiting in the wings
Your world is invaded by crazy alien robots and the only way to stop them is by being the ultimate DJ and up loading a song into their collective hive mind. What do you up load and why?
John Cage – 4’33. Don’t give them anything to feed off. Just silence.
What is in the future for MATT HART?
As I said I have a few MATT HART remixes for other artists to come out and I have the first remix from BELOW THE TERRA PT.1 coming out very soon… ABSOLUTE ZERO (ROTERSAND classic ride rework) releases 26 th July, 2022. This is a real banger, it’s entered the DAC (that’s the Deutsche Alternative Charts https://www.deutsche-alternative-charts.de/) at position 4 and that’s mega mega!
Pre-save = https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/matthart/absolute-zero-rotersand-classic-ride-rework-rotersand-remix
Pre-order = streaming services, iTunes etc
Order = https://matthart.bandcamp.com (on 26/07/2022)
I’m also looking to release some more original material before the end of the year as well! Keeping busy – you know it!
Thanks Matt and we know the Rotersand mix of “Absolute Zero” is going to be a killer dance thriller.
BELOW THE TERRA PT. 1 | MATT HART (bandcamp.com)
ONYX / DEL —- wow, wow, wow —- thank you so much for your time with this brilliant interview, review and announcement, so very appreciate your interest. Let’s forge on in 3808, together we can dance through the challenges.
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It’s a cracker and thank you for the interview. Music is binding and is the spark of life and hope where there is none…. plus dance like it’s your last day always.