We’re traversing the storm front of Jonson’s return to Australia this weekend so we’ve taken a few moments to catch up prior to landfall. From a young age of facilitating his curiosity via his fathers own interest in electronic music it slid into a deep field of glistening circuitry analysis. It laid the structures for Modern Deep Left Quartet & Cobblestone Jazz, the latter of which will be hosting an upcoming release this coming summer.
But the immediate threat and why we’re here – Adelaide will host the New Year Eve, Space Sydney will followup on the New Years Day as well as Melbourne’s ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ and closing in Wellington the following week. It’s been a while in between left field sonic battles but this should most certainly assimilate the most skeptical of observers.
Kn: It’s been a pretty busy year! Some projects have been given some serious attention, others not so much. Can you give us a brief on where you’re at in your own headspace and what you’re sidelining at the moment – where’s your energy going and why?
MJ: Ya I’m busy that’s for sure. I try and give as much attention to all of the projects but of course Cobblestone Jazz/Modern Deep Left Quartet are always priorities. The bands are close to having albums done for 2013. I think the Cobblestone Jazz album will come first before the summer. Ill be spending a lot more time with Midnight Operator and Minilogue in the future and Guy Gerber and I may do a few shows next year as well.
Kn: Mat the last time we caught up was when you played for us in Brisbane, 2009. How do you work and develop a live set so it generates it’s own uniqueness? Some do it better than others.
MJ: I don’t plan what I’m going to do I just play what feels right for the moment. Having gear on stage allows for writing new material live so that’s where things are the most interesting
Kn: Your sound has developed and mutated substantially since then and trends have risen and faded away around you. What’s your approach to finding something fresh that grabs your attention? (In the studio or otherwise)
MJ: The more I practice piano and educate myself about different musical theory be it from classical music or blues (what I’m starting at the moment) it seems that this is the best way to find inspiration. I’m a very emotional writer in the studio so if I can fuse that with better technique I think the music will always stay strong.
Kn: …whilst we’re talking about the things that have grabbed your attention. The bright lights and loud noises of Vancouver World Fair 1986 appears to have done just that so what was that all about? The sequence of events and what’d you end up doing directly afterwards to keep it all clear in your mind?
MJ: I was 8 so very impressionable at that age. The theme of the fair was communication and transportation. Technology was very much a part of my fathers interests and Expo 86 was one of the greatest sparks in mine. This trip was the inspiration and marked the beginning of my relationship with electronic music as there were many live acts performing using synthesizers and I was already a bit obsessed after my father bringing home synths from his work from time to time. Months after my family got its first synthesizer and sequencer as a way for me to learn classical piano and this with their support led the way to where I am today.
Kn: A lot of artists do lose touch with why they’re doing all of this in the first place, that’s no secret. What’s the consistent impetus inside you when everything seems to be sitting where it needs to be, or perhaps sometimes when it’s not?
MJ: Music is one of the many paths to enlightenment. In my experience music is the most powerful form of communication as it speaks to everyone regardless of language and dialect. It can be used to bring great social empowerment or also unfortunately take it away – like with a lot of pop music that is made to dull the senses and keep us shopping. Music can create peace or take us to war. It should be thought of with deep respect.
Mat plays –
DEC 31 – Cuckoo, Adelaide
JAN 01 – Space, Sydney
JAN 01 – Let Them Eat Cake, Melbourne
JAN 12 – Sandwiches, Wellington (NZ)