Monday, June 30, 2008

Matmos, Face Melting, Neon Clad Armies

This interview with Matmos was originally done in February via Baltimore based music blog Aural States.

For those not paying attention to everything Matmos, Drew Daniels (Matmos/The Soft Pink Truth) and his partner Martin Schmidt (Matmos) moved to Baltimore where Daniels had accepted a teaching position at Johns Hopkins University. (Plus the interview was done a block from my house! Whatever...)

AS- What are you impressions of Baltimore so far?

Martin- It’s forbidding because of its reputation, and it’s large and sprawling, and not very well laid out. But I’m speaking as a Californian. California has all been built, essentially since the 1960’s. So they have a great fondness for grids there, which makes a clear layout of the city, but also very dull.

Baltimore is really complicated because it is laid out more like a European city, which is to say fucking higgledypiggledy. It’s like a spider on acid weaved a web and they threw street names down on it. But, I think that I have been quit cowardly in that we moved into this house and I haven’t done a lot of exploring.

Drew- When I came here I was given a four-hour tour of the city by a Hopkins professor who teaches a class about Baltimore. He took me to Sandtown, and to the loading docks where the old dead industries used to be, and to all these different neighborhoods. It was kind of overwhelming.

To echo Martin, there is a longer history here, architecturally. There is so much brick, which you never see in California because of earthquakes. So you are just aware of this lumbering gothic mass of buildings, so many abandoned. Obviously you can’t cross Baltimore without seeing a lot of poverty, and predatory environments, and struggling people. That is certainly different from San Francisco, which is very much under going a Manhattanization.

Martin- Yeah, at the moment San Francisco is on fire. I lived there for 22 years and it wasn’t always like that, but it was never as low as Baltimore is now.

Drew- I love Baltimore. I’ve sort of been frustrated and confused by its physical layout. We came back
from a show in California in two in the morning, in the pouring rain, and thought that Franklin was a two-way street driving the wrong way straight into traffic. This cop pulled out of nowhere.

Martin- And this was just in a bad neighborhood.

Drew- Yea it was gnarly. I thought “man we’re so fucked.” The guy took one look at our California plates, and the equipment in the car. The cop was like “what the hell is wrong with you guys? What are you doing?”

continues here...

I guess the whole reason for digging this up is that they will be playing live in Baltimore at the Charles Theater as a part of Whartscape. For those of you not from Baltimore, Whartscape is the anti-thesis of Artscape (think lame touring acts, bad djs, and craft fair style art), and created by the folks over at Wham City, a collective of artists who have garnered national attention for what can best be described an acid soaked wild west meets warehouse neon raves with ironic overtones that could choke a baby elephant to death. I'll let you come to your own conclusions though.

Whartscape takes place at 5 different locations in Baltimore City July 17-20th featuring over 50 different acts including Matmos, Black Dice, Beach House, Mark Hosler (Negativland), WZT Hearts, and much much more.

Visit Aural States for full lineup and schedule.

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