Date : 18th June, 2016 // MetalRulz comes up with their first interview in the INTERVIEWS section. Here we showcase a very young and talented metal bass player MICHAEL MATHER from Seattle, Washington, U.S.
MetalRulz in conversation with Michael Mather :
MetalRulz – As a child what kind of music did you grow up listening to?
Michael Mather – I remember always being really diverse in my taste for music and didn’t really find myself much into metal music until my early teen years. I came across bands like Slipknot, which was really only the beginning of discovering great bands and ultimately becoming obsessed with this style of music.
From there I got into death and black metal which, believe it or not, inspired my earliest of demo releases. I was intrigued by the darkness of the music and the feeling that I got when I listened to it.
As a songwriter and a bassist, I have found that it has been beneficial to be a bit more open with what I listen to. It’s amazing to be able to play death metal, but then go to some jazz tunes as well. I take inspiration from just about all styles of music. It has not only enhanced my ability to play better, but to have a better understanding of songwriting.
MetalRulz – Who are the artists that inspired you to play bass?
Michael Mather – Like many bass players in their early days, Cliff Burton was my first hero. I would watch videos of him for hours and a lot of the time I had seen the videos countless times before. I would get home from school, pickup the bass and imitate what he did clear into the night, long after I should have been asleep.
Later I would discover jazz greats such Steve Bailey, Tony Grey and Jaco Pastorius who pushed me to do even more. My stepfather would play something new on the way to school every morning and that exposed a lot of new music to me. As a songwriter himself, he made all of his guitars and basses available for me to use and maybe even abuse. My mother is also a poet and with her work, she also inspires me.
MetalRulz – Any composition of yours, which is very close to your heart & why?
Michael Mather – If I had to pick just one, it would be “I just came to say goodbye”. But every song I have ever written has had a meaning that I have held very close to me because it all comes from the heart and soul otherwise it’s just not worth sharing.
MetalRulz – In Heavy Metal, do you think that having a very treble sound may contribute to bassists being turned down?
Michael Mather – As a lover of metal, there is nothing quite like being able to hear those growling lows and aggressive highs. Unfortunately, we have all heard it before, where you can hear loud distorted guitars, the loud drums and then at the very bottom of the mix, you can’t really hear the bass, but you can feel it. The only real presence the bass guitar has, is an aggressive ‘click’ sound from his/her right hand technique and overuse of those treble frequencies. There isn’t really any note of articulation, but you can automatically assume that he or she is playing the notes along with the guitars.
My biggest concern with this is not having the note articulation. Having a flat EQ and simply cutting out frequencies can make your tone sound natural which I have found works best for being audible. Let your hands do the work of the tone you want and set your EQ to compliment what your hands are doing. Naturally, you will find yourself more audible.
MetalRulz – Are there any other instruments besides bass guitar you can play?
Michael Mather – I started off playing a wide variety of instruments. Bass was my first love, but have had a passion for music as a whole my entire life. Piano, drums, classical and electric guitar. Aside from bass, classical guitar and piano are also a love of mine.
MetalRulz – You started off composing New Age and now have digressed to Ambient/Post-Rock music. Your thoughts …
Michael Mather – I was a bit afraid at first to start going in a new direction. From new age, to ambient/post music wasn’t exactly a huge jump. However, with this new EP I am working on, it has a melodic progressive feel, which is quite a leap. As artists, we all change because we change as people too. I’m sure along the way, I will have many changes, but it is important for me to embrace it, no matter what conventional wisdom rings around the world. That’s the beauty of art, there are — at least there should not be any rules against embracing the journey of change/growth.
MetalRulz – Michael, you have released 3 albums till date : Welcome Home (November 20, 2015), Asterion (released October 20, 2015), Soundscape Cinema (released December 24, 2013). Tell us about your journey as a musician and how your music has evolved over these years.
Michael Mather – Tale of the First Great Journey was my first release and it was entirely about my future and what I would go on to do. It was my introduction to the world of music and publishing my ‘thoughts’ if you will. Tale, Welcome Home & Soundscape Cinema were entirely recorded in my bedroom while living with my parents.
Some parts of Asterion were actually recorded outdoors and I also plan to do the next EP this way!
MetalRulz – You were part of a band for one year but were booted out recently. Can you share your experience with us?
Michael Mather – For me, it was an amazing year. It was weird to be a part of something for the first time where I got to see us all grow together as musicians. We all learned together. We wrote together. We struggled together. At the time, I had no idea how much we were just a part of something that would benefit us not just collectively for the sake of the band, but also individually. This could have only been achieved with the experience of being part of a band.
It was a lot of fun, even though there were a lot of twists and turns along the way. Truly, we all made sincere sacrifices, some members more than others, but the reward was the same. I stuck through it though, until it was time to go, and for that, I have learned so much. And I am grateful that it once was.
MetalRulz – What is the road ahead Michael, do you plan to go solo or will be joining a band soon?
Michael Mather – Since I have been out of that band, I have traveled all over western Washington to meet up with a lot of different players. There has been so many upcoming great musicians, that it has been hard to be honest with myself regarding whether or not something may be right for me. I am taking my time because I really want to be in a band for many years down the road. Whether this happens with my next band or not, I am always working on a project.
As for solo stuff, I continue to put that first place without exception.
MetalRulz – Any new stuff you are working right now and any new releases planned this year?
Michael Mather – Within the next month or two, I am planning a release and couldn’t be happier with it. It will definitely be a bit more metal!
MetalRulz – Do you have any plans to perform in a gig very soon?
Michael Mather – I have gotten a few offers for gigs, but am currently working on an EP that I just don’t want to take time away from it.
MetalRulz – Our bloggers on MetalRulz would like to follow you on social websites. Let us know the social websites where you are active and your blog address.