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In 1906, an American inventor named Lee De Forest was tinkering in his Council Bluffs, Iowa workshop when he accidentally created an electronic amplification device that could detect radio signals. De Forest wasn't exactly sure what he had come up with; in fact, he had to have others explain to him how it worked. But his discovery — radio — would literally change the whole wide world.
A year later, he promised to one day blare from the rooftop of New York's Metropolitan Opera House. And in 1910, De Forest did just that, transmitting the voice of Enrico Caruso into some very thin air.
The actual device he created was called the Audion, and it's from here that avant-popist Matthew Dear has cribbed his latest pseudonym. Like the inventor of his namesake, Audion the producer has wildly futuristic visions — in fact, he seems bent on reinventing electronic music.
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You know Matthew Dear as a DJ and producer, and through his releases on his pioneering Ghostly International imprint, as well as its sister label, Spectral Sound. But Dear is more chameleonic and more omnipresent than that.
When Dear is not Dear, he's known as False, and has seven releases to prove it. When he's not False, he's Jabberjaw, and recording for Frankfurt's Perlon label. And when he's not any one of those three, he's Audion, whose breakout track "Mouth to Mouth" stormed international dance floors.
New Times got with the many-minded mood-swinger to see who's who and what's what.
New Times: Okay, Matthew Dear, Audion, False, Jabberjaw — sounds a little schizo. Just who are you anyway?
I like to try various directions of musical production. Sticking with just one style or one name, for that matter, would severely limit my potential output. There are so many different forms within electronic music, and spreading my music onto different aliases allows for more creativity.
Is there one skin under which you feel most comfortable?
I find comfort in each project. As myself, I can write structured songs, with lyrics, and overt melodies. As Audion, False, and Jabberjaw, I can concentrate more on the dance floor. Within each of these monikers, a different sound emerges as well.
What can WMC fans expect from your live show as Audion?
I've taken the first few months of this year to refocus in the studio, so I've got quite a bit of new material ready for the live show. This summer will see an extensive live tour, and Miami will be the beginning of live-testing a lot of the new music. Audion material has gotten more groove-oriented and deeper, but there are still many dark and abrasive elements to be shared.
Audion also just launched a monthly series of singles releases. What's the idea behind that?
I wanted to release constantly this year. We've just launched the first single on Audion.me. Listeners can sign up to receive the song for free and will be informed about future releases and project evolutions. I didn't release too much in 2008 as Audion, so I wanted 2009 to be a recentering of sorts. Using a consistent method of releasing will allow listeners to stay in touch with my music and its progression throughout the year.
What else is Matthew Dear up to these days?
I'm constantly working on new music under each alias. I've got the next album as Matthew Dear completed, as well as numerous tracks as Jabberjaw and False on the way. I tend to work in massive chunks of production, set up a slew of releases, and tour off of those releases for the following years. This cycle will continue until I run out of things to say with my music.