Canadian-born producer Mathew Jonson is one of the more virtuosic and boldly innovative figures of contemporary techno. Boasting a masterful and nuanced command of electronic studio production, early breakthrough tracks like "Decompression", released on Richie Hawtin's Minus label, earned Jonson worldwide acclaim as a producer in the early 2000s, when he staked his pivotal role in the burgeoning minimal techno scene.
His experimental forays into jazz and live electronic improvisation have led to genre-bending collaborative work with The Modern Deep Left Quartet and Cobblestone Jazz, and as co-founder of Berlin's esteemed Wagon Repair label, he continues to impact the sound of international techno as both a producer and cutting-edge tastemaker.
Mr. Jonson will be performing live this Friday night at the Electric
Pickle, along with resident DJ Will Renuart, and LINK residents
Danyelino and Simon Wish. Crossfade had a chance to catch up with the man on his way back from a summer date in Ibiza and headed for the Americas. Read our Q&A with him after the jump.
New Times: You are a prolific musician and producer who has been
very musically active since childhood. How did you first get into music?
Jonson: I come from a music-oriented family, so we were always
surrounded by all kinds of musical instruments. I picked up drumming
when I was 7, in a marching band, so that was probably the first time I
took an instrument more seriously. After that I started in with
classical piano when I was 10.
As a solo producer you
are highly-regarded for your intense individualist vision, but you have
also worked successfully in collaboration with other producers and
musicians, most notably for The Modern Deep Left Quartet. How does
working in a band compare with working alone for you?
Right now we are doing a Cobblestone Jazz album. It has the same
members as MDLQ. There is a different feeling when you get a bunch of
your friends in the studio. Everyone brings their own ideas and
experience as musicians to the table. For instance, with Cobblestone we
have Daneul Tate, who is an accomplished jazz player on the Rhodes and
You are known to be an avid lover of analog,
owning a formidable hardware studio where you produce all your music.
Do you strictly use only analog equipment for production, and if so,
why? How do you feel about software-based music production tools and
what (if any) part do they play in your work?
MJ: I love the
sound of analog equipment mainly because you are hearing a
round-sounding oscillator rather than a digital waveform, which is made
up of squares. There is always room for digital sounds too, though they
just have a different purpose. When it comes to anything in the bass
frequencies, for me it has to be analog.
Tell us about
relocating to Berlin, why you made the move and what role that city has
played in your experiences and development as an artist and a techno
MJ: I moved to Berlin because there is a good
music scene there and I have lots of friends that I can collaborate
with. It's also a great place to do A&R for my record label Wagon
We are very excited to have you in Miami and are
looking forward to the live Mathew Jonson experience, considering the
complex and cutting-edge quality of your records. What can you tell us
about your live M.O.?
MJ: I bring a fair bit of gear with
me when I play, Usually a TR909, SH101, Machinedrum, 32 channel mixer,
effects, etc. I write all the drums live and mix between parts from the
studio and my records. All the parts are separated so my shows can have
a new sound every time.
What does the future have in store for Mathew Jonson?
A Cobblestone Jazz album, and a new EP entitled "Ghosts in the AI" will
be out soon. I'll be traveling to Tampa after Miami, then Burning Man
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festival. From there I go to Lima, Peru, and then Medellin, Colombia.
Mathew Jonson at the Electric Pickle, Friday, August 29, 2009, 10 p.m.-5 a.m. 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami.