Welcome to this week’s edition of Behind The Boards. Today, the marvelous maticulous sits behind the boards and in the hot seat. The Brooklyn producer and crafter of sound, is, well, meticulous in his attention to detail and the construction of intricate, symphony collages. maticulous leans toward the funky, and he assembles soundscapes that can sound as though they are outtakes from a Blaxploitation film from 1974, starring Richard Roundtree, and yet still feel contemporary.
maticulous has formed a fruitful partnership with fellow Brooklynite, Justo the MC, and the pair have released the excellent Mind of a Man, Bonus Room (Summer EP) and their latest collaboration, County of Kings. maticulous has also released two fine albums under his own moniker, The maticulous LP and The maticulous EP. The LP, from 2015, features maticulous manning production duties for a variety of A-list spitters, including Your Old Droog, Rah Digger, Guilty Simpson, Blu, Master Ace, and yU. On The EP, RA The Rugged Man, among others, shows up to lend a hand.
Quarantine got you down? Going a little stir crazy? See if you can identify the carefully chopped and built tracks on “On The Rise,” from Bonus Room (Summer EP). Don’t worry, Justo gives you a hint! Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to decipher the whole EP. Now get to work, but finish reading first.
Many phrases are thrown around about artists today. Some are described as slept on, criminally slept on, underrated, feloniously underrated, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada. You can use whatever adjectives or descriptors you like to describe artists who deserve more acclaim and attention. Separately, and with his partner in music, maticulous should be making more waves. Preemo? Finesse? Daringer? Alchemist? Roc? Buckwild? Dilla? Madlib? All outstanding cats, among the best at what they do. But, maticulous should be in that conversation, too. He proudly follows the traditions of hip hop from the County of Kings, while still blazing his own path to immortality in sound.
County of Kings is out digitally now. Purchase the vinyl version directly from maticulous here: https://maticulous21.bandcamp.com/album/county-of-kings Purchase The maticulous EP on vinyl here: https://maticulous21.bandcamp.com/album/the-maticulous-ep Better yet, buy two of each and give the extra wax to your granny. She’ll appreciate you as she never has before. Buy some for all your aunties, too. While you’re at it, throw in a couple for the cousins. They’ll stop making fun of you behind your back and look at you with new found respect. No doubt.
This interview with maticulous has been lightly edited for publication. Photo of maticulous credited to, maticulous!
Backseat Mafia: What inspired you to create music? What inspires you every day?
maticulous: Looking back, I think subconsciously I always had a curiosity for production, specifically hip hop. The moment when it clicked, that I wanted to pursue it, was after hearing Like Water For Chocolate by Common. It’s a perfect record with a diverse, yet cohesive sound. All the artists who created that album are some of my biggest influences…Preemo, Dilla, Soulquarians. Daily inspirations would be sounds, songs, moods, and art in general. I’ve realized inspiration has to come naturally, though; if I force things, 9 times out of 10 I’m not going to like what I made.
BSM: Where is your favorite or usual place to work/create?
mat: I like to work at my studio set up in my apartment best…I also really like working on a plane/train, if there’s enough time to really let my mind free.
BSM: Are you a crate digger? Where is your favorite place to dig? What was your greatest find?
mat: Definitely, aren’t all beatmakers? Haha! There’s nothing like digging, whether it’s just for adding to the collection or finding joints to sample. I like to go anywhere there’s a dollar bin. It’s challenging and you can find a lot of sources that some have over looked. My greatest finds are always things I didn’t expect to see at that cost and in that condition. A couple that come to mind are the white vinyl version of the Pete Rock remix of Public Enemy’s “Shut Em Down”, E-Rule “Listen”, the heart-shaped 7″ of Bobby Caldwell ‘s “What You Won’t Do For Love”, and the bootleg version of Slum Village Fantastic Vol. 2. That record has a backdrop of NYC and they’re from Detroit! I don’t really stay up on how much records are worth, but I was really happy to find those at the time I did.
BSM: What is your preferred music production software?
mat: I’ve been using [Avid Technology’s] Pro Tools since I started making music, along with plug-ins that I’ve added along the way. I hear great things about Ableton and its capabilities, and I’ll probably check it out at some point.
BSM: What is your favorite piece of audio gear/instrument and why?
mat: The [Akai] MPC2000XL. That machine was really how I learned to make music and I feel like I have a band with me creating the track, as opposed to just one person pushing pads. Oftentimes, especially when you’re a beginner, the beats have a tendency to feel stiff, especially the drum programming and arrangements. I love programming basslines on that machine too!
BSM: What is the one-non-musical item that you must have with you when you are working?
mat: A beverage of some sort…seltzer, coffee, beer…all depends on the time of day and my mood!
BSM: What track/album work are you most proud of? Why?
mat: I’m proud of all my releases because of how much goes into each process, whether it’s my producer albums The maticulous EP & LP, Mind Of A Man or instrumental projects. With everything that’s going on in the world in terms of reform, social change, and acknowledgment that we have A LOT to do to make the world a better place, I’m very proud of the track “Shut Up & Rap” that my brother, Justo The MC, penned. It’s a beautiful statement on society as a whole.
BSM: Dream artist or artists to work with?
mat: Black Thought, Andre 3000, Anderson .Paak.
BSM: Favorite artist or artist you admire or influenced you the most?
mat: J Dilla, DJ Quik, DJ Premier, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye.
BSM: Favorite music to listen to when relaxing or chilling?
mat: It all depends on my mood. 70s Soul, Jazz or Yacht Rock keep me the most chill though.
BSM: Dog or cat?
mat: Dog. Cats are cool but they always look like they are judging you, haha! Plus, cat hair kills my allergies…
BSM: Upcoming project(s)? Plugs for new stuff? Shout outs?
mat: Justo and I just released “County Of Kings”, which is available on Limited Edition Vinyl via Bandcamp and all digital services. It is most certainly our best work. Please check that out if you like quality bars and beats. We have another video/single coming very soon. I’d especially like to shout out everyone who’s been rocking with me and supporting my music by purchase or word of mouth. Also, thank you to ALL the DJs who play my music! DJ Premier, DJ Eclipse, DJ Riz, and DJ Rhettmatic…always humbled when those that have inspired me support what I create. Shout to my brother Justo The MC as well…we have a lot of music coming in the future!