What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
(Tobias) I don’t know about the rest of the band, but for me I’ve always been into music - as a baby I’d tap back rhythms at the table, and I started piano lessons as soon as I could. If I hadn’t gotten into music maybe I’d be making some money by now, but I think I’d be a lot more miserable. I’d probably have gone deeper into some other art form, writing/painting/theatre, or otherwise be in languages or psychology (both of which often come into my music space).
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
(Tobias) I love being out in nature - my favourite ‘hobby’ is taking walks in the forest or at the beach. I find I need that space and rejuvenation to feed back into my music space - if I spent my life locked away in a studio, I’d go insane pretty quickly.
How long has your band been around?
Mattergy’s been around since 2016 - a lot of the time so far has been spent writing/collaborating, rehearsals and preparation and it’s only in the last year or 2 that we’ve taken things more public.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Most of the band are based in Riga, Latvia, whilst I’m (Tobias) based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. I think that blend of cultural influences and backgrounds adds something unique to our music - I’m really interested in the crossover of ‘clean & structured’ vs ‘raw, gritty, DIY’. Newcastle’s got a big industrial underground scene which has influenced my own music a lot and I try to bring that to the table. Riga in my eyes is a city of design, but there’s also such an interesting underbelly, so there’s the structured, planned, pre-determined, pristine element, with an underlying authenticity and rawness that I think’s inherent in the Latvian music scene.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
So, the band name’s Aigars’ dreaming. Mattergy is a fusion of the words ‘matter’ and ‘energy’, and it’s supposed to hint at the inseparable nature of the material and the energetic worlds - one can’t exist without the other.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
So far, we’ve not played live so much (mostly because of Covid). We recently had our album presentation concerts in Riga and Cēsis (also Latvia), which went amazingly! I think we were all extremely grateful for the response, especially considering we’d not played so much before. It was only us on the bill, so people were coming just to see us and both concerts were full!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
The shows we played recently were at Republika, Riga and Fonoklubs, Cēsis, both fantastic venues for metal music. There are some great smaller venues in Newcastle which I’d love for the band to come and play (Little Buildings, Cobalt, The Cluny). The long-term goal is to be playing larger venues and international festivals with this band, maybe Arēna Rīga or one of the UK Utilita Arenas - Wembley would be unreal!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
(Tobias) I’m a huge fan of cross-genre shows, so I’m gonna roll with that.
Let’s start out with an acoustic/solo artist:
Scroobius Pip or Kae Tempest doing a spoken word set
Then we start to lift things with some dancier artists:
I’m thinking SHUM, Dhakabrakha, or Olive Tree Dance,
Then Sibusile Xaba, Orchestra Baobab or Tal National come and show us the African way.
And we finish off with:
Mattergy featuring Latvian National Symphony Orchestra or Royal Northern Sinfonia (whoever’s available on the day). Kaia Lana (my newfound Spanish pop star obsession) joins for a duet and it’s the best moment ever.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
ENJOY IT!!! Have fun, explore, experiment, and no matter how many times you’re rejected or it doesn’t turn out how you expected, DON’T EVER STOP!!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Spend more time in the present, make the most of the opportunities you have but also just enjoy the ride - the mistakes you make now are all part of the magic unravelling.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
(Tobias) Tough question! For me I think it has to be ‘Lack of Water’. The words mean a lot to me, and I absolutely love singing it. It’s not necessarily the most emotional, but it’s really about deep commitment to self-development and self-respect, remembering not to worship false idols, and that it’s okay to take up space and work towards your potential! For me I know that’s a message that I have to keep coming back to.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
(Tobias) Like I say, I love singing Lack of Water, also Delight is an absolute delight to perform ;). Turbulence Unknown is the most listened to online, so I guess that would be the most requested.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
For the first album, Aigars wrote most of the music - all the songs and theme ideas were his first. I then jumped in and wrote lyrics and melodies over the structures he’d composed. Andris took the lead on the synth parts, and Ivars managed most of the recording/tech aspects. Ilvars created the visual artwork for the album and singles, so we’ve all had a creative influence in some way. For our work going forwards we hope to be more collaborative from the get-go, with each of us bringing song ideas and developing them as a unit. I can only speak for myself about inspiration - anything can be inspiration, but I guess the depth of it is wanting to create lasting beauty in the world. I’m inspired by the belief that we have power to change things, that social change is possible, that personal growth is possible, that the world can be a more loving, more connected, more nurturing environment.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I guess the answers to the last few questions cover this to some extent. I want to remind people that we are all-powerful, creative beings!
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Yes. We’re generally quite good at communicating when we have disagreements. We discuss them and we try to find a compromise - you can’t win every argument, and working as a group of 5, each with their own perspectives and unique ways of seeing the world, you can’t expect everyone to agree all the time! When I really feel strongly about something I’ll argue for it, and sometimes I’ll be right and convince the others of that, and sometimes if I take a step back I see that it’s maybe not actually that important, or that their way of seeing things is equally valid and adds a distinct creative mark to a song. The worst thing is to bottle things up and not say anything, that only leads to disaster long-term…
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’ve got a couple more gigs coming up this Spring/Summer. 28th May we’ll be in Rīga at Melnā Piektdiena (Black Friday), and 22nd June we’ll be playing at Saldus Saule 2022.
After that the focus will be working on a 2nd album and planning a tour for either late 2022 or 2023.