[EXCLUSIVE] Interview with Black Matter
Last week I had the distinct privilege to cover the Designer Drugs and Black Matter show at Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago, IL. As is my usual, I go straight to the bar for a stiff drink and begin mingling with all my fellow music lovers, asking people what they’re into at the moment and just generally striking up small talk. How lucky for me that one of these conversations turned out to be with none other than Jesse Jamz, aka Black Matter.
Black Matter was the first initiated member of Sex Cult and is currently on tour with the rowdy crew, tearing down houses with their aggressive electro/dubstep sets. Black Matter combines multiple dance genres to create a sound that is undeniably catchy. He sips moscato, eats birds’ blood, and smokes the future. I had the opportunity to sit down with Black Matter for a few minutes before his set to chat with him about the Sex Cult Initiation Tour, the electronic music movement, and spirit animals. Check it out below.
Listen while you read:
Black Matter: What’s up. This is Black Matter from Sex Cult Records.
The Sights and Sounds: You’re currently on tour with Designer Drugs for the Sex Cult Initiation Tour. How has the experience been for you so far?
Black Matter: It’s been good so far. I mean, we’re still early on in the tour. But I usually play with Designer Drugs a bit and it’s always a good time.
The Sights and Sounds: This is the second stop of the tour. You played the night before in Cleveland, how was your show there?
Black Matter: It was good… a lot of fun.
The Sights and Sounds: What is your favorite city to play in?
Black Matter: In the states, I would say San Francisco. It’s super dope.
The Sights and Sounds: And how about out of the states?
Black Matter: Edmonton, Canada is really good. And Seoul, Korea.
The Sights and Sounds: What have you been working on besides touring?
Black Matter: A lot of new music. I just released my first original track, so that was cool. Designer Drugs and I also just did a collaboration track called “Double Vision.” We just released it as promo for the tour.
The Sights and Sounds: What is the story behind that song?
Black Matter: Well after I finished the rough draft I showed it to Mike (from Designer Drugs) and he really liked it. Then he had the idea to get Vortex to rap on it. So then Mike got all the vocals done and just really made all the sounds a lot bigger. After we finished all the writing and arranging, Mike and Tom (from PLS DNT STP) mixed it down and mastered it.
The Sights and Sounds: So what’s the next project you’re working on now?
Black Matter: I’m working on a lot of new, original stuff. I probably have 7 or 8 new tracks in the works. I’ve been thinking about doing an EP or a small album, but I think I’m going to go the single route. You know, put out a new single every month or two. That way I think I can keep the momentum going. I have some remixes coming out too.
The Sights and Sounds: Who are your inspirations? Who do you like to listen to for inspiration for your sounds?
Black Matter: As far as newer producers go, I really like Afrojack a lot. His new track called “Vancouver” is super dope. It isn’t out yet, but he’s been playing it a lot in his sets. I like Bart B More a lot, too. Daft Punk will always be one of my favorites of all time.
The Sights and Sounds: How would you describe your sound?
Black Matter: I mean, my sound is kind of like mixing the heavy, heavy electro with some more dutchy electro sounds. So I think that’s kind of a cool combination. And actually you’ll hear that in the “Double Vision” track with Designer Drugs. There are really heavy parts and then there’s groovy, dutchy parts.
The Sights and Sounds: Here’s a question I like to ask a lot of musical artists. Time not being an issue, who is the one artists that you would most like to collaborate with?
Black Matter: If it was anyone, it would be Daft Punk for sure. I mean, they’re the best.
The Sights and Sounds: So, if I stole your iPod, which I wouldn’t do, of course; who would I find you listening to?
Black Matter: Well, it’s kind of weird, because I used to carry around a big 60GB iPod that had everything on it. But now it’s usually stuff on my phone. So it’s a lot of dance stuff like Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Alesso, Swedish House Mafia, stuff like that. And then there’s also some chill stuff, too. I really like this band called The Big Pink. There’s another band called The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, that I really like. And then I really like a lot of chill instrumental or down tempo like Sigur Ros and Air.
The Sights and Sounds: How do you feel about the Chicago music scene?
Black Matter: I’ve been playing in Chicago since 2008, at a lot of different clubs, and it’s usually always pretty good. I think the scene is kind of interesting here, though. I feel like it’s very segregated in a way. You have your hipster kind of clubs, and then you have your real clubby kind of clubs, but i think the scene is doing pretty well. I feel like it went through a little lull, but now it’s back on top again.
The Sights and Sounds: What’s your take on the whole electronic music scene moving more and more into mainstream audiences?
Black Matter: To me, the more popular it gets, the better. People can sit around and hate on David Guetta and shit like that, but I love it. I think it’s awesome. The more it’s in the mainstream, the better. It’ll be better for all of us. And I mean, if it’s not your thing, that’s fine. But hopefully it lasts. In other countries, dance music is a staple. People grow up with it and it’s always around. Whereas in America, it goes through it’s trends of being popular and then not. But I think the way things are going right now is good. If you listen to any of the top 40 tracks and take out the vocals, it sounds like some hard electro track or something.
The Sights and Sounds: If you could be any spirit animal, what would you pick and why?
Black Matter: [Laughing] I don’t know why, but I’ve always had an obsession with penguins. I just like how they look, I guess. I especially like the tiny ones, not necessarily the King penguins, but I think the little tiny ones are pretty cool.
The Sights and Sounds: I appreciate you spending a little time with me before your performance. I can’t wait to hear your set. What song are you looking to amp the crowd up with?
Black Matter: I don’t know. But I am going to play a new track of mine that I haven’t played before. I don’t know how to describe it because it doesn’t have any vocals, and I don’t have a name for it yet. [He Laughs] So it’s an untitled track, and we’re going to see how it goes.
The Sights and Sounds: Thanks again for answering some questions with us. Have an awesome time on stage.
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