with DOM LAWSON of
Okay. Dom, you are one member of the band Matter, tell me who else is in the band and what you all do?
I'm the singer, although I use the term loosely, and I write all the lyrics. With a pen. Then there's Gav Rushman, who plays guitar and smokes a lot of cheap fags, Jim Burt, who plays the drums in a manner akin to some kind of crazy octopus, and finally Jamie Perryman, the bass player, who ends up doing all the driving too because the rest of us are either (a) blind or (b) crap.
There may be people reading this who haven't had the experience of hearing any of your stuff, so could you please briefly describe your music.
That's a tricky one. Imagine, if you will, a mixture between nu-metal (and I'm thinking System Of A Down and Deftones, and not Limp twatting Bizkit or Papa Roach), sludge metal (Eyehategod, Iron Monkey) and something more fucked-up and grindcore orientated (Napalm Death, Meshuggah, Candiria)...
To augment this introduction, let's hear a concise history of the band, where you're from and how you all came to be together?
Half the band is from Lewes, a weird town just north of Brighton. The tramps drink Bailey's. Gav is a hardcore Brighton boy and I'm originally from Hemel Hempstead, but I moved to Brighton in 1994. The other three had been playing together for a couple of years before I joined. They'd had a lot of problems finding a vocalist and were going slowly mad... then a mutual friend recommended me to them, and Jim came to see me play bass & scream in my old band (No Legs). Evidently he liked what he heard and gave me a tape of some instrumental tracks and asked if I fancied trying out for the band. I listened to the tape, thought it was fucking ace and called him straight back. The rest is, as they say, history.
What major factors does this band possess, which can make you stand apart from many others in the metal scene?
Personally I don't think we've got anything in common with the general morass of baseball-cap wearing, rappy nonsense that seems so popular at the moment. We don't sound American, for a start, and neither do we wish to. We're far more extreme, technical and original than 99% of what's around at the moment. I think we fit in quite nicely with the likes of Raging Speedhorn, Defenestration, earthtone9, Medulla Nocte and Charger - bands with a bit of individuality and intelligence, who aren't making some calculated attempt to tap into any particular scene. We don't sound like this because we planned it that way, it just so happens that this is the noise we make. And it's fucking great. We don't have melodies (tried that, but I can't sing properly) so it's a case of combining big, sick, groovy riffs with clicky, technical drumming and nasty-as-fuck screechy vocals.
Have you blokes recorded any material, demos, promos or releases? If so, what are they and where would someone find them?
We've recorded one half of a mini-album with Dave Chang...four tracks ('Bloated', 'Alpha', 'Bad Loser' and 'Spastic')...and will be recording the rest of it in the next couple of months. We're working on new songs at the moment...titles so far include 'Megalith', 'Hammer', 'Stabbed' and 'Arsonist'. We're pretty generous when it comes to dishing out copies of the first four tracks...now we're releasing it properly - through Undergroove Records - we'll be less generous, but if people ask us really nicely we might sort them out. Otherwise you'll just have to wait until the mini-album comes out. Either that or come and see us live. Go on, you know you want to. There's nothing on the Internet yet, but there will be soon enough...
Are there any releases coming up in the future that we should be looking forward to?
See above, but we also plan to record a full-length album within the next year. Also, our mini-album should feature a special guest or two, possibly including our mate Paul Catten from Medulla Nocte. He is a vocal mentalist, so he'll fit in very well.
I have to ask this one. So, what major musical influences are there in the band? What influences find their way into the music of Matter?
The strange thing is, we don't agree on much when it comes to music. I suppose there's a few bands we more or less agree on - Candiria, Soundgarden, Deftones, Medulla Nocte - and a whole load more that one, two or three of us like. Personally, my biggest influences are Napalm Death, Candiria, Black Sabbath, Iron Monkey and Discharge. I also love power metal bands like Nevermore and Iced Earth, but clearly the rest of the band think I'm a twat as a result. It's a fair point.
Switching to live performances, you have just finished a series of dates on the Nu-Titans tour with various other bands, how did it go? What were the crowd reactions like and how much did you enjoy it?
We've had a great time, mainly because we've been playing with Defenestration, who are a fucking great new band. I predict that they will be massive very soon. We got on really well with them, and Locus who also played most of the same dates, and we all sank more than a couple of recreational Kronenbourgs along the way. Sadly, the gigs haven't been promoted terribly well as far as I can see, and so attendance's were, at best, crap. Those who saw us seemed to dig what we were doing, but playing to twenty people is not my idea of a great night out. It was worth doing, and we got shitfaced on a regular basis so we're not complaining, but it was a bit expensive, driving around the country to play to a handful of people. Still, you live and learn...
Who would you say is the best new band out there at the moment? What bands have you toured with that have really made an impression on you, firstly as people and secondly with their music?
Well, Defenestration spring to mind. They're splendid, and a refreshing change from all the rap-metal wannabes...another band we really like are Severance, who are also from Brighton. They're really different and exciting. As people, Defenestration are ace. Best of all, though, were Medulla Nocte. We played a few shows with them and had a blast. Top geezers, a fucking amazing live band and they seem to like us too, which helps.
What are the future touring plans for Matter?
More gigs later this year, hopefully with Defenestration and Medulla Nocte. We may be playing an all-dayer in Kettering in May, with Napalm Death...I'm shitting myself about that one...and hopefully a few shows with Severance along the way. We'd like to hook up with Charger at some point as well...again, they're top geezers. We don't want to kill ourselves with hundreds of gigs, though. Frankly, we smoke far too much to be arsed, but gigs with other cool bands are a must.
Okay, drawing the interview to a close, let's hear your comments about one or more wider topics. I know from experience that there is very little coverage of Matter on the Internet, do you plan to have a website for the band? Is it something that interests you or bores the shit out of you?
Once we've got definite plans for the mini-album, there will be a Matter website, probably going through the Undergroove Records site. A friend of mine is going to knock it up for us. I imagine it will be simple and not drenched in all that Flash and Shockwave bollocks. We're a band, not a role-playing association, so I don't feel the need to get all smart-arsed about it. We'll stick some music up, the lyrics and a tour diary and all that kind of shite. Should be mildly exciting.
How do you think that mp3s and the Internet have effected rock music?
Not as much as people would have you believe, but the future is in there somewhere. It's great that the major labels are getting fucked up the shitpipe, and obviously MP3s make it a lot easier for new bands to get their music to people. Eventually it'll be ruined by corporate scum, but then that's capitalism for you. Generally it's better to do things yourself, even if it costs you more in the short-term, so MP3s are a relatively cheap way to go...
What things do you bloke's do when you aren't involved with the band? What jobs, hobbies and what do you do for fun, etc?
I work for Kerrang!...moving swiftly on...Jim & Jamie work for Lewes council (I think) and Gav is occupationally challenged at the moment. I can't speak for the others, but when I'm not doing something to do with music, I'm usually asleep or eating. A combination of getting stoned, watching the footie (up the Hammers!) and drinking heavily would seem to be an accurate description of an average evening. I read a lot too. Books, magazines, toilet walls, whatever.
Finally, being based in Brighton, what do you prefer, a mature lady with a perm and purple rinse or a well-equipped donkey?
Quite happy with my lovely girlfriend, thank you very much. Mind you, some of the donkeys in Brighton will suck your balls through the end of your cock. Seriously.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
Just that we're the fucking dog's nuts. If you like heavy or extreme music, check us out. And buy us beer.
Dom, I would really like to thank you for your time and I wish you all the best in the future. Cheers.
No, thank you! It's been special. Salute!