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Mat Riviere: New LP Track-By-Track
The Quietus , May 15th, 2013 09:20

Mr Riviere gives us a guide to new LP Not Even Doom Music

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John Brainlove of Brainlove Records is a bearded pied piper of unusual men and women making weird and wonderful music, luring them to his record label and management organisation. He's persuaded Mat Riviere to write a guide to his new LP Not Even Doom Music, which you can listen to via Bandcamp below. Mat Riviere plays The Black Heart tonight, May 15th.

'Wool'

When I last released something I hadn’t really thought about all the songs going together or in an order or anything but I guess with this record I considered the fact I was ‘making an album’ more (as in I felt initially crippled but eventually quite excited by the idea) and this always seemed like it would be the beginning. It is about giving up on things and also never giving up on things. The opening verse/intro piece seems partly about being 12 and really not wanting to go to school any more, the word breaking/braking could be taken either way. Maybe this section is from one of parent’s points of view? There is a line in the end section ‘keep your heart in the other compartment’ that comes from when I was a kid and my sister thought (or claimed) that her stomach had two compartments, one for savoury and one for sweet (pudding compartment). The idea of people forgetting things seems sad. I started most of these songs in Norwich when I had a slightly out of tune piano in my room, so the loop that runs through this song is from that. The sample at the end is of Rivers Cuomo talking during a 1996 Weezer interview when Pinkerton had just come out. I like how completely self-involved he was during this period, thinking about that helped me make this album.

'In ~2 Seconds'

This is about someone ending something that needed to end and also about how the way you think about a person can change very quickly. I guess ‘refusal’ is a word I would use in reference to this song. This song was co-written with Joel Midden of Bastardgeist I sent him a really rough version and he did these very cool vocals on it and that kind of changed the whole direction of the song. It is maybe also a little bit about feeling frustrated with DIY music scenes.

'Salathund'

I wrote this song when I watching Mad Men a lot and it was the series when Betty Draper starts riding horses. If this song had a video I would like it to just be clips of Betty Draper riding horses. Salathund is a German word, I came across it in Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams where it is described as meaning ‘the dog that grudges others what he cannot eat himself’. Feel like this song is extremely passive aggressive.

'Greece'

This song is mainly about my parents. Had a period where it suddenly seemed weird to me that they have adapted to changing technology, and what this actually means to the logistics of their life and relationship. To be honest my family is amazing and supportive and this is about that also and feeling ungrateful and also about how all families probably feel lost sometimes or maybe that each family’s sadness is too specific to ever properly express. The sample at the beginning is from the Steve Roggenbuck poem 'somewhere at the bottom of the rain'. Steve is a poet/blogger/internet guy who I became aware of in the summer of 2011 shortly after I had moved to London, being aware of Steve has had a positive impact on my life here in various different ways. This poem is really a love poem but the opening lines that I sampled seemed relevant and I wanted to include him on the album in some way because I feel like his work (and attitude to his work) really affected my approach to ‘making an album’. This song began life as a cover of the song ‘Ski Resort’ by my friends Octagon Court.

'NEDM'

I think the bulk of the lyrics to this song were written after I went to Spain in 2011. For some reason I had been booked to play at a pretty cool festival and was on the same bill as Xiu Xiu and Faust and Thurston Moore and stuff. It wasn’t a huge festival in scale and all the artists were put up in the same hotel opposite the main venue. I am 80% sure that Faust overheard me drunkenly ‘badmouthing’ their set backstage. Sat 6-8 seats away from Jamie Stewart at one point and felt excited/ scared. Felt simultaneously humbled/depressed/overwhelmed that I was even there and very unsure of why anyone would even choose to do music in the first place. Worried a lot about the reasons I do music. Threw copies of my first album out of hotel window. Had what seemed like a very awkward car ride to airport with members of Faust, regretted badmouthing them/only watching first 10 minutes of their set. Felt irrelevant/stupid. Had surges of happiness re very beautiful Spanish landscape/very beautiful Spanish people who were kind to me. Thought ‘music is stupid’ maybe everyday for the rest of the year.

'The City Is As Cold As You Want It To Be'

This one took a very long time. Think I started recording it in 2010 or earlier even. Had the first section finished for ages but felt unsure about what to do with it. Recorded the second section after I had moved to London probably late 2011. Then sent what I had to Joel and after awhile he sent a load of stuff back. Spent another three months trying to work out how to structure it and include his parts. Came up with structure that seemed to work and finished recording my vocals/drums/feedback around November 2012. I barely even know what this song is about tbh. Trying not to be an asshole or at least trying to enjoy being an asshole if you are one.

'Summons'

I wrote this during a period when lots of different things were happening/changing. So it could be about any of the following things (they were things I was thinking about at the time): my brother getting married, getting a court summons because I hadn’t paid council tax, leaving the city I had lived in for seven years, trying to maintain some kind of relationship with someone who lived very far away. It is kind of in tribute to Norwich I guess or at least the last few years I spent there. Wrote it very quickly around May 2011 shortly before I moved. I listened to Bedhead a lot around this time and this song sounds the way it does because of them. They were also a band my brother introduced me to and liked a lot so it seemed appropriate or something. The background noise is what it sounded like if I opened the window in my bedroom in my old flat in Norwich during the summer. You can here one of my flat mates get home/say hello during the instrumental section. The spoken word sample is from the audio book of Testament to Youth by Vera Brittain. Think I just put the tape in and pressed play pretty much at random (it was not rewound) and recorded this passage. At the time I presumed it was about a dead lover and that was how I intended it to be taken I guess but have subsequently found out it is about the loss of her brother.

'Coal'

This is about something really bad happening to an old friend of mine and not really understanding/comprehending what it must have been like for them. I played it live with Oli Barrett (Petrels) on cello in 2011 and he went on to record and arrange all the strings on the album. Wrote it during a period when I was trying to use guitar a lot more/had just got a delay pedal with a hold/loop function, the percussive loop that runs through it was made by looping a muted guitar. Wrote this one pretty quickly as well though the words had existed in some form for quite a long time.

'Warned'

Probably the oldest song on the album, think I wrote most of it around 2007. Recorded this version pretty recently though (within the last year). It is basically a rip off of ‘Say Valley Maker’ by Smog. Think I was trying to work out how to play that song and ended up with something slightly different and then it turned into a song that I kept coming back to I guess so I ended up trying to record it properly and then it made sense to me as part of this album. It is about spending a lot of time with one other human. It is also about not forgetting things.

'Gardens'

This is another old song from around 2009. Think I had been listening to the first Fuck Buttons album a lot around the time i wrote it. Have been playing it live since then and tried to record it a bunch of times but never felt very pleased with the results I think because I had got so used to it as a live thing (also probably because I felt fairly indifferent about ‘doing music’ during this period). This version is the first time I tried recording it with Grace Denton of The Middle Ones and Expensive who normally sings and plays drum on it when I play it live. Think we did a pretty good job in the end, mainly just feel relieved to have recorded a version that sounds vaguely how I wanted it to sound.

Notes on the title:

It is kind of long winded to describe the origins of the phrase ‘not even doom music’ so I’m going to let urban dictionary do it for me here. I initially considered it as a title as a kind of joke but then the more I thought about it the more appealing it became. I like that beyond its original use it can be taken in lots of different ways. This is what I think about when I think about the title now: in my old house we had a load of back issues of the Wire lying around and I eventually read most of them while only being aware of a small percentage of the music I was reading about. I don’t know I started feeling extremely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work there is out there.

Experiencing a lot of this music as just text seemed appropriate like I just wanted to imagine or get a very rough idea of what it might sound like. Sometimes I would rather just imagine writing music/writing music is just a series of disappointments.