Weather Changes Moods: An Interview With Lone

Producer Lone, aka Matt Cutler, talks to Lev Harris about his latest EP Echolocations, explains why he loves The Shining and how he refuses to be pigeonholed

Rarely does the name of the electronic act define the person who has chosen it as succinctly and effectively as is the case with Lone, aka Matt Cutler. The Nottingham-based producer has been quietly making his way into the mainstream of UK dance music with the release of numerous EPs and three full-length albums Everything Is Changing Colour, Lemurian and Ecstasy and Friends. His sound is ever-changing with gleeful abandon – see tracks like ‘Karen Loves Kate’. Lone, as his name suggests, refuses to stroll amiably into the confines of genre.

Coming off the back of glowing praise from fellow artists ranging from James Holden to Kode9, Lone’s latest EP, Echolocations, is arguably the most fully realised of his releases to date. Through integrating a more Detroit techno groove into his characteristically reflective and whimsical melodies, he has created an intelligent and absorbing batch of songs that more than prove that he is capable of holding down his place at the forefront of British electronic music Not bad for someone whose roots rather modestly began in the bedroom as a child producer, dabbling in hip-hop, rave, hardcore and techno.

I read in an interview that two of your greatest influences are Boards of Canada and Madlib. How would you say that they manifest themselves in your sound?

Matt Cutler: I like the rawness of Madlib. I relate to my own work, he doesn’t sound like he takes that long; it’s more about the vibe than spending hours and hours in the studio. As for Boards of Canada, it’s their sense of nostalgia and warmth always resonates with me.

Why did you move to Manchester? What’s the scene like there at moment?

MC: I moved there with my girlfriend. I’m a resident at Hoya. It’s really cool and eclectic. There are no set rules for the DJs, I like that. They get to play whatever they want.

What initially got you into electronic music and how were you exposed to it?

MC: Old school rave and hardcore that my older sister was into. She just left a bunch of tapes lying around that I just nicked basically. And from there I got into Aphex Twin. I just liked the cover of one of his albums, I thought it was funny. I got the tape for my birthday.

You have just released a new EP on the R&S label. It seems slightly more Detroit / Chicago orientated than your earlier work. Was this a conscious decision or just a purely natural evolution?

MC: Natural, I get bored easily. I’ve been making stuff for so long that it’s a bit all over the place because I like trying different styles. Hopefully in a few years I can look back at the bigger picture and I haven’t limited myself to just one thing. I’m up for trying as many different things as possible.

Do you see your sound continuing in this vein?

MC: I’m actually working on a new album now. The new EP is putting that sound to bed for now. I’m still up for doing dance floor-based music but I don’t plan too far ahead I just let it evolve naturally.

As noted by Bibio following the release of Lemurian, you have built a very individual sound and identity. How rewarding is it, as an electronic musician, to have found your own niche?

MC: It’s really cool, but it’s taken me so long. It’s happened naturally. I don’t think about it too much and it eventually just grows within itself.

What prompted the growth from the more Dilla-esque, hip-hoppy melodies in Lemurian to the laid back, psychedelic sounds of the last album?

MC: For me, it’s like a diary almost. It’s a sign of progression. One tails off into another, it’s a natural process. I just like to put it all out there. If it contradicts itself, or it changes, I’m into that for people to follow.

You’ve apparently written 21 albums. How early did you start writing and have you used any material from your earlier stuff recently? Do you ever return to, say, your first album to see if there is anything you can take from it?

MC: I never go back to what I’ve written. The first album goes back to the year 2000, just to the year 2000. That’s not really good enough to be heard now, it’s absolutely terrible. I used to just enjoy just recording albums; I just did it for myself. And I still have plenty of ideas so I don’t look back too much. It’s more about the writing process, I like to get it out of the system, without looking back too much. It’s about looking forward, really…

How is Magic Wire Recordings coming along?

MC: It’s cool. I run it with my friend Sean. We wrote material that wouldn’t have come out otherwise so that’s we decided to do it ourselves and turn it into a proper label. But yeah, we want to have our own roster. My friend Tom who I do Kona Triangle with has the next record coming out as Neon Jung. We’re just looking around for people at the moment. There are a few people we want to approach.

That was actually my next question – what was the reason behind signing Neon Jung?

MC: We met through a friend that I went to Music College with. This was about four years ago. I hadn’t released anything at that point. It was just a weird coincidence that we were both similar and into the same stuff.

Could you tell me a bit more about your side-project Kona Triangle?

MC: We haven’t done any more stuff because we’ve been busy on our own things but it’s just about finding time because we are both busy with our own stuff.

So you prefer to work on your own?

MC: We’re both pretty shit at collaborating, we fell out quite a lot while making stuff because we are too stubborn. But we want to go back to it as soon as we can really.

Can you name three non-music related influences on your music?

MC: I think the weather has the biggest effect on me in terms of my moods. Wherever I am really, the weather in Manchester and Nottingham is pretty grim most of the time.

So it’s not the sunny weather that would probably be associated with your music?

MC: Bad weather inspires me more than anything. My music is a reaction against the shit weather, trying to create an imaginary place. Films influence me a lot as well, and people I guess.

What film genres are you into? Have you got a favourite film?

MC: The Shining has influenced my music a lot over the years. The imagery, especially the opening scene, is something I picture a lot. 2001 is probably my second favourite film; I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Kubrick.

Lone plays Dollop’s birthday night in Birmingham, this Friday, July 8th. For more information, go here

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