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Reentering the Void with Matthew Dear

Story by Chad Kamenshine December 29th, 2017

With his distinctive voice and genre-fusing compositions, Matthew Dear is a modern day electronic crooner who crafts music that is just as well tailored as his own personal sense of style. Dear goes by many names (Audion, Jabberjaw, False), wears many hats (co-founder of Ghostly International / Spectral Sound) and up until last year, has largely remained elusive.

In 2016, Dear released Alpha. His first full length record under the techno heavy moniker Audion. This year, he delivered three new tracks, including a collaboration with Tegan and Sara called Bad Ones. All three, his first new work under his own name since 2012's Beams.

At Public Arts, Dear stepped out from it's Lynchian curtains, extended his hand and slowly pulled the New York crowd back into his world.

Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine

On the early indie electronic scene in New York

I didn’t land in NYC until 2007, so things had been teetering out a bit by that point on the electronic music stuff. That being said, I did have some great shows in NY well before 2007 as a visitor. Played warehouses, artist collectives, dive bars and the likes. When it still wasn’t too popular to be a DJ, let alone a dance music DJ. Things were definitely different. One of my best early gigs was at Filter 14 in Meat Packing. It was my very first trip to NY, and I was driving our tour van. Made it all the way to the club, but didn't see a black mercedes coupe parked under one of those old meat packing awnings. I gave it a nice side swipe. Turns out the guy was sitting in his car. He got out and rather than be upset, told us, "hell, whatever keeps me away from the wife and kids a little longer!". I thought, okay now we're in New York.

Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine

BACK TO MICHIGAN

Ann Arbor is a dream. Great food, people from all corners of the world, and tons of space. I've finally built my first real studio, and making music is as easy as turning on a light switch.

Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine

COLLABORATING WITH TEGAN & SARA

Sara & I became acquainted when I did the remix for their song I Was A Fool. After that we corresponded quite a bit around a collaborative cover of Pale Shelter by Tears For Fears. We always talked of collaborating on new music, so when I had something ready, I sent it. They’re incredible at executing an idea. I think it only took a day or two before they sent back everything for Bad Ones. Harmonies, lyrics and arrangement.

Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine

Go-to tour foods

Fatty meats and greens! I’ve found over the years the less I eat before the show the more energy I’ll have during the performance. I’m always looking for a great steak or fresh fish and sushi.

Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine

On the clarity gained from Playing in NEW YORK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FIVE YEARS

That was a special show. You can’t get away with playing mostly new material everywhere, so it was great to have the crowd supporting me along the way. I’ve been working on some of these songs for almost 5 years so they’re very familiar to me. Overall, the NY show gave me a clear picture of how I want to finalize my album. It was the perfect backdrop of sound, image, and engagement. In fact, your photos from the evening captured the essence perfectly. In a strange reversal of fortune, they’re now inspiring me to complete the finishing touches on the album to fit into the world you captured.

Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Matthew Dear / Audion photographed by Chad Kamenshine
Footnote: Special thanks to Matt and Matt ✨