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Q&A with g∆ted aka Mathieu Bedwani - Armchair Empire

Q&A with g∆ted aka Mathieu Bedwani

Mathieu Bedwani produced, mixed, mastered, and released my favorite beat-tape of 2013 – by far. Dust&Loops is without question, one of the best tapes I have been fortunate enough to hear in recent memory and it is one that I am very excited to share with you today. Not only is Mathieu a wonderful producer and engineer, his amazing personality ices the cake perfectly. He reached out to Sound Colour Vibration directly when he released Dust&Loops and was also nice enough to shoot us one of the limited tapes. When I opened the package I was greeted with the tape that was packaged in some amazing art, g∆ted stickers, and a hand written note from Mathieu on the inside. The impression the packaging left on me resinated for a moment, I tossed it in to the tape player and let Dust&Loops take over my mind.

Consumed by the amazing chops and wonderfully crafted sample layers, my conscious awareness became something of the past and I drifted into new dimension. The tape flowed perfectly and was an amazing listening experience from beginning to end. It brought me back to my tape trading days, getting home and tossing a cassette in, waiting patiently to hear what was to come next on each side. Dust&Loops was an amazing journey and Mathieu’s sound is perfectly progressive, resulting in a wonderful collection of 14 tracks that each shine brightly. Picking a favorite track on the tape is next to impossible for me; every single beat transitions perfectly into the next and it is packed full of that boom-bap sound we all know and love. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Mathieu and talk a bit about the release, some of his inspirations, and what we can expect from him in the future. Check out Sound Colour Vibration’s exclusive interview below with the amazing Mathieu Bedwani.

Nick: Thank you so much for your time, we really appreciate it!

Mathieu: Thank you for your time as well and for giving me the opportunity to appear on Sound Colour Vibration. It’s actually my first interview ever so I’m glad it’s for such a good blog that covers music but also art, film and technology which are subjects that are important for me as well as somewhat part of my global musical and artistic approach.

Nick: Well thank you very much, we are very excited to have you! I have to cut right to the chase and say that your beats are absolutely mental man, congratulations on such a wonderful tape! When did you start producing and who were some of the people that helped you cultivate such an amazing musical personality?

Mathieu: Thanks, I’m glad some people actually dig it! I started producing around 2001-2002 I guess, when I got my first MPC (2000xl). It’s when the concept of proper “beat-making” started to make sense to me and when my approach, to what is hip-hop production, began to follow the one of some of the US beat-makers that I was fan of. The approach of Dj Shadow for example was a revelation for me from even before I got the MPC. I loved the idea that someone could do an entire album using only an MP and vinyl, without needing any MC to lead and make sense to the music; that’s were I began to see beat-making as an art in itself.

Nick: What kind of music were you constantly surrounded by in your childhood and when you started making musical choices on your own, what did you tend to gravitate more towards?

Mathieu: I had the chance to have a mother that loves good music. When I was a child I was surrounded by inspirational music such as Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Prince or Queen to name just a few. When I was 15-16 I started to be really into hip-hop after I listened to Cypress Hill’s Temple of Boom for the first time, the warm character of the samples and the groove of DJ Muggs’ production blew me away. As English isn’t my native language I didn’t understand what B. Real and Sen Dog were saying, but I loved the combination of their flows with the beats. After that I had a big East-Coast phase, then a huge West-Coast one, then an abstract hip-hop one and some 90’s shit like acid jazz and trip-hop. The good thing about hip-hop is that it was made from samples so it pushed me to listen to what was sampled and put them back in their contexts. Thanks to that, I was opened to Jazz and Funk, and a lot of other crazy shit.

Nick: You started spinning at a pretty young age, can you talk a bit about how DJ’ing or DJ culture influenced you?

Mathieu: Yeah it’s were it all started. A friend of my brother, who was a Trance DJ, had a turntable to sell. I jumped on the occasion and used to use it with a crappy mixer and play around with the computer and a version of Cubase VST 32. I never became more than a bedroom DJ though because I wasn’t that much into mixing but more into scratching and how you could play with something and put it in a new context, with a recordable resulting performance.

Nick: Can you tell me a bit about the g∆ted moniker? When did you decide to release music under that name and what does it mean to you?

Mathieu: The first reason I chose it back in the day was because it had a nice sounding aesthetic and was related to an audio processor (the gate). The meaning can also relate to the fact that I tend to be introverted, kind of gated in his own dimension.

Nick: Your sample work is unreal and everyone at SCV loved Dust&Loops. Can you tell me about your production workflow when approaching this project? Did it involve a lot of digging or are these sounds that you have been working with for some time?

Mathieu: The workflow was the simplest I ever used for any project; an SP404sx and some tasty tunes, that was it. I tried not to over-think things, so even if the SP is very limited in term of what you can do, it forced me to make things work and not polish every fucking detail. To choose the samples, I tried to switch my brain to focus to the big picture when listening to stuff. If you are actually listening to a cool sax solo from Cannonball Aderley for instance, you can’t get this 1.3 second sample that is amazing as an element in itself, it’s a state of mind. Also, I wanted to put the samples character as one of the main element of the beats as well as the groove, it’s one of the reasons I chose the SP. The cool thing with it is that you have this crazy compressor that guys like Madlib or Dibiase uses all the time. It’s pumping the shit out of the samples and at the same time act as a magnifying glass on the elements like timbre, groove, background noises, etc.

Nick: What atmosphere was present during when you were working on Dust&Loops and what were some of the most enjoyable aspects of the process?

Mathieu: I did the whole thing during night sessions, starting at around 11pm and finishing at around 4-5am. I did all the beats and the mastering in a 3 week’s period, it made sense to commit very quickly on every aspects of the process because I wanted to keep things fresh. I think the aesthetic of the beat tape fitted a raw approach like that, it was great as well for once to quickly cook a beat without having to spend a week to make it perfect.

Nick: Throughout the time that you have been creating music, which one of your tracks is the most special to you and why?

Mathieu: I would say the track “Storm/Calm” that I produced with Nadine Carina. It’s a special track for me because our two different styles blended incredibly nicely to create something that is quite fresh I think. We had a lot of good feedback on the web, people talking about it on forums and shit, that was new for me to see people into my stuff, and motivating.

Nick: The mix and master on this record is incredibly crisp and translated beautifully in every environment I played it in – that is somewhat of a rarity in modern day beat music. Can you give our readers a bit of information as to your experience in those respective fields and how studying at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts may have contributed to your craft?

Mathieu: On the mastering of Dust&Loops, the main thing was to highlight and expand the raw and gritty aspect of the general sound, so I basically smashed the input of a tape machine until it was cooked enough, topped with some surgical EQ and limiting. That was about it, but the interesting thing is that when you listen to the cassette version the sound is even nicer. They were dubbed professionally and they did a good job, it has this right amount of lo-fi distortion and higher frequency drop that suit the project.

So yeah, I studied Sound Technology at LIPA, it was great because it opened me to a lot of aspects of music and especially on the role of a producer. Thanks to this knowledge I can use the hip-hop production tradition in conjunction with any type of music I produce. I like the path of producer like Danger Mouse, the way he produced these Black Keys albums with the big sound of hip-hop records, that’s a good source of inspiration on how as a producer you can play with aesthetics and have creative artistic approach.

Nick: Who are some of your favorite producers actively making music right now?

Mathieu: In terms of hip-hop producers, I would say Dre, Madlib, FlyLo, Dibiase, Knx, MatthewDavid, Samiyam and Elos are some of the most influential for me.

Nick: Do you have any projects that you are currently involved in? What can we expect next from you?

Mathieu: More stuff are coming with Nadine Carina, her next EP called Things That People Love To Remember will be released mid-November with a new track we collaborated on called “My Heart (Jungle)”. Check the EP out, it’s fresh (check it out here)

Nick: I really appreciate your time, thank you so much for sitting down with us!

Mathieu: Thanks to you and keep up the good work with SCV!