DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Symmatik | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists we’ve got right here in the north east. This time it’s the turn of Durham’s Tony Morton, aka electronic maestro Symmatik.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

Hi, my name is Tony Morton and I’m a musician/producer from County Durham. Symmatik is my newest solo project, combining synths, drum machines and live instruments.

What inspired you to first start making music?

I first got into making music when I got a copy of Music for the original PlayStation back in 98. It was rather crude, but I loved just combining loops to make full compositions. I was addicted to making electronic music from then.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

This is a hard question as my influences generally change depending on my mood. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Bonobo, Burial, Caribou and Dream Koala. I think you can here bits of their music in mine. I’m also a huge fan of bands like Portishead and Massive Attack, which I always try and benchmark my production to.

How would you describe your sound?

I’ve been likened to Burial, Bonobo and The xx which I think is quite fair. I like to create atmosphere, using textures and loads of reverb. But I don’t necessarily have a strict sound. My debut EP has some down tempo trip-hop moments as well as some straight up house styles. I think what ties it all up at the moment is the use of electric guitars.

Where do you see yourself fitting into the local music scene?

I think it’s hard at the moment being an electronic musician in the North East. There isn’t really an avenue for shows at the moment. Also, people don’t tend to get electronic shows due to the lack of “real” instruments. We’re also a bit spread out, so I’m only just starting to meet up with other electronic musicians, especially through Evo Emerging and the like. However, there are some really good people trying to bring things together. The Matterhorn group are looking to put on alternative music throughout Newcastle and I know they’ve got some exciting shows lined up in the future!

“it’s hard at the moment being an electronic musician in the North East”

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Symmatik?

I’m not too sure what to expect myself yet! I’m on working out the live show at the moment, but I’m hoping to have some live guitar with some looping and some live electronics using my Roland sp555 sampler. That may of course change, as I no doubt encounter a multitude of problems! I’m eventually looking at live visuals too. I’m a big fan of Max/Msp, so I’m hoping to program some evolving visual textures that move with the music. But that’s a long way of for now!

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

Evolution Emerging is the big one, but we’re in the process of organising a gig at the start of May with the Matterhorn group. So keep posted for that!

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as an artist?

Just finishing the EP is an achievement in itself! I’ve scrapped so many songs and restarted so many that it’s a surprise it’s been finished at all. But honestly, getting to play at Evo Emerging is such a privilege. Especially since I’m a new artist!

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

I’m my own worst critic, so I find it hard to actually finish music. Trying to get over that fact can be rather challenging and has hindered me on so many different levels. I’ve started many different projects in all manner of genres, so hopefully I’ll manage to stick it out as Symmatik.

What else have you got planned for the future?

Just live shows really. I’m hoping to use the momentum from Evo Emerging to start playing out and really plug the EP. I may work on some merchandise too. Everybody loves a screen printed tote bag!

Symmatik released EP One on Monday 27th April. He plays with Worry Party, Morpion and ako on Saturday 2nd May at the Head of Steam, Newcastle.

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