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Honkytonks presents Matthew Herbert

Author: Data On Dub
Thursday, January 6, 2005
Sunday 30th January
Support: Emily Clark and Boogs

Matthew Herbert Biography
It is probably not customary for artists to write their own biography unless I'd scored 244 for England in cricket during the 80s, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't full of phrases like 'it was then that Matt had the world knocking on his door'.so here goes...

I first started music when I was 4 years old, learning the violin and the piano through until I went to university. I started playing in orchestras and choirs from the age of seven and gigging with bands as a keyboard player at about 13. My first band was a 25 piece Glen Miller style 1940's big band and it was cool to make so much noise with no amplification. At the age of 16 I went on a tour of Sweden with my orchestra and had my first taste of life playing music abroad.

At school there was a teacher called Pete Stollery, an electo-acoustic composer in his spare time, and it was he that first played us the music of Steve Reich, Xenakis, and jazz standards and then make us consider them in the same way as we'd considered Beethoven.

My dad was a sound engineer at the BBC for 30 years and had always surrounded himself with sweet sounding technology. My parents soon realised my subsequent love for music technology might take me away from my desire to be a stunt motorbike rider and more into the realms of being creative. With my part-time job money and their birthday gifts, I gradually stared accumulating equipment until by the time I reached university I had a small home studio.

I decided to study drama at Exeter University as I wanted to create my own music without having to study composition in the traditional way. It is so rewarding for me now to be writing a piece of classical music for a full string orchestra as part of a film score because I am doing it in my own way and at the right time. At university I learnt about performance and the relationship between music and performance. It was here that I first started sampling my immediate environment in an attempt to create a direct link between what the audience was seeing and what it was hearing. It gave me the balls to stand up in front of 1000 strangers and try and entertain them with a bag of crisps. It was January 95 at the Arches in Glasgow that I first tried this idea out and rather surprisingly, it worked. Since then I have performed live with everyday objects (bottles, bikes, drills, radios, cameras, stones etc) and environments (I rebuilt my kitchen on stage) all over the world and in all sorts of venues. I have been lucky enough to travel and present my music in England, Ireland, America, Canada, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Russia, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Australia and New Zealand.

It was also down in Exeter that I hooked up with the fledgling label and record shop of Mighty Force that had just released Aphex Twin's first record. With the encouragement of Tom and Mark from Global Communication, I was soon experimenting in a dancefloor environment with the sampling techniques I had developed for theatre music.

I moved back to London in 1994 having had little success with releasing records in Exeter and it was in January of '96 that three of my records were released: Wishmountain-'Radio' (techno); Doctor Rockit-'Ready to Rockit' (jazzy electro) and Herbert-'Part One' (house). We sold more of these than all of the other projects combined and suddenly I was in the world of remixes, DJing and albums.

Recently I have been taking jazz lessons on the piano and returning to what I first started writing-songs. It has been doubly rewarding because I am doing such a variety of work, including feature film soundtracks (Don Cameron's 'Paradisiac' being the latest), fashion shows (for Erik Halley and Gaspard Yurkievich), an Arts Council-sponsored Radio Boy tour of Britain and my own label (Accidental Records). The idea of the label is to gi