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flag England - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 27 - 01/02/99

The Third Eye Foundation
An Interview in Cologne

The Eye Foundation from Bristol is, of course, only one man - Matt Elliott. The Former Flying Saucer Attack sidekick and producer of the recent Hood releases just put out his third album, the hilariously titled You Guys Kill Me, which sees him leave the post-rock angle of last year's Ghost album completely behind to concentrate on new stuff: weird breakbeats and noisy melodies. It's one of the most fucked-up, but beautiful albums you'll hear all year. I had the chance to catch up with Matt, former "hard-core vegan" and a guy who lives in a house in the countryside that doesn't even have a phone (!), at the Chelsea Hotel in Cologne in early October.

Carsten: I wrote a review of your new album the other day and, as we journalist like to do it, tried to put it into a certain category, but couldn't. Is that sort of a masterplan to avoid being categorised?
Matt: I don't think there's a category for my music, but that's not my intention. It's just because my influences are so wide ranging, from old traditional music to mad drum n bass. And because I have a wider range of taste my stuff sounds quite individualistic. Well, in a way it is a plan to be categorised cause i wanna do something that's new and that nobody has done before. So saying you can't put it into categories is a good thing. It's a compliment. Thank you very much (grins).

C: Can you quickly tell me what you've been up to until now. I guess this is the first record that will put you somewhat in the limelight and will get you features on a broader scale?!
M: This is my third proper album, I did one of remixes which doesn't really count. The first proper music I did - outside my bedroom - was being involved with Flying Saucer Attack and the home recording stuff which told me a lot just about basic recording principles. It's a learning process. I've been studying music more than I've been playing it. That's where I learned my very first things. Then I wanted to move on a little from there and Dave didn't really, so I started my own stuff. Then I got into drum machines and technology and the sort of defining crowning glory of that was the discovery of the sampler and what could be done with it. The result of that was Ghost. Then I got a bigger, fatter sampler, the biggest and fattest you can buy and You Guys Kill Me is the result of that for once in my life I was given absolute free range, cause I have so much memory. I never wanted to be in the situation again where you stay: 'shall I sample this or that'...

C: ... you just do both!
M: Yeah. And then you see how that sounds. The freedom of it is so good! I can't listen to anything I've ever done except the single Semtex, but I'm very happy with this album, cause it's the one I always wanted to make. Of course I hope the next one will be better. And if not, I'll give up music.

C: Signing to Domino meant that your stuff is available on a wider range at last. Is that very important to you?
M: When I was with Flying Saucer Attack, the whole Indie ethic was involved: things should be put out by yourself, you should press more than 1,000 copies. The more I think about it, the more I feel that it's just wrong. There's a lot of people around the world you wan hear your music and who understand it. So why make it difficult for them to get it? Why should only the people who read every little fanzine should hear about it. It's not about being commercial, but I do want as many people to hear it as possible. I always talk to people who have small record labels and only do runs of 300 and some of that stuff is amazing! It should be out on LP, CD, everything all over the world, even if it's still a small run of, say, 1500 copies. You just can't do 300 copies. That's not even enough to give to your friends and family! I don't know where this whole Indie ethic came from, but I know Dave is a big subscriber to it. Sometimes I wonder if he actually enjoys listening to music or if he just enjoys looking for rare records.

C: You said that you signed to Domino because nobody else would've wanted to put out your stuff. I've talked to your friend Richard from Domino a while ago and I guess he kinda agreed that Third Eye Foundation represents the way Domino is evolving. On the one hand they still have the Indie-rock stuff like Pavement or The Pastels and on the other hand all these weird electric acts. You are kind of the missing link, coming from the more traditional side going off to very futuristic soundscapes. Agree?
M: Well, I can't speak for the rest of the Domino bands, but I always try to push music forward. That's always in the back of my mind. But I want to make music that still has got the emotion, the feeling.

C: Even though you're an outsider of sorts, you still get on with Hood very well.
M: The reason why I get on with Hood so well is, that they are very firm in the studio. They love their samples and their electronics. I don't like bands who say: 'we don't need a sampler, we don't need keyboards'. Music is music, how it is made is irrelevant. It's not the technology, not the equipment, it's what you do with it.

C: That's quite a big step from your last album to producing the recent Hood album and then now your new release.
M: Well, I didn't really produce it, I engineered it, I twiddled the knobs basically. Talking of Hood, I just recorded their new LP with them which is absolutely amazing. What good about is as well, they are real musicians, the play real instruments as well. I've moved away from that myself, but I still enjoy when A BAND gets together. In fact, one of the tracks I recorded with Hood just now is the finest thing I've ever been involved with. It almost makes me cry with happiness that I was involved with it. It's such a beautiful thing. Even though I had that much (shows with his thumb and finger what would qualify as a very tiny bit indeed) to do with it...

C: It's like, it has your name on it...
M: Not even that, cause I don't acre about that. It's just when I listen to it....it's such a beautiful song, it really moved me. I never get that with my music cause it's all me. It would be like wanking off in front of a mirror, if you know what I mean...

C: How do you write and record your own stuff?
M: Nine times out of ten I start with the rhythm. The thing with rhythms is, the work within certain structures, but the structures are reasonably free. That's how it usually starts. With Ghost I just worked on the same track for ages, then mastered it onto DAT and never touched it again, didn't even listen to it anymore. With You Guys Kill Me I did some tracks, mixed them down, then went back to them and worked on them some more. That's much better, cause if you work on the same track over and over again, you get lost in it. Generally, I just start and keep working and it turns into something.

C: How do you come up with the hilarious song titles?
M: Nine out of ten times they are things that just make me laugh when I lie in bed after I had a big fat spliff. I definitely had a much more humorous attitude towards the new album.

C: Well, thanks very much for talking to me, Matt!

Copyright © 1999 Carsten Wohlfeld e-mail address

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