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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
C: It's like, it has your name on it...
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