Q: I suppose you were well known as a sideman in your twenties, but you started recording leader albums since about 30 years old. What made you start ?
Matthew Stevens: I had been composing since college and spent all of my 20’s trying things out, making adjustments, experimenting with instrumentation, thinking about what things in music where most important to me and finding my perspective. By the time I made Woodwork, I felt an unstoppable need to record my music and share my point of view. Now, it’s all consuming and I’m dedicated to releasing new music as often as possible.
Q: Do you feel like changed a improvising style since making your own albums ?
MS: No. I feel like it has been and continues to be one long improvisation that morphs, expands, contracts and inevitably evolves over time.
Q: Were melodies and rhythm figures in Preverbal created in improvisation when you demoed with Eric Doob in your Brooklyn studio? Otherwise, did you almost totally composed motives and rhythms before demo session?
MS: I had composed the melodies, harmonies, bass lines and basic drum framework before the first demos. That’s not to say that the final product is a recreation of the demos as there were multiple demos made as I fine tuned the songs. As for the drum programming and additional sound sculpting, that was a pure collaboration with Eric Doob who produced the album with me and co – wrote “Knowhow”.
Q: You said in recent interview “I had a pretty clear sense of how everything was sounding by the time we went to actually record.” What did you pay attention in order to prevent actual recording from becoming a reproduction of demo tape? Preverbal sounds very intuitive.
MS: I wasn’t worried about that. For starters, I played bass on most of the demos, so having Vicente play brought a new and fresh vibration. Also, there are so many improvised moments within the songs that ended up being entirely different on the record.There is such a different level of energy for me when making a record then when making demos which I think is palpable.
Q: It seems that you were inspired by Daniel Lanois works in process of post-production, which album particularly did you refer ? Are there any reference album by another artist?
MS: I’ve definitely been inspired by Lanois, I love all his solo albums as well as his work with Eno and Emmylou Harris especially. I’m amazed at his ability to marry acoustic and electronic elements in a way that is beautiful and feels inevitable.
Q: What do you have in mind when you play Preverbal’s songs in Jazz club rahter than studio?
MS: No matter where we’re playing, each night we get to perform Preverbal I feel grateful to do what I do. This is the most personal music I’ve made in my life so far and with that kind of soul bearing comes great excitement and also great vulnerability.