SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Dotson, Matt

Matt Dotson

  • artist biography
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    Interview: 10 questions

    1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?

    I started making music at the age of 16. This is when I got my first 4-track recorder. I was totally amazed by the possibilities of recording four channels of whatever-the-hell-I-wanted into that little machine. It was certainly better then doing homework at any rate.

    2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.

    I live in a house. I currently hold an undergrad in Media Studies and a Masters in Computer Music. Right now I’m attempting to learn how to read and write music by taking classes at a community college.

    3.Is making music your profession? What is the context in which you practice music nowadays?

    I do not make my living making music, I make my living (right now) by working at a bank. I was offered an opportunity to make a living writing music for cell-phone video games and I couldn’t stand it for more then a few months. Although, like anyone, I do hope for greater recognition for my work, I compose mainly for myself out of some inexplicable need.

    4. How do you compose or create music or sound? Have you certain principles, use certain styles etc?

    I try and change my method of composition, style, etc. with each piece. It would get very boring to me if I approached every piece in the same or even a similar way. I’m more interested in polystylism and juxtaposition then in finding a particular formula that is “mine” and fine-tuning it (although I find nothing wrong with this approach, many artists have done it successfully, many unsuccessfully).

    5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use?

    I currently use mainly Max/MSP, Ableton Live and Finale. In the past I have experimented with Samplers, Synthesizers, and other hardware but I prefer software because it’s less clutter. I also regularly use the piano and the bass for composition.

    6. What are the chances of New Media for the music production in general and you personally?

    I don’t really understand this question. I think New Media is here to stay, if that is what you are asking. I can see no reason that things would revert to the way they were.

    7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

    I try and do it as cheaply as possible. That is one of the great benefits to working with technology: there’s no one expecting a paycheck. I have never written any grants, gotten commissioned, etc., but these are things I would like to happen in the future.

    8. Do you work individually as a musician/ soundartist or in a group or collaborative?

    I mostly work individually. I have worked with a rock band in the past and I do occasionally collaborate with my wife, though.

    9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement which has a lasting influence on making music?

    No, I listen to everything and most of it influences me in some way (either positively or negatively).

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a soundartist or musician?

    I would just like to retain the freedom that so captivated me when I first got my 4-track recorder. Becoming a part of a community of like-minded composers is also something I would like to do. Oh…and making some money wouldn’t hurt either.