Why is this interesting? The Monday Media Diet with Matthew Dear

On mushrooms, ziplines, and El Paso.

Matthew Dear (MD) is a friend of WITI and a longtime DJ and musician. He’s currently teaching at his alma mater, The University of Michigan. One of my favorite memories with Matt is him previewing a great cut for me (this one here) at a soundcheck in Austin. Matt is a founding artist on both Ghostly International and its dance floor offshoot, Spectral Sound. He writes, produces, and mixes all of his work and had remixes commissioned by The XX, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Spoon, Hot Chip, The Postal Service, and Chemical Brothers. Here, he shares some of his inspirations and activities. Also, here’s his latest album on Spotify. -Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself.

I am 41 years old with three kids, three goats, and a difficult new dog. I’ve made music almost every day since I was 14, most of it being odd and derived from electronic music. I try to take on new creative forms of expression, but I typically don’t get past the novice stage. Getting into modular synthesizers several years ago gave me the confidence to do more with my hands. This year I’ve built a treehouse with a zipline and a goat shed. I also rented a skid steer loader and had a blast ripping through the brush on my property. 

Describe your media diet. 

Japanese woodworking videos on YouTube. 

What’s the last great book you read?

Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by Paul Stamets.

What are you reading now?

How To Make It In The Music Business by Ari Herstrand. (2nd Edition) - I teach a short course at The University of Michigan’s School of Music on the recording industry and use this book as a valuable resource for the course structure. 

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

I set it in a very visible location for a few weeks so I can at least pretend I’m going to read it. 

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

Philip K. Dick. I can’t recall just how I got started, but it was probably “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Shortly after, I couldn’t stop reading everything published. I haven’t come across another writer capable of shifting dimensions and reality in a single sentence as he does. I recommend the one where God makes himself an unborn child on a moonbase, only to sneak past the anti-religion global regime whose trying to stop him from saving Earth. God even makes sure he won’t know he’s God when he’s born, you know, to ensure the plan can succeed. Stuff like that, but told in such a way, it seems like it happened yesterday. 

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

It’s called Assembly. Great tool for easily generating and modifying original content in high resolution for creative assets. 

Plane or train?

Silverado Z71 truck. 

What is one place everyone should visit? 

El Paso! I shot a video there in 2018 for my song Bunny’s Dream. I had played there a few times over the years and always met such down to earth great people. My friend Gabe makes music there and has become quite a special spirit in El Paso, so I asked him to dance and be in the video. Rik Cordero directed it, and we flew down for two days and figured out a storyline. There is a lot of vibe in the town, and the people are always smiling and up for a good time. 

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into. 

You’d have to see my YouTube history for that one. (MD)

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Matthew (MD)

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