Anahata Interview
September 29, 2008, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Interviews | Tags:

“The Unmade Sound” is an impeccably produced album with hyper-intelligent melodic architectures. It is an ocean of perfect harmonics, taking listeners deep into melodies of dreamscape long forgotten”.
I guess that’s one way to sum up one of the most original albums to be released over the past 10 years.
We recently caught up with Matte to find out a little more about the man behind the Anahata project…

Who is the man behind Anahata the artist ?
My name is Matte Gillard, I was born in Woodstock, Ontario Feb 4 1975. I grew up with lots of foster brothers / sisters and moved every 6 months for most of my life. I think that really helped me develop my character – I have always felt that living in one place for too long is detrimental to one’s personal growth. Spiritually – I used to beleive that desire was the root of all suffering – and perhaps it is – but its also what makes us aspire to greatness. Obviously, I am a long way from enlightenment… and I am just fine with that.

Where are you currently based Matte?
I have been living in Vancouver BC (Canada) for the past several years – it is an amazingly beautiful city… I will be moving to Calgary Alberta in a few days though… never really been there so I am looking forward to seeing what the city has to offer… would be nice to find someone to collaborate with…

What musical influences did you have growing up?
My mom. I was only allowed to listen to Christian music and always attended private Christian academies so my musical influences were rather limited. She is a very talented musician and insisted my brother and I take music lesson from the age of 3. I was raised listening to “Bullfrogs and Butterflies” (we’ve both been born again…) haha… and yes, my parents are both wonderful people. When I was old enough to rebel I went pretty far out there for a while, but I discover all sorts of amazing music. I think it gave me a real outlet – somewhere productive to focus my energy. I gave them The Unmade Sound – they referred to it as “pots and pans”… everyone’s a critic… haha.

Was there a defining moment early on in your life Matte that made you think “Yes…I’m going to make music for people to enjoy”
Tough to say, I began performing publicly at the age of 5. I loved playing in punk bands as well but that wasn’t until I was in my mid-teens. In college I was in a disco/funk band called P.A.W.R. Pretentious Artists Who Rock it was an amazingly entertaining show… very fun and interactive – something I would like to see more of in the electronic scene.

When did you actually start creating music?
I started recording original music in 1991 back when I was primarily focusing on guitar. I started writing loop based electronic music in 1995 – it wasn’t until 1999 that I had the ability to produce electronic music linearly at home. I did work for a few years at Pinewood Recording Studios as a post audio engineer on movies like Tomb Raider, Planet of the Apes and series like Dark Angel, X-flies as well – so that helped me with the technical side of production. I have also won Montreal International Film Festival, Northwestern Film Festival and the Leo Awards for independent audio work.

When did the Anahata project begin?
I had been performing my trance show as Nystagmus since 1998, however, in Vancouver there are several very different scenes and I wanted to explore my options. Anahata began as a sort of dare – a friend of mine DJ Ronin used to throw the “In:Vision Festival”, a down tempo festival in BC. My particular style of trance wasn’t really his “thing” but, he said if I could come up with a chill project he would put me up as a headliner – I had a year to complete the project. I completed the project in June 2005. The tracks were just sitting on my hard drive for almost 2 years before Entheogenetic Records released it. Aleph-zero was also interested releasing the disk as well but we had differing opinions as to what would be on the disk. Yaniv (Shulman) and Shahar from Aleph-zero are both top notch guys in my book, however, Entheogenetic gave me full artistic control so I went that direction. As a side note – due to popularity “The Unmade Sound” has been completely sold out for almost a year and will be re-released next month as the second disk on “Anahata-Conduktor” through Area709 Records. (

Where does the name come from?
Anahata is the fourth primary charka. In Sanskrit, the word anahata – means unhurt, un-struck and unbeaten. Anahata Nad refers to the Vedic concept of unstruck sound, the sound of the celestial realm.

When/Where was the first gig/event you played at-How did it go-How did you feel?
I played in many different musical projects, from classical ensembles to punk bands but my first “electronic” gig was in 1998 at Organix, a club in Vancouver – it still rocks full on trance every Friday night – 12 years running. I was opening for Mindfield so it was quite an exciting event for me. My first gig as Anahata was at In:Vision – to be honest I was completely exhausted from playing as Nystagmus at the Karma Music Festival a few hours earlier – however, playing Anahata at the Shambhala Music Festival a week later was mindblowing – 3-6am on day 4 of one of the largest festivals in Canada. It was the perfect set at the perfect time.

What equipment do you use when playing live?
If it’s stereo – Ableton Live, a BCR2000, and a Motu Ultralite. If its 5.1 surround, Cubase SX (for surround automation) with Ableton Live, a Remote SL and a Motu Ultralite. Occasionally I perform with live musicians as well – depending on the situation. The major difference between a live set and a DJ set to me – is, or at least should be, the transitions between tracks and manipulation of tracks. A live artist has the ability to have total freedom and break all of the rules DJ’s have to follow – I don’t beat match, I write transitions – a live artist has the ability to make a set truly seamless. To mix your tracks like a DJ when you are creating the music – is just… well… sort of lazy. Just my opinion – of course. I do it sometimes too… but I just feel sort of cheap about it.

Describe how you feel when you play live to an audience Matte
Depends on the project really – my favourite project is the new Anahata trance project just because it’s in surround sound and highly danceable – plus the look on people’s faces when they realise it’s surround is always priceless. Narcolepsy makes people laugh… a lot. The Unmade Sound is different – I prefer hearing other people playing my tracks in the chill dome than playing them myself… I’m pretty A.D.D. at parties… so I have a hard time sitting still for that long.

“The Unmade Sound” was such a unique album in so many ways. Tell us a little more about that release…
I spent some time with Evan Bluetech when he was living on the coast… he showed me how to really use Reaktor and it changed the way I do everything in the studio. A great guy – and a great musician. I was just exploring Reaktor and accidentally wrote an album. Later, I was at a festival and my dear friend St. Evan took my photo – a month later I saw a giant canvas of the cover art. He’s a really amazing person; I can’t say enough good things about him.

What kind of studio equipment did you use Matte?
I found I was relying heavily on hardware for several years so – I refused to use any hardware for “The Unmade Sound”. 95% of the album was writing with Reaktor, the rest was recorded with a microphone.

Did it take a long time to build up your studio kit and how much have you spent over the years?
Well I started with an MC303 back in 95, then the gear list kept growing… MC505, DR202, RM1X, Electribes, Kaos Pads, MicroQ, Waldorf Pulse, Korg Triton, Korg Prophecy, JP8000, Juno 106… and so on… In 99 I bought my first PC with Cubase 5.1 and a pair of NS10’s… since then the list has changed… midi controllers, Bluesky 5.1 media desk, half a dozen computers, PC, Mac, Linux… I honestly can’t say how much it all cost… a lot.

Any tips for someone just starting out with regards to building a home studio?
If you have reference monitors and a semi-decent sound card you have everything you need. Oh… and “Friends don’t let friends use Reason”.

Fav piece of hardware?
My more recent projects are all written in 5.1 surround sound so the Motu Ultralite is irreplaceable.

Do you have a process that you like to stick to when working on new material in the studio/djing?
Unfortunately I don’t listen to enough music to really be a DJ. DJing is a very different art form and requires a huge time investment. I just don’t have that kind of time. My process depends greatly on the project but I do believe that limitations are the key to creativity… create a list of limitations for your project – must do this, this, and this – can not do this, this, and this… otherwise it’s just too hard to focus the project.

Tell us about the musical movement (chillout) going on within our scene at the moment? How do you feel the scene is advancing?
Truth is, I rarely get down tempo gigs. It tends to be people fly me out for my trance show and the down tempo show is just sort of an after thought. Example, this weekend I am performing as Nystagmus at Motion Notion between Eskimo and Trevor Moontribe. 2 months after getting booked I was asked if I was willing to do Anahata as well… but, I never get asked to do Anahata without Nystagmus. I still write down tempo as Narcolepsy but it is very different – think – pirates and chainsaws meets nerdcore… I occasionally think about writing another down tempo Anahata album but lately I just really prefer rocking a dance floor.

How does visual/visionary art fit in to what you do and why?
Hard to release an album without a cover… haha.

What genre would you say “The Unmade Sound” fits into Matte?
Sorry, there are so many sub categories and I don’t really know how to categorize down tempo genres… I wrote this album hoping it fit into a few genres. It appeals to a much larger audience than my other projects… I find writing down tempo to be much easier than any other… but that’s just me.

What musical plans do you have for the future Matte?
“Anahata – Conduktor”, is coming out next month from Area709 Records. “Narcolepsy – People in places doing things”, releasing later in the year – if I can find a label interested. I am moving to Calgary AB so I am looking to start a new project when I arrive… no idea what kind of music yet… but I need to keep evolving.

Why is music important to you Matte?
Everyone needs a creative outlet – doesn’t really matter what the outlet is… mine just happens to be music.

What words can you give to new artists wanting to make music…….
“Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein

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