On The Beat with Matthew Hayden

 

 

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On The Beat with Matthew Hayden

 

It seems we can't get enough of Matthew Hayden these days, but that's because he's doing a lot of cool stuff. Hayden and his Molly Picture Club cohorts are this week's Artists on Trial, and today we get to spend a bit more time with him.

The Deli: First things first—how did the drums find you?

Matthew Hayden: My dad was a drummer, so when I was young there was always a drum set around. He would jam with friends in a special room dedicated to music in our house growing up. We referred to it as the band room.

The Deli: A lot of drummers talk about locking in with their bass players, but Molly Picture Club doesn't have a bass player. What do you listen for?

Matthew: When we started MPC the idea was to make pop tunes with an electronic element. I had programed electronic music for awhile but had never incorporated it into a live setting before. After the writing process we had to figure out how to perform these tunes. We decided to embrace technology and use a laptop running Ableton Live with some backing tracks, mostly bass and some electronic elements. Mike [Tipton], our guitarist, plays very rhythmically; I lock in with that and the track. Plus, as a drummer you certainly have to listen to the vocal lines to determine your dynamic approach and changes.

The Deli: It takes a great deal of talent and coordination to run backing tracks and play drums, but you make it look like a walk in the park.

Matthew: So far it has seemed to work pretty well. When we first started, we were kind of doing MPC on the side as we were all working on other projects. We practiced for 6 months before we ever played a show. During that time we figured out how we could make it work. This is my first project incorporating that aspect so I am still learning and trying to figure out new ways to do it. Sometimes it can be tough because I can never really tell how we sound at the front of the house, from behind the kit, but usually the response is positive. With backing tracks you rely on the sound man a lot to get the mix right. Also, it can be easy to lose the groove if you're not feeling the tune. I am huge on dynamics so when playing with a track you must have good dynamics to control the mood or how a song feels. We have been playing for over 2 years now so we have definitely had some fuck ups, but for the most part it's been pretty smooth sailing.

The Deli: Besides keeping MPC on time and on groove, do you have any other musical projects?

Matthew: Yeah, I have been playing drums in a Talking Heads tribute band called Found A Job. It's tons of fun. The music is right up my alley, incorporating funk, rock, pop and African rhythms. Plus, playing with a big group of people is always fun. As of now we have seven members and we're adding a second guitar and a sax/accordion player.

The Deli: Studio or live?

Matthew: I am sure everyone says this, but I enjoy both. Recording with friends has always been an important part of my creative process, so I decided to build a studio in my house. It's convenient to be able to walk downstairs and be creative anytime I want. Since it's soundproof, I can bang on the drums or crank a bass at 5:00 am if I want to. On the other hand, performing music you have been working on in a live setting is pretty incredible. Just getting that vibe from everyone on stage and all the people in the room, when everyone is feeling it, it can be pretty exhilarating.

The Deli: Obligatory question: favorite drummers?

Matthew:Zigaboo, Ray Barretto, Steve Jordan, Clyde Stubblefield, Stewart Copeland, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Steve Gadd, Tony Allen, Jack De Jennette, Keith Carlock. Oh yeah, and Tommy Chong. He was a drummer, too.

The Deli: What keeps you happy when you're not drumming?

Matthew: I like to make music, for sure, but I also make other things. I am currently enrolled in a sculptural welding class at the Art Institute.  I also support a lot of art and cultural events in KC. Oh yeah, and traveling the world… "El mundo es mi ostra."

The Deli: Oh, I know what that means! Well, thank you very much for your time!

Matthew: Thanks. Paz y música.

Dude, this is America. Cut it out. Just kidding, amigo.

If you like dancing and if you like good music and if you like Matthew Hayden (and, really, who doesn't?), then be sure not to miss him in action with Molly Picture Club at the recordBar this Saturday, September 22 and then again at The Riot Room on October 4. You can also find him with Found a Job at recordBar on October 30.

--Sergio Moreno

Sergio is a drummer drone for The Hillary Watts Riot and a contraption set buffoon with Alacartoona. He wishes he could get paid to practice meditation, do yoga, and drink white tea all day long. But in the meantime he earns his keep making greeting cards in Spanish.

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Matthew Hayden

Photo by Chad Cogdill

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