Interview: Pie Eye Collective

This interview feature introduces us to Pie Eye Collective, the solo project of Bristol-born, London-based Matthew Gordon.

Returning with his second album at the end of the week. ‘Tangential City’ traverses elements of experimental techno, ambient, dub and jazz to form a futuristic sound. The 13-track project explores how different people experience life in the same city differently.

“’Tangential City’ was coined by my younger brother to describe our neurodivergent conversational style,” says Gordon, “hopping around seemingly unrelated topics that are connected to each other by infinitesimal tangents. I’ve adopted ‘Tangential City’ as an expression of the real and metaphysical liminal realities we all exist in. It’s the atlas of my musical/artistic mind.”

Pie Eye Collective

Since the release of his first track on Alberts Favourites, he has garnered much attention. With top draw names like Mary Anne Hobbs, Jamz Supernova and Tom Ravenscroft all dropping his music on their esteemed shows.

On the new album, he gets some help from Hector Plimmer, Adam Scrimshire (mastering), Ralph Berryman (artwork) and Jonny Drop (label design). Needless to say, it’s the complete package, and you should all give the album a listen or two or three or…

We caught up with Gordon ahead of the eagerly awaited release.

Hey Matthew. What are you up to at the moment?

Hello. I’m currently in a research period. At the moment I’m looking into ‘Boundary Objects’ and their use in art and Critical Design work.

Your debut album, Salvation, had been in the works for many years. How did you feel when it finally dropped last year?

I felt grateful that I’m here and have the opportunity to share my music.

How has your sound evolved compared to Salvation, and how has Tangential City changed you as an artist?

Interestingly I think I’ve started to better understand and get more comfortable with the Pie Eye Collective sound-world. It’s a sound that’s evolving in real-time and I understand it as I make it. Tangential City is just another location in that ever growing world.

What does the recording process for PEC look like when making a track like Land Of Wood And Water?

When time allows, I usually sit in my living room and have my Ableton Live, my modular synth and my upright piano to hand. Usually these three things get me 99% of the way there when writing and producing a track. The other 1% is usually percussion recordings made at home of iPhone field recordings.

Speaking of ‘Land of Wood and Water’, how did you achieve that skittish synth sound that persists throughout the track?

I’m pretty sure the sound you’re referring to is a very, very basic patch on a modular synth using Mutable Instruments Rings in particular. I think the patch was Pamela’s New Workout (tempo synced to DAW) > Mutable Instruments Rings (triggered by a number of polyrhythms from PNW) > Intellijel Quad VCA… nothing too involved as I wanted this to be one of many layers.

We know that you work with Hector Plimmer, who is an incredible producer in his own right. How does Hector’s input enhance your songs?

I feel that Hector and I influence each other equally. We’re somewhat similar as people but there’s enough of a difference between us to keep things interesting! So far we always write in Hector’s studio and we usually have the majority of a track done within a few hours.

Your music incorporates everything from hip-hop to jazz to dub techno. What is your approach to polystylism?

I think of music styles as different languages and dialects that all have a common ancestor. Similarly, I think there’s grammar and vocabulary in these musical languages. I like studying different languages as it gives me more tools to artistically articulate myself.

What’s your favourite sound? Also, what is your favourite piece of equipment?

The sound of my partner laughing.
My modular synth.

Can you tell me about three of your greatest loves in life?
My family. Sleeping. Truth.

How do you chill out?

At home with as few people around as possible. Hanging out with friends is lovely but that’s not how I best relax. I like to study maths for fun, and I find it quite cathartic using Desmos Graphing Calculator to make mathematical generative art.

Where can we catch you performing soon?

The Jazz Café, London, in January… but it’s still TBA.

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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