No_4mat: The Past Informs the Future

Interview by: M. Guitierrez
Edited by: Naomi Falk

Memories relate to our present and future selves. While thinking about the future, we inevitably look at the past to mine experiences which enable us to learn. Music is an access point to unlock memories from the past. In turn, those memories enable us to reflect, wonder, and grow. No_4mat is curious about informing the future through art, music, technology, and more. Take a deep dive as we touch on nostalgia, creativity, and an upcoming collaboration project with HOLE that fixates on the theme of memories.

First off, how are you doing?

I’m good! Staying busy, staying active, drinking a lot of water and coffee.

I noticed posters of various films, tv shows, and anime in your studio (Hackers, The Matrix, The X Files, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, etc.). What is it about those films and shows that inspires you?

Over quarantine, my partner and I noticed it was getting harder and harder for us to feel inspired since we were staying in so much. We got these posters to remind ourselves of the films we love, and it has definitely helped me regain my creativity. I’ve always loved sci-fi / the cyberpunk genre and how technology impacts the way we interact with one another. I think it’s because I love imagining how the future might look with all its beautiful advancements as well as all of its flaws.

What role does nostalgia play in your art and music, if any? Are you searching for a specific moment or feeling in the past to emulate?

It plays a huge role. I think when I make music it ultimately digs down into memories and experiences I’ve had and gone through. Sometimes I create a track in which I try to emulate a specific vibe, but other times I just let my brain wander. The past is our greatest teacher, so I think of it more as if I’m trying to learn from it rather than emulate or replicate it.

I noticed a few video game references in your IG posts and song titles (Metal Gear, GameShark). What is it about video games that you enjoy? How does it relate to your creative process?

Ever since I was a young boy, gaming has been a way to escape. Writing and listening to music is just as cathartic. I’m mostly drawn to things that give me the feeling of entering a new world or an entirely different universe; it helps open the door to all the different possibilities.

What is one song, band, film, or video game from your youth that you connected with?

Metal Gear Solid 1998 for PS1. Everything about this game from its gameplay to soundtrack to voice acting gives me comfort.

I find it interesting — in terms of community — to think about the difference between video games and music. Traditionally music was a very communal act; you’d buy a record and listen in a room with friends. As technology progressed, music became more of a personal act;you would listen to it on your headphones, alone. Whereas video game communities continued to grow as technology progressed. What is it about community that is important to you as it relates to your art and music?

Has creating art and music become a therapeutic outlet for you?

It is my escape. I think music is special in that way — that even in a solitary act of listening, it can make a person feel so much less alone. But regardless, I still think there is a very strong community built around music, like when you go to live shows, and it really makes you realize the value of being physically there in-person.

Do you think that this leads to overall self-improvement or an awareness of oneself?

100%. Writing and listening to my music is kind of like going back to an old journal entry which helps my awareness of myself. Music is so good at capturing a specific moment in time, like a memory forever preserved, that hopefully you can reflect back on and learn from.

You have an upcoming capsule release dropping. How long have you been working on this?

Yes! I have a project in collaboration with HOLE. It has been in production for six months or so. I’ve met a lot of great artists through this experience, and I’m really pumped to see this community grow.

What can you share about the drop? Any particular theme throughout the drop?

This is very new for me as I am exploring the Web3 space for the first time. I’m excited to see how the community responds to my tunes and how it might affect my relationship, as well as their relationship, with music. The theme is memories — I like the subtle irony of bringing the past into the future.

Finally, what’s the perfect day for you?

Wake up when I wake up, no snooze! At Least one cup of coffee. At least one laugh. At least one tasty snack. Enjoy the little things (:

You can find no_4mat here:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/no_4mat/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/no_4mat

Bandcamp: https://no4mat.bandcamp.com/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0KWgRtUbQXSiICkWp7g213

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