teamCARPE’s founder, Athena got to sit down with Matthew, the multi-instrumentalist and enigmatic face of Running Touch this Garden Beats 2020. Albeit the hot sun and blaring beats at the festival grounds, RUNNING TOUCH’s message rang loud and clear: That music is the core and at the fore of their actions.
Welcome to the fourth installment of our Garden Beats 2020 coverage.
I started off by thanking the post-modern performer for his productions — “You’ve got an amazing sound, and the best part is how multi-faceted it is. I mean, you’ve always done a blend of styles as someone in touch with various instruments and genres, from your metal outfit to now. So if you had one style that you would gravitate towards, what would it be?”
Matthew pauses for a moment. “I’m definitely a producer, actually”, he laughs sheepishly, “It just influences what I do; my role as a producer. So in terms of sound — I tailor it to the project. For Running Touch, it’d be heavy band music, there’d be indie bleeding in.”
While he’s talking, the rest of Running Touch — drummer Jesse Boyle — looks up with a slight nod, as if acknowledging Matthew’s thoughts on style. Later, when they’re playing their set, we can tell how Matthew’s in touch with not only his equipment, his instruments, deftly navigating between stage wires — but also Jesse’s own style, matching or complementing the vigor from his band-mate’s actions on stage.
So, it makes perfect sense that Running Touch’s why began with a band, too. “That outfit — my previous group — was the ‘why’ I started producing music, began refining and exploring my sound.”
“The friends I made during music — like hardcore stuff, like metal, where I come from — all of this culture and the relationships formed from this is just very tight — to me actually it was the perfect breeding ground for musicians, for me to really explore and learn how to edit.”
“It’s so gross“, he laughs, gesturing with his hands at some invisible strings that tighten his friends, his love for music and his own heart together, “I just wanted to do more.”
The leap from metal to electronic is a jump we thought to discuss. So many young people produce beats from their bedrooms, working on samples right from the time they turn sixteen and start a SoundCloud account. “The way I I look at it is is, you should be open, as a musician, as a producer”, Matthew says, glancing up at me. “‘Cause the way I see it, it’s like, you love music, you have a passion for it — then it’d be great to just not limit yourself, and learn, cross-genre, experiment.”
“I look at music and think it’s a bit like school, as a matter of fact.” When my own eyes widen in disbelief, he quickly follows up to prevent my doubt from solidifying. “Really! In high school you take like six subjects; then you go towards tertiary, you go for a degree. You don’t just learn, like, one branch of knowledge, you have to tap on all these different areas of learning although you might, you might just specialise in one.”
“So my advice to all those young people out there is to learn multiple genres, start to learn all these different genres at one point or another and then can cross-pollinate.” As a producer whose name is almost synonymous with ‘postmodern music’ on Reddit, what Matthew affirms is a gentle touch — I mean, a firm nod — towards his love for versatility with no limits. “Actually, I think music is heading into that direction. Looking, becoming a place for people who are versatile. Especially because everyone is becoming a producer, using their laptops”, he stops for a bit, fingers flickering as if mimicking doing basic production on a MacBook, “You just gotta strive to learn what you can.”
To close up our conversation, I tread into territory that teamCARPE’s always been pointing a spotlight at. Honestly, having heard Running Touch since ‘My Hands’ and a bit prior, I’d wanted to ask for his opinion on things that youth who are interested in a music career can save for the uphill journey — besides saving his songs on Spotify, of course.
“I see rejection left and right; I know what you mean by difficulty or challenges in young people’s journeys when they start in on here”, he starts. “But I would say: use that rejection and use that criticism. Because that’s the good thing, that’s the good stuff”, he says, a hand tapping away on his knees. It’s almost time for him to go up and give Garden Beats that Running Touch. “If you’re going to meet anyone who is successful, who seems like they’re doing well — they’ve had that personal backstory, that’s what they’ve had”, he says, lips quirking up in a grin. “They’ve gone through something, through some stuff, then they use that to create, to produce. You need to use what had been there for you, your experience being rejected, to bring something else up to the surface.”
“Maybe a new track.”