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Interview - Matthewdavid on His Label's New Compilation, Breakfast, and the Occult

Matthewdavid is the leader of a cult that brings all the other cults together as one cult.
January 18, 2013, 3:00pm

I don't know why Matthew McQueen started calling himself Matthewdavid, but it probably has nothing to do with how much he loves Dave Matthews. My guess is that it's because he's so busy he feels like two people stuck in one body. The Los Angeles-based producer's in cahoots with Dublab, and he also makes music under his own double-name. Matthewdavid's first album, Outmind, came out on Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder label. His second, Jewelry, was released last year on Leaving, the label he co-founded with his partner Jesselissa Lisa Moretti.

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Leaving has now teamed up with Stones Throw, and the team's putting out a compilation on January 22 called Dual Form. Featuring new tracks by Sun Araw, Dntel, Julia Holter, Odd Nosdam, dak, Run DMT, Knx (formerly Knxwledge), and others, it's sonically schizophrenic, like everything Matthewdavid puts his hands on.

After two weeks of hunting Matthewdavid down, I finally got him to answer his telephone. We talked about breakfast, the solo album he's working on, Dual Form, magic class, and the mega-cult he may or may not be creating.

NOISEY: What's up, Matthewdavid?
Matthewdavid: It's Monday, woke up late, working on tracks, chill, coffee, super food, green, green breakfast.

Let's talk breakfast. I wanna know more about breakfast.
Almond milk, man. That's the new shit. With my tea, my coffee, my cereal. Sweet, super food. Expensive cereal. It's really keeping me away from this flu vaccine. Less supplements, more intake of natural food and drink. Vitamins and shit. This flu is nasty. My girlfriend has it. My mom thinks I should get the vaccine, but I'm trying to avoid it. I'm just trying eat, sleep and be healthy and shit.

Next time you come to the East Coast we might not be here because this flu is killing us.
I hope not, man. That would be a sad, sad thing.

Are you working on a new solo album?
Yeah, it's gonna be under my name, under my label, Leaving Records. It's my own thing, linked up with Stones Throw. They're destroying and helping. Whatever I feel is ultra-important release-wise, they're gonna respect my vision, which is an honor. But I'm trying to nail down these track and have more vocals and live instrumentation and stuff. I have a lot of ambitious ideas. Now's the time. It's been like almost two years now since my thing on Brainfeeder. A lot of people couldn't get down to it, but all the weirdos could. I want this one to be easier to follow, and not way out in left field. I don't know if it's gonna be a pop record or a rap record or an R&B record or an ambient record. I'm rapping and singing on it. It's gonna be a buncha stuff.

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Speaking of diversity, this compilation that's coming out on Leaving and Stones Throw is very diverse.
It's a display of my aesthetic and taste and background. Being a weird hip-hop kid and then tripping out and getting all New Age-y and trippy and then coming back to hip-hop and all kinds of electronic music. It's the school of thought of my peers, and the younger generation is even more open-minded, with all these things bleeding into each other. It seems like people are more open to branching out and not being just a rap kid or a punk kid. Kids are more open-minded now, at least in the underground. Scenes bleeding into scenes. That's what I'm about. That's what the label's about and what life here in L.A.'s all about. This compilation's a testament to that steez. I'm trying to bring people into it, trying to recruit them. Well, I don't want to recruit anybody into this cult, so to speak. But it is cool to think of it as a cult.

Are you a fan of cults?
People are really into cults now. Here in Southern California, there's a very rich history of theosophists and the occult and arguably the first cults were here. The history and awareness of that, and those teachings, are pretty prevalent with a lot of my friends here. It has shaped a lot of our art. It's cool.

Are you in a cult?
I started some shit, but it's not a real cult, so not really. I like to romanticize and role play with that shit and take in ideas from reading and homework and looking at these figures. But there is this thing on some Sundays in Beachwood Canyon called magic class or magic lectures that I attend at this old theosophists club. This woman Maja has these lectures on magic and stuff and it's mind-blowing. A lot of musicians in L.A. go to this thing, and they were like “Matthew, you should come.” It's the most cult shit I've ever delved into before, and it's dope.

Tell me more about magic class.
It's a very open discussion about different life philosophies and teachings and writings and texts of, I guess, sort of Eastern religion and the occult. This woman Maja instructs and leads these lectures in this old lodge on how you can ritualistically take in some sort of new lifestyle. It's not really self-help or a religion or a cult, but it is stemming from and referencing these things. It's true, and it's totally New Age-y. It ties everything together in a very mystical and poetical way. It can help you live your life in a better way, and that's how I see it. It's not about magic in the way you would normally think about it. She does away with that and introduces a new concept and definition.

Have you been to a lot of these sessions?
I've only been to a few, but I'm really into it. I'm not a religious dude―I've been to some really scary churches in the South―so even the thought of going to a church or a lecture that could be semi-religious makes me a little skeptical. But this has really changed my whole state of being for looking at art and music and living in existential philosophical practices. It kinda changed my life.

That's the only real cult-y thing. But in the abstract, my group of friends, and this label, and the Dublab people, and the Brainfeeder people, and my friends Cameron and Diva and all these far out folks are kinda in their own cult in certain ways. We go from scene to scene―freaks, hippies, hip-hop, punks, weird rappers―we're in the middle of it, embracing it all. It seems to be coming together. If all these little cults could form as one cult―that's the mission, I think. I think we're all on the same page. Somewhere our paths can meet and cross, and if music is the way that happens, that's what's up. Are you saying that you see yourself as the leader of a cult that brings all the other cults together as one cult?
I guess that could be true. I never thought of it like that at all. Sure, let's roll with that. That's cool.

Elliott Sharp is a disciple of Church Universal and Twitter - @elliottsharp