QnA – Matt Fitzgerald, Decoder Ring
July 19, 2009 § Leave a comment
Published: Music Australia Guide #67, July 2009.
Having garnered a name for their work scoring films like Somersault and Jewboy, Sydney band Decoder Ring are back with their most ambitious, challenging and fully realised album to date. Founding member Matt FitzGerald chatted to Dan Rule about They Blind the Stars, and the Wild Team and the synthesis between sound and vision.
Your music has always transcended traditional song structure as such. What opened your mind to more experimental forms?
“To me it’s not about looking to do what has been done in the past and emulating that, but allowing yourself to be inspired by the reasons behind why artists played the way they did. For me there were things like Bitches Brew by Miles Davis, which is just crazy in terms of that notion of un-tethering, albums like Meddle by Pink Floyd, which is just such a journey, and of course, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and the whole shoegaze aspect, which was all about disorientation and having it just wash over you and leave this indelible mark on you as well.”
Decoder Ring has made its name on creating a visual as well as a sonic experience. What was the original impetus behind that?
“I’ve always found music as easy to see as to hear, from an early age. It’s always had a visual aspect for me. And that’s what’s so great about music; that it can open up the imagination and the subconscious in such a way. As a band, we’ve always had this thing of music, sound, vision, which were just three words on our first EP. But for us, they’re the three things that are Decoder Ring and we see them as being of equal substance and importance and it’s what, in combination, they create.”
Tell me about working on films. I can imagine it becomes much more of an analytical process, rather than a purely creative one.
“That’s exactly right. I mean, working on films is so much fun, but we really didn’t want to get trapped in that world. For one you have to really pick your projects, but also, it’s just this tiny narrative of one person’s life. What we’ve tried to do with the new album is use some of those elements of the soundtrack, but not to have it confined to the story of a movie.”
On Fractions, you seemed to be heading in more of a song and pop-based direction. They Blind the Stars… is more abstract than ever.
“It was an interesting kind of foray for us, but we really wanted to get back to what we were designed to do. When you really construct songs, you gain certain things, but you also lose other things. We spent a lot of time individually exploring sounds and then when we came together it was all very improvisational. We wanted to do something where you couldn’t really define instruments in a traditional sense and everything blurred together as a whole.”
What do you hope people can gain from your music?
“For us, it’s about rejecting the idea of the passivity of just listening and turning it into more of a shared sensory experience. I suppose that’s always been at our core. At an intellectual level, it’s sort of that abstract expressionist notion of overwhelming people to a point that brings it back down to an abstraction, which creates a pure emotion.”
They Blind the Stars, and the Wild Team is out July 11 via Inertia Recordings