Mattergy – Interview

Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: What type of artist are you?

M: We’re a progressive metal band based in Latvia (with our vocalist in the UK).


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.

M: Mattergy was formed in 2016 by Aigars Aress Māls (Enhet) and Ivars Kalniņš (Bruit Monkey, The Mascaron). Andris Buikis, a well-known Latvian drummer joined the band shortly after, and then Tobias Sarra, a British avant-garde/folk musician joined as lead vocalist in 2017 while he was living in Riga. Back then the band was playing with Stanislavs Yudins as bassist, a popular double bassist on the Latvian jazz/improvisation scene. Stanislavs left the band and was replaced by Ilvars Vitolins, who now also makes the visual art for the band’s releases. We’ve been working hard over the years on composition, recording and production, building a strong local following around our sound. We’re now focusing on live shows and taking our music to a wider international audience.


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

M: One thing that makes the band special (we believe), is our eclectic mix of musical influences. Aigars and Ivars are very influenced by metal, especially prog – bands like Dream Theatre, Karnivool, Periphery, Sikth, Meshuggah, Tesseract, Caligula’s Horse, Haken. Andris comes from a jazz background, and is influenced by Genesis, Dave Weckl band and Simon Phillips. Ilvars is mainly influenced by jazz, fusion, latin, artists like Jaco Pastorius, Anthony Jackson, Tom Kennedy and Brian Bromberg. Tobias is inspired by art-pop, experimental improvisation, folk/traditional sounds and everything in-between – Matana Roberts, Blake Mills, Tori Kudo, Yves Jarvis, Sóley, Michael Hurley, Busdriver, Milo, Amanda Palmer, Arthur Russell, Claire Rousay, Tigran Hamasyan, Sibusile Xaba, Scroobius Pip, Kae Tempest.


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

M: The big dream is to be known globally, to be playing at stadiums and huge venues all over the world, with thousands of fans singing back our tunes, knowing every word and every note from the riffs to the guitar solos.


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

M: For the first album , Aigars wrote all of the original backing and the ‘skeleton’ compositions – the concepts and ideas for each song were his. Tobias then wrote lyrics and melodies over the top of those structures, following and elaborating on the themes Aigars had written, sometimes echoing the guitar melodies and sometimes creating new lines. All band members have worked on final song arrangements and Andris took the lead on synth parts, whilst Ivars covered the main bulk of technical recording work.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

M: Ivars heads up promotion, with help from Aigars. Ivars is the ‘systematic thinker’, planning how and when we’re promoting. We mainly use Facebook and Instagram to keep our followers up to date with what we’re doing. Reddit also seems to be a strong platform for us, and Radio SWH Rock Latvia have had us on for interviews a couple of times.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

M: We’re keen on Bandcamp for the possibilities it offers to buy direct from artists you like. Let’s be honest, the current streaming model doesn’t really support new and emerging artists, and even some of the big players don’t earn huge amounts through Spotify for example. We’re all adapting as best as we can to the changing demands of the digital age, and in a way streaming has opened the floor more than ever before for independent artists to start to gain a following without going through the traditional label model. Practically, we love being able to listen to new music almost constantly, for very low cost, and being able to download the songs I like to listen offline with never-before-seen ease, but we’d like to see fairer redistribution costs introduced in the major streaming platforms.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

M: (Tobias) This is a great, and incredibly difficult question… I’m a sucker for big pop songs – the one I always go back to is ‘And the Beat Goes On’ by The Whispers… The whole composition is unreal, and the lyrical arrangement (with backing voices complementing lead vocalist) is one of my favourites of all time. Runner ups from the rock world include The Mars Volta – The Widow, Primus – Tommy The Cat, Incubus – Azwethinkweiz, System of a Down – Chop Suey!

Also I WISH I’d written Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Prelude Op. 32, No. 10 in B Minor. Seriously, seriously gorgeous piano music.


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

M: Genre-discrimination. Good music is good music, no matter the genre, period.

I also hate it when people display their creative opinions as fact – each to their own and nothing is ‘wrong’ in the world of creativity.

Lack of empathy for other’s work and creativity.


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

M: Our proudest moment so far would be our album presentation concerts where we managed to get full venues and still we are receiving a lot of positive feedback. As a band, we’re currently ranked 1st in Radios SWH’s ‘Priekšnams’ competition for our song ‘Turbulence Unknown’. ‘After 2 months of voting, 3 (three) musicians / groups, whose songs have won the highest number of votes, will be invited to participate in the concert at the Rock Cafe Riga “PRESENTATION OFFER”. The creators of the show can invite other musicians to participate in the concert, if they have shown something remarkable’. We’re really hoping we can stay at the top! Voting ends at the end of May, so you can still head over there to register your vote and boost our chances at winning.


PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

M: As a band we’re focusing on live shows for the next few months – we’ve got a couple of shows/festival slots lined up in Latvia in May and June, with plans in the works for more shows later in the year. We’re hoping to get together soon to start work on our 2nd studio album. The plan for the 2nd album is to take a more collaborative approach from the get-go, with each member of the band bringing ideas and compositions to be sculpted as a group.


PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from? 

M: Our entire debut album ‘Primordial Wrath’ is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, YouTube, Deezer and beyond. You can buy the digital album from Bandcamp, and we also have T shirts and Hoodies for sale at our live shows.

Mattergy links:
Band/Artist location – Riga, Latvia
Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – 
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Last Fm
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