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"Jason" T-Shirt
  • "Jason" T-Shirt

"Jason" T-Shirt


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The "Ladycakes" design on a beautiful Bella + Canvas t-shirt.

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Jason Matu

Jason Matu here. I’m back to doing my indie space folk dream rock thing. Genres are pretty last century, if you ask me. Hope you didn’t miss me too much. It's been a journey. Not too long ago, I put the long-awaited finishing touches on my latest album, “Dialogues Concerning the Mojo of Jason Matu.” I’m proud to say that this is my most pretentiously titled album yet. Here's the “private” Soundcloud link to the album. As a person smarter than most, you can have access to it now. It'll be trickling out for the public as I see fit. TBD.

The genesis of this long player was a little unusual. This is actually the first album that I produced myself. Naturally, I had several co-producers who helped immeasurably. Contrary to the custom I’ve had since we did “Psychic Dissonance from the Unself” in 2011, I did not record most of this one with Justin Craig, long-time certified by me musical genius, who got far too busy being the music director for the recent hit music-heavy play, Stereophonic.

We did start work on it together, though. We did a few vibes seshes to start feeling it out. This is a sesh in which a group lays down a minimal version of the song with the intent of divining the vibe that the song will ultimately comprise. From that we got a few songs with Justin playing drums. Two of these were ultimately used in vibe sesh fashion.

The idea was that I would then take the drum tracks and lay down demo stuff over it. Then we would retrack everything at a studio (preferably in the Catskills). (This is the sort of plan you make when you don’t have a lot to do. Seems sort of absurd now.) I took these tracks to the Hobbit Hole, my Bushwick basement studio, and subscribed to the Universal Audio Sparkpack, fired up my u-he Diva, grabbed my Epiphone acoustic and electric guitars, pulled my Fender P-bass bass down off the shelf and proceeded to demo the heck out of those tracks.

At first it felt super weird being a producer, especially because it’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the innumerable different choices available in the modern world for a would be hit maker such as myself. Generally, though, I had pretty strong ideas for what I wanted out of the songs. Sometimes, those ideas didn’t pan out and I just messed around until I got something that sounded cool. 

I think I did “Dying of the Cure” first. To be completely honest, I had already recorded “Home Is Not a Place” (with my dude, who produced, mixed and drummed on the track, Tareq Knocks, and the ever lovable vagabond, Casual Drifter, on guitar, in Bisbee, Arizona) and “Susan,” (in the Hobbit Hole, but before, mixed by the aforementioned Justin). I was under the mistaken impression that those two songs were destined for different releases at the time. At the time, I was certain I was going to make a purely philosophical album about drinking and quantum vibrations, or something of that nature. 

Around then, my Shapes on Tape bandmate, Adam Kruckenberg, started sharing the Hobbit Hole with me, and started collaborating on the tracks here and there. Adam and I messed around on “Believe Your Seeing,” with the drum machine thing being a creature entirely of Adam’s imagination. Adam, with absolutely no shame about blatantly copying, tried to make “Lost My Mojo (And Both of My Dogs)” sound as much like Tame Impala as possible, which I thought and still think is hilarious, because before I started recording it, I thought I had written a country song. 

Along the way, north Hollywood impresario and living legend, Loren Israel, jumped onboard to executive produce three tracks. I had been sending Loren songs for several years for feedback as I was writing them. So naturally, I sent Loren the demo for “New Person.” Immediately after I sent it, he called me up and asked if he could send me a production of it. I already had a pretty fleshed out demo, but his passion convinced me to say yes. It was and is astounding, in my ever humble opinion. He sliced it and diced it, but the acoustic guitar and vocal in it are the same as on the demo that I sent him. I thought we were going to re-record those parts, but nope. Theme for the album, I guess. The other two, “Hear Me” and “Mr. So and So” did have slightly more revision. 

When I needed a little help on the bass on the track, “Look, Mom, It's the Boss,” my pal and one half of The Moon City Masters, Jordan Steinberg, came over and laid down something truly inspired. He also took the pic of me playing the acoustic guitar in L.A. in the press materials, when we were rehearsing to play Hotel Cafe. It's nice to have friends.

All of the songs, except “Home Is Not a Place,” started as acoustic songs. It was my express intention to borrow as much recording technique as possible from the then most recent Big Thief album. That did not happen at all, either. I honestly don't know why I even try to have creative plans. I do like making them though, even if I never stick to them.

Instead, I scrambled together this jalopy of an album. She’s real weird, but I love her. 

This is an album about the reaffirmation of my mojo, a term that is not stupid or silly at all, and is, in point of fact, really cool and poetic, just so you know. If you have ever reclaimed your mojo from the abyss, I’m sure you understand. 

Extra special thanks to Esther Ruiz for making me feel so special and for taking hundreds of photographs of me. 

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