It’s a cold and
sunny winter day today.
When I arrive to the embankment where stands the Guinguette Pirate,
I see three guys with big bags in their hands and on their backs.
“Certainly Tex La Homa”, I
say to myself.
And it is.
“Salut je suis Sean de Talitres.
Je vais te présenter Tex La Homa.”
One’s got a guitar : “hello I’m Matt”.
It’s Matt Shaw the man who is TEX LA HOMA.
One’s got keyboards : it’s Gish
who’s playing live with Matt since 2003. They are just coming
from London for the first Tex La Homa show in france.
Just after we sit down inside the guinguette’s cabin, a warmer
Matt is very nice : he likes to talk about his music that is very
personal and a perfect union between acoustic and electro ambient
sounds. He is happy to play in Paris.
It’s an historical moment : the first TEX LA HOMA interview
realized in France.
Tex La Homa will be two people tonight ?
(Matt) Yes. I’m going to be singing, playing
guitar and doing some effects. Gish’ got a mixing desk on
stage. We’ve got a lot of different effects and many desks
: he can do some different sounds. So when you take the record,
the sounds feel close live.
Will Your songs sound as on the cd ?
(Matt) Some of them. It’s kinda of what is on
the record but it can not be exactly the same, some will sound completely
different, completely acoustic with guitar and no drums, no backing
just effects on vocals and guitar. On the record some have drums,
some have rhythms made in the studio. We can trick the things live
with the mixing desk so we can control the way we want to go, like
sequencing the beat. We can create different versions of the songs.
It’s quite free for us to do what we want. And it depends
of how the gig goes on, and of the crowd response.
What do you prefer : playing with a band or alone
(Matt) I prefer to be close to a couple of people
than more because I have more control to explain the way things
are, the way things sound and I don’t have to teach different
people used to play with different paces.
It’s not always the same collaborators ?
(Matt) It’s different people. (looking at Gish)
At the moment, for this tour, we are just the two of us. Maybe one
more person sometimes.
(Gish) Our collaboration started in November last year.
(Matt) Yes our first gig together was in November. Before that,
there were constantly different members. All the time there were
different people available : different people come and different
people go, most of them were in various bands.
You never think to have always the same members?
(Matt) I think we will now, with this tour. It works
really well for now.
People use to say your music is like an original
soundtrack for imaginary films.
Are you agree with them? Are you using real images for your songwriting
or do you create pictures in your mind?
(Matt) Most of the songs come from real things that
happened or may happen to me or my friends. It’s just observations
about all the things I see. Most of them come from reality and some
begin with real things and go somewhere else, come from ordinary
life and become more cinematic. But they are all based in reality
and of lots are graphical.
What’s the main influence for you : images
you see or sounds you hear?
(Matt) It’s a mix : all kind of things. I’ve
got melodies all the time, melodies are going in my head and I try
to transfer them in some way with the computer or with the guitar.
It’s a mix of all the real things around me and the things
in my mind.
Do the lyrics have an important place in your songs?
(Matt) They do. I like songs like “in the clouds”
(from the new lp “If just today...”) talking about real
things always happen in relationship or about all the feelings when
you are in love. In a relationship there are some different phases,
some of them will be really happy, others all the things goes bad
You can find the lyrics on the website, in the english part. You
just click on the album cover.
Your voice on “in the clouds” is higher
than on the other tracks. Are you using your voice as any other
(Matt) Yes. That is the case. Now for often, new songs
will be more like “in the clouds”. I will really sing
more on. When I first started everything was spoken or whispered,
very quiet and I mixed low. The lyrics were very important but my
voice was always low in the mix because I lost my days to learn
to put all the things together, like on the first record. So on
the new record, the voice is higher, I’m singing more and
gain use to play. The first record came before I’ve really
played live. It began in a bedroom, recording our first project
before I’ve built a studio in a house where I can play more.
So I developed a very personal “bedroom project” and
I wanted to play live so it came to evolve.
Who’s the girl singing on “never boring”?
(Matt, laughing) There was me singing! It was me singing
high and I put some effects... My sister plays on the record, it
was interesting because she’s not really a player, she’s
not in any band. She came to stay with me so she’s going to
play the flute.
Your music is like a struggle between acoustic sounds
and ambient electronic sounds. Sometimes acoustic side wins, sometimes
the other one. Do you feel this way?
(Matt) Right. But when I sit down to record I don’t
think it’s gonna be an acoustic sound or it’s gonna
be an electronic. I have ideas for the way I want to begin the songs
and things evolve by themselves. Sometimes I’ve got an idea,
which takes me to a more electronic direction, it just depends.
Songs like “in the clouds” was written with an acoustic
guitar but there are a progression and some arrangements. Some songs
like “when you close your eyes” or “of electronic
origin” first starts with the beat and I’m building
layers, crating some different layers of sound, and I arrange everything.
I don’t really know what happens when I’m writing a
Sometimes you cover Sophia. What are your relations
with Sophia? Are you covering other bands?
(Matt) The Sophia thing came around because
I was a really big fan of The Godmachine and I’ve seen the
Godmachine live years ago when they toured in England. And when
the band blew up because Jimmy died, I bought the first Sophia album
and I really loved it. There were other bands in the press and you
didn’t see Sophia. They were underground, not well known and
it was quite hard to find. Now Sophia is more popular but in the
same time where we’ve played it not many people know Sophia.
So when we played the song live, not a lot of people knew it was
a cover, they thought it was a Tex La Homa song. We played the song
a lot live and on the website I do a diary [ ndr : of the live performances]
and a guy from Belgium who’s got a Sophia website asked me
if I had a record of it but I said we haven’t recorded it
yet so we recorded it just on the afternoon and sent him, not for
a CD, but only for the website. It’s a really nice thing,
he emailed Robin [from Sophia] and mailed me back he really liked
the version. It’s great because I’m a big fan.
We don’t do many covers even if I like almost all bands from
the early nineties like My Bloody Valentine. When I first recorded
songs it was when “Loveless” was out and this movement
influenced me. Now again My Bloody Valentine seems to be everywhere
in the press may be because Kevin Shields made the “Lost in
translation” OST and is playing with Primal Scream.
When I first saw the artwork of your new album,
I said “oh! What a strange artwork!” but it’s
really nice according to your music. How did you meet Masayuki Miyoshi
(Matt) He emailed me two years ago he really
likes Tex La Homa and wrote “I really love to work with you
on a project.” At this time I didn’t have a website
and he was a website designer so he builded a website for me because
he’s a fan of the band and he loved it. We've kept the contact
by emails but I never met him in person. He sends me a lot of images
like the album cover images, the front cover, and I really liked
the way to go because of the graphic design. He works for a lot
of different bands like Her space holidays.
It’s a long go relationship started with the website, the
website designing and the record cover because he really understands
the way it sounds as he is a fan. Between us, we pick images and
put the things together because I control how it looks. I control
the way it looks, the way it sounds. How it’s presented is
important I think.
Masa’s got a good eye and he understands the music.
Can you describe your music with three words?