Ann Arbor’s Matthew Dear released his long-awaited artist album, “Asa Breed,” at the beginning of June. A musical effort divergent from his dancefloor-oriented outputs as Audion and False, Dear’s experimental electronic-pop tracks have impressed both critics and popular audiences. Borrowing musical elements from such disparate genres as folk, rock, afro-beat and techno, the body of work features Dear’s vocals and authentic songwriting. To support the “Asa Breed” album, Matthew Dear officially started touring around Europe a couple of months ago, performing his futuristic pop songs via laptop and microphone, supported by drummer Mark Maynard and bassist John Gaviglio. Maynard and Gaviglio also act as backup vocalists for the band, dubbed Matthew Dear’s Big Hands.
Having done a short trial run with Matthew Dear’s Big Hands this past spring (with one of the few tour stops at Chicago’s Empty Bottle), Dear candidly admits that he faces obvious challenges with his current live setup. “It’s freaky because it’s a departure from everything from my techno shows…from the way the crowd reacts to my music, to the way I perform,” he explains. “It’s a totally different world when you start singing and getting up on stage with a band.”
Now with some experience under his belt, he proudly, but modestly, asserts, “I’m definitely getting more comfortable as the front man or as the singer. I wanted to find myself, and I didn’t want to fake it, you know, I didn’t want to force anything. But, I want to be entertaining at times. I think I’m learning my role on stage and learning how to open up as much as I can to the audience.”
Dear plans to continue releasing both computer-based dancefloor tracks and also songs like those heard on “Asa Breed” that will incorporate more organic songwriting and live instrumentation. Enamored with techno and DJ culture and having grown up a guitar player with a musical father, Dear says, “I’m really at home and comfortable with both realms.” (Elly Rifkin)
Matthew Dear’s Big Hands performs live, joining Kompakt DJ Superpitcher and Screendoor at Smart Bar, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203 on October 26, at 10pm. $15.