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Dark noisescapes and haunting acoustic textures blend in seamlessly to create a fascinating and unsettling auditory experience called Third Eye Foundation. This is electronic music at its most tense, filtered through an uncanny imagination, for when the night starts to draw in. It’s not easy to find a specific slot within the electronic genre to put TEF in.
Your first three studio albums are a ride through the dark side of the “Drill ‘n’ bass” genre. Your music defies categorisation but do you feel comfortable with that one?
I generally think of Alec Empire stuff when i think of drill and bass, i’m not really sure where I fit in which i think is the heart of all my problems/inspiration.
I believe that cinema and music are capable of anything. In the hands of an artist like you, sounds can forge links with the listener’s subconscious and trigger their imagination. ‘Ghost’, can tear through my sound system and run me over, so to speak.
Did you know you have the capacity to accomplish this?
I think thats what i was aiming for, just to tap in to the parts of the mind that even ourselves dont know too much about, but its very difficult to know how ones music will affect someone else as when i listen to my music i just hear the processes of how i made it and am usually very unhappy with the results; i’d love to be able to hear my stuff as other people hear it for a day or something.
Are you interested in film? What are your favourite movies ever, Matt?
My favourite films and i love plenty, are 2001 a space oddysee, wings of desire, leon, blade runner, fist of legend, but these are just the first that popped into my head, i am a great lover of films, more so than music i think.
’You Guys Kill Me’ toys with our imagination, it transports us into a flow state or zone. The same thing happens when you are totally absorbed in a picture or thought and you don’t pay attention to anything else. You have no awareness of time.
Before you go in the studio, do you have themes in mind that you’d like to expend on? Or do you just switch on your equipment and belt some tunes out?
I just switch on my stuff, sometimes i have ideas or a goal in mind but usually the particular idea doesnt work but while chasing that idea something else happens, and i just end up where i end up, although now i’m having a bit more luck with the things i plan actually working.
An album should be treated as a piece of art. The artwork is the extension of music as art. The cover artwork of your records is a disturbing and cynical commentary on how many concepts, particularly that of religion, are being manipulated.
Am I off track?
I think with You Guys I just thought that you may as well stick a lion’s head on jesus because i truly believe that he was a totally different person than we are led to believe, i’m not actually religious, i do believe jesus existed, but (its going to get a bit heavy now, but you did ask) he was a freedom fighter, he was against the backwards religion of the time, it was out of touch with what he saw was god, not the over simplified humanised god but a surreal god, something far bigger than mankind can comprehend, if jesus was alive now i truly believe he’d shoot the pope, most of the bible is just bullshit but i do think him storming the temple was probably the most real.
Good electronic musicians, or better still, artists, craft music of spectacular originality by bending the rules of conventional song writing. In these circles one can find acts like Boards of Canada, Autechre and Plaid.
What do you make out of these electro artists? Which TEF production shows Matt Elliott as an intelligent electronic musician of that calibre?
I really like boards and early autechre, but personally i’m not too fond of overly abstract music maybe i just dont get it.
If you had to handpick just one artist/band to remix your work… who would that be?
What would your reaction be if, in a few years time, your son comes up to you and says: “Dad, ‘Corpses as Bedmates’ makes me feel miserable”?
I dont think his mother will let him listen to my music (joke) but I’d probably say, “I’m not surprised son, it makes me miserable as well”
Apart from writing and producing music, you do some Dj’ing. What sorts of stuff do you play in your DJ sets?
I’m what I’d call a strictly amateur dj, as i found out last weekend; my set goes from alec empire style ragga, techno animal, missy elliott a bit of garage and hip hop, whatever i feel like really, unfortunately people tend to like one sort of music all the time, but there you go.
You received warm reception by popular music magazines, namely NME and Q. Writing spooky stuff like you do, and getting appreciation by such mainstream mags. How does that make you feel?
It doesnt really affect me, i think its nicer when just ordinary people e mail me or whatever and say nice things, then i know that there is no alterior motive, and my music is for people not journalists, having said that it is quite nice to be appreciated by anyone.
Would you abandon your cult musical status to drift in the commercial music business sphere? Let me put this blatantly.. what would you do if Madonna approaches you to produce her upcoming album with a million pound cheque in her hand?
Difficult one, but one that realistically wouldnt happen, its pointless saying that i wouldnt say yes to producing it for loads of money because i simply dont know until it happened, i think a more realistic thing would be an advert, i really hate all forms of advertising and have turned them down in the past, but for enough money its easy to say yes, i’m a struggling artist with a young family to support, but i would lose a lot of sleep.
Third Eye Foundation’s music isn’t intended to cheer you up. At times it is violent and abrasive, at other times it may be smooth but the sound is constantly sinister and dark. TEF can be aptly defined as ‘a collision of hip incoherence and elliptical horror noir prompted by excruciating existential paranoia’.
Matt, what do you think the future has in store for us?
We are all going to die.
”I poopoo on your Juju” is the most seemingly linear and accessible Matt Elliott album to date. However, this linearity is all illusion, because the ‘straight road’ you think you’re travelling down will mysteriously turn back on itself and bring you back to initial point.
Can you tell me more about the intellectual side of the title “i poopoo on your juju”?
It was just something that came to me that i thought was funny at the time, i know its stupid but coming up with titles is always a pain in the arse whatever you call it people will say oooh its pretentious or throw away or whatever, i just dont care anymore.
A sort of sustained silence lies between the release of one record and the other. Am i going to have to suffer this silence for long before your next record is out?
A lot depends on whether any bastard will put out my next record, but in the meantime its largely going to plan.
Thanks for your precious time Matt. Good luck in anything you embark on.
Third Eye Foundation’s full-length records are “Ghost” (1997), “You Guys Kill Me” (1998), “Little Lost Soul” (2000), and “I Poopoo on your Juju” (2001). The latter, a brilliant selection of Matt Elliott’s interpretations of other artists songs (yes, I know I could have said ‘remixes’, but I didn’t), marked the end of TEF.
However, Eliott didn’t quit altogether. 2003 saw the release of “The Mess We Made” under his own name. He retained the melancholic feel of his earlier work, but gone are the chaotic, noisy elements that used to rein his sound. What we have here is a departure in structure and tone, an extremely downbeat record: personal, intense and slow.