“My voice was like on every fuckin’ house track,” sings Matthew Koma in Hard to Love, the second single from his first solo album. It feels weird typing those last few words as Matthew has been in the music industry for the longest time. But as the lyric suggests, for a long while, he’s only lent his literal and symbolic voice to artists and songs we have raved to.
“I don’t know if you ever find it,” Matthew reflects on what many call “finding your voice” for the album. “You’re always kind of trying to honor whatever truth is inside of you, be it a lyric or a genre direction. You’re always searching — and you’re always channeling (ideas and) experiences into their most honest version. That ‘voice’ changes through time just like our actual voice changes through time,” he continues.
What’s clear in this record is that he got to turn inwards. “Because I wasn’t collaborating with other artists for their vision,” explains Matthew. “It was for me to ask, ‘Who am I and what does this body represent? What am I saying and why is it different from what I’ve said in the context of songs with Zedd or in the context of songs with Alesso? Why is this mine?’ …I think you’re continuously finding your voice,” reiterates the musician. “And as long as you’re honoring that truth, it’s okay to go left or go right.”
The record’s done, he confirms and assures us that new music — “tons of it” — will be released each month. The next one is a track with Ghastly, which he previewed in his DJ set at Chaos Manila last March 11 — his third visit in the Philippines in three years. He’s also the nightclub’s resident international DJ, which means he’ll return two more times this 2017.
“Performing is the exact opposite of writing songs and producing. It’s all about the extroverted, the connection, and it gives you a high that is unbelievable to describe,” says Matthew on the distinct joys of playing in front of an audience. “Hearing people sing back to you words that your wrote in your bedroom, the way you would at your favorite artist’s concert, is mind-blowing.”
Matthew works on every department of music-making and performance. But the singer, songwriter, DJ, and producer shares that he feels most at home with writing songs. We bet that we’re not alone in waiting for the day that the DJ takes a break and the singer-songwriter takes the stage. Because we’re impatient, we ask Matthew when we shall have that pleasure of watching him sing live with his acoustic guitar. “God willing soon enough. That’s where this is going,” he answers. “That’s where this record is taking us, for sure.”
(Photos courtesy of Chaos Manila)