StreetWave Media presents an exclusive interview with Progressive Power/Traditional Metal musician, Mattowarrior of Pathless Land, located in Madison, WI.. After our interview, check out the link below…
1. What made you decide to jump into the music industry or music business?
I was 10 years old. My 17-year-old brother (RIP) was living with my father (Who was divorced) for awhile after he stopped living in the foster home he was living in. My dad had bought him Iron Maiden’s Live After Death VHS tape for his birthday. I was at that time staying Saturday and Saturday night at my father’s house. My brother would walk to the nearby bowling alley to get laid or do drugs with his friends on Saturday Nights away from my fathers. I got bored one evening after my father had gone to bed and started watching the tape. I was told to stay away from Heavy Metal, it was for drug addicts, “Satanists”, whatever. But I started getting sucked in and by March I was a full blown Metalhead (this was February of that year) and the rest is history.
2. What do you think makes you stand out from all the other aspiring and upcoming artists in your genre of music?
A versatile view of history and the trends in Metal Music over the years. A critical ear towards stuff I dislike and think is detrimental to metal as a whole, and just the wide variety of influences that go into my music. I also oftentimes go for atmosphere, and that’s missing with a lot of the bands that just go “chugga chugga”.
3. If you could collaborate with ANY artist/band… Who would you choose and why?
With all due respect to working some of the greatest modern singers like Deibys Artigas (who is the session singer) on this album, I am forever grateful for this, I would have to say:
Erik Grönwall from Skid Row, formerly of H.E.A.T.
H.E.A.T II was one of my favorite albums of the past quarter century, and his voice has an edge and a vibe that I would LOVE to hear on many of my songs, especially songs like Time Will Tell (If Our Love Is Gonna Last).
4. What do you think is your biggest Advantage and your biggest Disadvantage about being an Indie artist?
The advantage is doing whatever the hell I want and not having to listen to anyone outside telling me what I should or shouldn’t do. People occasionally do but I’m not having to answer to anyone which is excellent as far as how the check gets cut or whatever.
The biggest disadvantage is getting people to care or pay attention. I’m just getting into the business of promoting this project more, and that’s a challenge with limited funds or time constraints.
5. Do you prefer the independent route or would you rather sign to a major record label, and why?
I wouldn’t mind a mid-sized indie label, but record labels are notorious for being snakes, so I’d be skeptical though less skeptical with a mid-sized one since they are balanced out by occasionally caring about the artist while actually promoting them, but it all depends.
6. Out of all the songs you’ve released, what do you think is your Best song and why?
Bloodlines (the title track) by far. I consider it the definitive statement of what Pathless Land is about, even if there are things I’d change about the mix and production (and yes performance) of the current version I admit I didn’t do because of lack of funds and time. I just wanted to get the sucker out! I envisioned a combination between 3 songs: Blind Guardian’s Imaginations From The Other Side, Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and Fates Warning’s At Fates Hands and think I got some of the atmosphere right. The song was partially written with a previous guitarist I was working with, only one riff on the second half (the more proggy part) remains from him and a previous version but I still gave him partial credit for the song since it’s one of the main riffs during that part. The rest I tried to get closer to being a full-blooded Progressive Metal song (with those late eighties Maiden touches added on) as much as I could, and I like the results. The song was inspired by a documentary I saw in 2013 with the same title, it was based on the whole “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” mythology that is also the basis of Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code, and the book Holy Blood Holy Grail (both of which I’ve read) of course. I am fascinated by the search for truth in general and questioning what we believe, paradigm shifts in thought, etc, and that’s what I wrote the song about. I want to do more “Prog” epics in the future and make them better and better!
7. Do you miss the era of CD sales OR do you prefer the new wave of music streaming? Explain…
Definitely CD sales. I’m glad Vinyl is making a comeback, I hate streaming music because it’s within the dictates of some big corporation that decides what goes on the platforms or not, and rights, etc. For example, there’s classic albums missing from streaming because of rights disputes with record companies, etc. I also don’t trust the technocrats who own big tech companies to respect the rights or income of artists, and the fact they can censor anyone anytime for any given reason. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took down artists because of “Wrongthink” in the future, or for other reasons. I like the mystique of the physical music era, the fact you had to work to hear an album or sound. I remember in mid-winter after a snowstorm growing up taking a bus across town just to buy a CD since I couldn’t find it at any other record store in town. There were a few times it took half the day especially with such weather! I was a man OBSESSED (what can I say)! And you often had to seek out magazines to read interviews or reviews, even when the internet was starting to become a thing. Now you can just stream something or “Sail the high seas” so to speak to hear something. The mystique and wonder is lost, and I think in part that in a way is a loss for the imagination which I think can trickle down to the creativity (or lack thereof nowadays).
8. Between creating in the studio OR performing live on stage, which is your most enjoyable one and why?
I’d say studio, because it gets me to engross myself in creativity. But don’t get me wrong, I come ALIVE on stage. So, I’d say it’s like 55 percent love studio, 45 percent live, though sometimes, 50/50.
9. During your entire journey through the music business, what would you consider your Worst experience?
Back in the day I was having a lot of issues mental healthwise that really interfered in the band I was in, we were at each other’s throats, and it was hard to deal with it. I’m probably not the same person as I was back then, but it sucked because we didn’t live up to our potential and could’ve gone a lot further if we would’ve made some changes. So the ending of that sucked, as well as a subsequent band I was in, where we struggled to get people to go to shows and be interested even when we got into a few higher profile venues. I’d say it’s not one experience that has been negative, it’s just a culmination of various factors that can be super frustrating and discouraging rather than just one.
10. What would you consider your most successful or proudest moment in your music career, so far?
Definitely this latest release, as imperfect as certain aspects of it are.
11. If any, what discourages you the Most about music industry these days?
The fact that the classic Rock and Roll lifestyle doesn’t exist as much, for various reasons. I miss the days when you had members of bands like Guns and Roses kicked off awards shows for swearing, or you were generally concerned for your daughter or wife being seduced by the rock stars coming to town and had to watch out! Rock and Metal have become super safe and part of the Establishment. It’s a lot of middle-class NERDS who got into it, and I’m somewhat part of that crowd too I guess, but I think that the pendulum has swung a bit far too much in that direction. It’s too SAFE! I miss the days when many of the rock and metal fans were the type to sniff whiteout and zone out while listening to Pink Floyd and were worried about their felony hindering getting them the manager job at McDonald’s while they were fixing the Camaro that was on their front lawn! Nowadays people treat metal like it’s Disney or something. I don’t think Pathless Land is supposed to be super dangerous or something (though some other projects I’m involved with may be more), but it’s kind of indicative of the willingness to not take chances and challenge the status quo I see in Metal nowadays. I mean, I’ve heard of band members being kicked out of bands for not supporting the same puppet politicians that the other members do. That’s just lame, man that’s just ridiculous! There’s also less financial incentive, which obviously goes along with everything else, as well. This all trickles down to other aspects like production, etc. I mean, how many albums have that Andy Sneap but if it were done with AI sound and with far less class with the typewriter sounding triggered drums with the robotic quantized pro tooled to death song structures? Countless! The same chugga chugga downtuned riffs with the same autotuned or melodyned clean vocals over the top that were scribbed from boy bands or emo but not Ronnie James Dio, and the indistinguishable “Extreme” vocals that sound like a lobotomized pig from hell, not like a gigantic demonic lion you could still decipher what they were saying like you could with guys like Glenn Benton or Barney Greenway. Yeah call me jaded, but things were better back in the day! That’s why I defend a band like modern Opeth. They’ve dialed it back a bit since their more Death Metal oriented days, but hey, I’d rather hear 50 different weird jazz chords they do with lighter distortion rather than if they tried to go Djent or whatever and play open chords that would sound like distorted Morse Code farts in drop F tuning! Don’t get me wrong though, I like old Meshuggah and some stuff like Animals as Leaders, I’m just remarking about the groupthink that’s happening in Metal nowadays, and not just in extreme metal!
And while there seems to be less barriers to entry than there were in the old days, the bar is lower as far as how far up you can go. I miss the days when Metal bands played in stadiums and could draw huge crowds in the States. It still happens with some bands, but it’s less common because you see someone like Taylor Swift doing that and not an up-and-coming Metal band. It’s less incentive because often you have to haul ass at your shitty corporate job then drive 100 miles to a show all by yourself, rather than get a record company advance that allows you to buy the Victorian mansion you always wanted. Despite my previous rant though, AT LEAST this weeds out the posers and allows for people who actually have passion for the music to usually play, despite my reservations about modern productions and approaches within the music itself.
12. What inspires you the Most about the music industry these days?
The fact that people are less tribal and elitist, even though I’m somewhat of a gatekeeper myself.
Just to give an example, the past few years I’ve occasionally dated some women in their twenties. Awhile ago I dated someone in that demographic, and we’d drive around, and when she was driving, she’d stream David Bowie or Lady Gaga and then stream something like Cattle Decapitation or The Sisters of Mercy, all on the same ride! Back in the day when I was coming up, music was way more segregated and if she were like a goth in the nineties to give an example and heard metal she might be saying “stop playing that cock rock” or say “it all sounds like Metallica” because of lack of knowledge or something like that. It would’ve been very unlikely that she would be listening to such a variety of music, even if it’s all rock related. I got enough crap for liking a variety myself, namely metal and punk growing up. People saw me as this “weird hesher” they couldn’t really peg lol. People, especially younger people are way more open minded now, though sometimes being less tribal about your musical tastes can dilute the passion a bit too from what I’ve seen. Music is seen by some people as just background noise to listen to while you’re on your Instagram or whatever, rather than something to fight about literally physically!
13. If you wasn’t in the music business or industry, what do you think you would be doing with your life instead?
Well I currently work at a shitty corporate job that is still a lot better than my previous shitty corporate job I once had, I don’t support myself with music or my other side occupations though I’d love to. I write, am a commentator on YouTube and other sites, and am trying to get more into tech stuff ironically enough, but I guess I’d love to support myself with some of my commentator stuff, my stand up comedy, or writing if I could. Or filmmaking.
14. In your own opinion, What is the current music scene like in your local area?
It’s a million times better than it was, but it still can improve. A lot of gentrification in general is making more apartments and condos for rich tech workers in the area, so they’re tearing down some classic places and I think venues may follow. Also, to be FRANK about it (people local will get the reference hehe), the monopolization of the local music scene by ONE company concerns me too. That said, as far as the style of music I play, it wasn’t like this years ago as far as actual bands around playing similar styles. I used to always be the odd man out, I worked downtown years back, and I bet in a 5 square mile radius back then you would not find ANYONE else at one point wearing German Power Metal or Norwegian Black Metal shirts under their Walgreen’s smock! For years, there was a lot of “Metalphobia” and it was more of a punk/alternative town. But that’s changed a lot in recent years!
15. What is your latest release and where fans can find it?
On the bandcamp, and there is a limited run of cds I’m about to put up too.
16. What is on your agenda or what can fans expect to see from you in 2023?
I’m doing another EP this fall and another video for a song soon. I’m going to promote these and try to allure prospective band members (non-session) for a live band, probably more. I’m going to continue playing shows with the cover band I’m in, Rock Invasion, as well.
I already have concepts in mind for the next album as well, even a title which I know is crazy but whatever!
Stay tuned for more!
Visit online: https://pathlessland.bandcamp.com/
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