It sometimes feels rare to hear an electronic group that breaks barriers and produces a wholly unique sound. I, for one, attend musical festivals often and find that the electronic sounds sometimes blend together into one manufactured sound. With booming bass that crawls up your legs, tempos that build into the drop of a new beat, and familiar rhythms and tempos that seem interchangeable between artists and songs, electronic music has managed to become fairly uniform overall. If you’re desperately in need of an electronic group that breaks the mold and revitalizes your love of the genre, you’ve gone to the right place.
MISSIO, the alternative electronic duo consisting of David Butler and Matthew Brue, completely alters the way you think of the genre. None of their songs sound familiar to any other group in the genre and, better yet, none of their songs sound similar to each other. They are an entirely unique duo with truly inspired music, and they seem to be gathering fans and speed quite fast. Though Matthew and David only united forces a year and a half ago, they’ve already been making a mark on the international music scene.
Upon hearing some of MISSIO’s amazing work and getting to know their amazing, albeit brief, history, I reached out to the group to see if either of the men would spare a moment to talk to a journalist/adoring fan. Matthew Brue, the electronic angel that he is, was overjoyed to talk to his fans and quick to agree to an interview. Get to know more about Matthew and his groundbreaking work in alternative electronica with MISSIO.
Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview, I can’t wait for some of your fan base to get to know the men behind the music.
Matthew (M): Thank you again for the opportunity.
MISSIO is a surprisingly young band: you only joined forces with David Butler back in January of 2015. Can you talk about what ideas and hopes you two had for your music when you planned to produce? Furthermore, I’d love to hear about your journey from newbs on the scene to viral hits.
M: It seems to be a very uninspiring answer and I wish I could make us sound as though we actually knew what the hell we were doing (laughs)! But, honesty is preferred by most ‘so I’ve learned.’ Up to this point, we have stumbled into a lot of opportunities by simply saying yes. We would rather make mistakes, all the while moving forward, than be fearful of taking risks and have nothing to show for it. Our process goes like this: 1. We’re inspired. 2. We write songs. 3. We release the songs. I’ve been blown away by our supporters who genuinely ‘make the music go around.’ It’s their incredible efforts that help get our music heard with their passion for what we do. They are the ones that have helped us go from ‘newbs on the scene to the viral charts.’ It’s something we both can’t say thank you enough for.
You guys have a lot of amazing music and, unlike a lot of mainstream electronic artists, each and every song I’ve heard sounds entirely unique. If I tried to compare MISSIO’s portfolio of work to another artist’s, I would really struggle to pinpoint someone similar (which is awesome; mad props and kudos go out to you).
M: Thank you, that’s something we strive for in the studio. It’s really encouraging that you notice our work in that regard.
Do you have any personal heroes in the industry that inspire you and your work? What about in your direct work with MISSIO; do you and David have any influences or inspirations you hold close when hard at work producing new music?
M: In this day and age, it’s incredibly difficult for me personally to hear a song that genuinely impacts my emotions on a level to where I need to listen to the song for days on end. There’s just such an influx of music currently that it takes me a while to find that ‘thing’ that every artist is looking for. As a collective duo, we’re both inspired by the production elements of hip-hop tracks such as older Jay-Z and Missy Elliot. They’ve always just done it right in our opinion. As far as personal heroes, I would have to say Thom Yorke (RadioHead) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), and on a producer level Rick Ruben (Grammy award winning producer).
I have to also note some of your covers that I’ve found. As a huge fan of The Cranberries, I love your “Zombie” cover; it updates the song for a new generation of listeners. Further, I think I personally like your cover of Lana Del Rey’s “West Coast” better than the original (blasphemy, I know). What inspired you to produce covers of these particular songs?
M: Together, we both look for darker sounding tracks that speak to us on another level than just “that beat/riff is cool.” Both of those songs spoke to us in ways that resonated with us as artists. We came to the decision early on that we will not release something that we expect people to relate with if we cannot relate with it first. We’re not interested in covering a song because it’s popular and will “get the plays up.” We want to be releasing material that gives people that emotional impact that we’re all looking for in our lives.
Your latest release, “I Don’t Even Care About You” has some stellar songs on it, but I won’t lie: the titular song is absolutely addictive. It has the sound of a song heard on soundtracks to badass movies; it fires up the body and, personally, it makes me feel like the toughest chick in the room. It also tends to lean even further from what I’ve been trying to define as your ‘typical sound’ (like I’ve said, that’s been really difficult). It definitely feels like this song was motivated by something different than the rest of the E.P. Any backstory behind the creation of this awesome song you’d like to share?
I’ve had an interesting past with a lot of struggle that has led the way for the content of most of the songs you’ve heard from MISSIO. “I Don’t Even Care About You” describes the mindset of depression. In a way, depression can be a beautiful reality as it allows people to experience a very honest emotion. At the same time, though, it’s aggressive, it’s rugged, and, often times, it’s f****d up. We wanted to convey in the verse melodies the honest emotion of depression while keeping the track aggressive in its form.
After watching the music video for “Can I Exist,” I definitely had tears in my eyes. When writing and producing the song, was it always your intent to make it so politically charged and topical to the racial crimes of today? If not, when did you realize you wanted this song and music video to address this issue in such a bold and powerful way?
M: Like I said, a lot of our songs deal with the difficulties of real life. “Can I Exist” is another one of these songs that was actually written to describe depression and the effects that addiction can have on a person. It’s important to us to be working with people who understand these dark realities of life, as well as artists who we are fans of. Jeff Ray (writer/director) has been a long-time friend of ours and actually approached us about creating a video for the song. He had a vision that he presented to us that incorporated the racial issues we’re still experiencing today and we knew the video had to be made. It always amazes us to see what can happen when art inspires more art. We believe that this video made the song even more impactful to those who will continue to listen/watch.
You’ve been featured on TV shows, Spotify has been promoting you guys like crazy on their viral charts, and you seem to be blasting your way to the top of the charts. Are you and David excited about the prospects of having a touring lifestyle and dealing with the fame that will accompany it? Because, I’ve got to say, it seems like you’re speeding down the road to success! Are you excited for what’s to come and to find how far down this rabbit hole goes?
M: Yes! We’re both super excited to see how the music is continuing to grow online. It’s weird to think about but, every time I see a number of plays on a song, I always have to remember that a person is behind each and every one of those tally marks. We could not be doing this without the amazing people who listen to us on their way to work, school, etc. Right now, all we can do is continue to be inspired, continue to write songs, and continue to be grateful for these opportunities we get. We have a lot more work to do and have all the intentions in the world to ensure that we remain humble and grateful people.
Finally, the age old question: what’s next? Your E.P. just dropped in July and it’s amazing; looks like you’ll be performing in Texas in October; but what next? (No pressure, but please say “a big tour that reaches Chicago…”)
M: I don’t necessarily know what I’m allowed to say! But I promise you will be hearing a lot from MISSIO in the next year. Recently, our collaboration with the electronic artist Skrux was released September 26 via MrSuicideSheep. And, of course, we hope to make all your dreams of tours come true this year!
Carmen R. Lawrence is a freelance writer currently located in Chicago, IL. Though she writes about topics as varied as craft beer, theatre, and video games, writing about music is a passion and a pleasure. Follow her on Twitter at @carmenrlawrence or find her on Facebook at carmen.lawrence1