How long have you been writing music?
Blaine Matte: I've always been an obsessive music fan ever since I was a kid. I remember when I was a teenager, I'd leave a party to go hang in my truck and listen to a song because I couldn't get it stuck out of my head. When I was 18 we skipped school, and drove a thousand miles to Atlanta to see the first show on Tool's "Lateralus" tour at this amazing place called the Tabernacle. It was always music first for a long time with me.
My first project when I landed in Austin was a hard rock group called Quartershackle. We were all huge Alice in Chains/Soundgarden fans so you can probably hear some of the influence. If you listen to nothing else by Quartershackle, check out the tune "Tension". One of my all time favorite songs that I've co-written and has one of the bitchiest guitar solos I've ever heard by my pal, Skunk Manhattan.
What are your influences? Who or what inspires you?
Blaine: My musical influences are all over the board. Some of my favorites are Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Herbie Hancock, Meshuggah, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, King Crimson, The Meters, Howlin' Wolf, the Melvins, Queens of the Stoneage, Mr. Bungle, Faith no More, and many, many more. I love music that's catchy and accessible, but also that's bizarre and experimental and pushes boundaries.
Outside of music, anyone who puts out content to further the cause of liberty inspires the hell out of me.
What can you tell me about your self titled Astasis album?
Blaine: I started writing this album around 2013 when I got my first pro tools rig. I was writing this album between bands and projects, so it was the kind of thing that I pieced together slowly over several years. This album has elements of progressive rock, jazz, funk, and metal, and I was fortunate enough to have some extremely talented musicians be a part of it.
Do you create art with a specific message? Or do you prefer art for arts sake?
Blaine: I like both, to be honest. As far as the lyrics go, it kind of depends on the mood of a song. If the mood is light and funky, it wouldn't make sense to have lyrics that have a super heavy philosophical message. Sometimes a song is just a song, sometimes it's about something deeply personal, and other times it's 100% about a specific message. We all know libertarians/anarchists can't shut up about their views for too long, right?
What is your creative process like? What tools and methods do you use to make your music?
Blaine: I got a copy of protools when I first started writing this album, and that made a huge difference in just being able to record and hear back ideas. I usually start with a bass or guitar idea, or sometimes I open a session with zero idea of what I want to do and just start throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Once I have something cooking, I'll add a vocal melody. This really helps me understand where the song wants to go. A melody just really helps inform me what to write next with the instrumentation. In trying vocal melody ideas I'll usually sing some gibberish, but a lot of time I'll have lyric ideas based on the original way I expressed the melody phonetically. Everyone has a different method, but this seemed to work for me.
How long have you considered yourself a libertarian?
Blaine: I started getting hot and heavy back in 2008 during the Ron Paul campaign. How can you listen to that guy and not be inspired? As a kid in my twenties, I studied philosophy and political science, and the folks who always resonated with me were guys like Thomas Jefferson and Bastiat. It all came together in 2008 with Ron Paul's speeches and writings about the federal reserve and the endless wars, etc.
What do you think the role of art should be in the libertarian movement?
Blaine: Art is extremely important to the libertarian movement! It's a part of what makes us human, and is so important especially in an increasingly dehumanizing world. I think it is almost critical for a cultural or political movement to have a parallel explosion in the arts. That's why I think it's so cool what you are doing with Libertarians who make art.
It's so weird to me that the same punk scene musicians who were so anti-authority in the 70s are now complete cucks for the state. Where did the counterculture's balls go? How is it that the same people who protested the Vietnam War and stuck a middle finger to the establishment are now the same people simping for pharmaceutical companies and throwing Ukraine flags in their Twitter profile? It's crazy to me, but I think there's an opportunity for Libertarians to really embrace counterculture, and art is a necessary part of that.
Are you working on new music?
Blaine: I'm taking a little time off currently. I got a little overextended with this project, and playing in my other band (Eyetooth) and needed to reset a bit. Most of the time in my experience though, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Where can people go to listen to your music?
Blaine: Most of the music I've contributed to is in all the normal spots like Spotify and Bandcamp. Below you can check out some projects I've been in over the years:
My Bastard Children