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Mathew Jonson’s influences and playlist

[Artists, Multimedia]

Mathew Jonson is a man of many instruments. He was a drummer in a Scottish marching band at seven, played the piano at ten, studied jazz drumming and also began producing his first house music beats around the same time. Noted electronic music journalist and critic Philip Sherburne observed in a piece with Resident Advisor that this training laid the foundation for “both the melodic and the rhythmic cornerstones of his [Jonson’s] music today.”
Jonson’s musical roots can be traced to his grandparents on both sides of his family, who spent all their free time following western classical music. His father continued in that tradition, introducing him to classical music and the blues, and a variety of musical instruments that were strewn all over the house. “My grandfather on my mother’s side used to sit me down and play me classical music when we would visit with each other,” said Jonson. “It could have been anything from Bach to Rachmoninov – it’s hard to remember as I was very young.”
His earliest memories of tunes that stayed with him include funk legend Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and Grammy winning jazz artist Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rocket’. Jonson also said that he was obsessed with break dancing as a kid and that the music associated with the culture of bbyoying got him into electronic sounds.
The producer’s initial forays into electronic dance music incorporated all these influences, though his first two releases were drum n bass productions with Grammy award-winning artist Nelly Furtado, with whom he studied in school. The duo used to spend hours tinkering with all the equipment left at home by Jonson’s father, which probably explains his love for collecting analogue instruments until this day. Jonson picked out five tunes for Hennessy Artistry India prior to the weekend event in Bangalore this week, to give you a peek into what he’s listening to at the moment.


Herbie Hancock (The Imagine Project) – The Song Goes On

Grammy winning artist collaborating with some of the world’s best musicians and vocalists on this project like Anoushka Shankar, Chaka Khan and more.

James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream

Minimalistic, spacey and atmospheric, this tune (named after  a sound effect used in sci-fi films) features Blake’s voice as an apparition that appears and disappears, just like the layers of sound it contains.

Squarepusher – Come on my Selector

Chris Cunningham’s man meets dog and its prepubescent psychopath owner is as chilling as it is entertaining, 14 years after it was made.

Early Michael Jackson

The King of Pop’s early day influenced Jonson as much as the break dancing crews’ hip hop breaks.

The Mole – Johny Mc Hockey

Part of the original Modern Deep Left Quartet, Colin de la Plante a.k.a The Mole has been described as someone who “might look like he belongs on a ’70s cop show but is more at home twitching vinyl, clapping his hands and crafting wiggling things that channel Moodymann, Wild Pitch and Ron Hardy, while driving in a very spastic dance-floor direction.”