Interview: Lee Mvtthews

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By Lisa Diedricks

I find inspiration from people who are trying to do something different. There's a lot of producers trying to copy each other, eg Terror Squad. But its really cool to hear guys like SumthinSumthin, completely unchallenged in their own lane.” – Graham Matthews

Tom Lee who originally comes from Christchurch and Tauranga born Graham Matthews have been blessing, and undeniably blowing our minds the last 5 years. The pair met in 2012 and after discovering they had a nearly identical taste in music, Lee Mvtthews was formed in late 2013.They’re one of Auckland’s hottest duo, and they’re back with a new tune for our deprived ears!

Personally knowing about the group for a long time through mutal friends, and having the pleasure of actually working with ½ of the group,  (Graham), I can say that these guys are some of the most down to earth people you will ever meet. Humility comes without force to them and its incredible seeing artists that are all about the love of music and bringing “WOW” moments to their fans. Their lucid yet guided approach and delivery to their music and listeners, have gained the respect of more than half of Auckland’s promoters radio personalities.

I was lucky enough to sit down and have a brief chat with the pair to see what they’ve been up to what and what’s next on the cards.

Their production is a mix of colourful, expanded melodies and deep bass driven drops. Some of which are full of deep, organic and experimental cuts, that it’s easy to see how they're one of the most valued residents on NZ's premier dance station George FM, and have released a plethora of remixes/bootlegs in 2017, along with their debut EP 'Silhouettes', which has taken off on NZ charts.

Their musical influences differ in ways which you see how they come together, which is extraordinary to see in a duo:

Tom: “We were both metal heads growing up, me a guitarist and Graham a drummer, I think musically this built us a great foundation and an appreciation for the heavier, more energetic side of dance music that shines through in our productions and DJ sets.

Everything we’ve ever listened to, we’re both very dynamic listeners and it shows in our productions, we love sampling old school breaks (a technique drawn from hip-hop, drum and bass) we love love an analogue bassline, and vocal chops (House) big 808’s (Trap/Hip-hop) and heavy raw energy of metal, and rock performances. I could go on we like music in general inspiration can come from anywhere

Graham: “Everything from Britney Spears to Bring Me The Horizon. Growing up, I played the drums so I started getting into Metal/Hardcore, aka Screamo because it was more of a challenge to play.Bands like Parkway Drive, Haste The Day, Underoath, etc. I could go on, I've always been super into music, and I used to catch the bus to Auckland so I could see these bands.It was an easy transition to go from that to what I'm into now, I mean, Dubstep is the Metal of Dance Music. Its not necessarily a huge influence on my sound in terms of production, but it definitely shaped my love for music that slaps you in the face.”

If you’ve ever seen these champs going hard for the crowd, you’ll understand what I mean by “HOLY SHIT”. I’ve seen the boys play at a few massive gigs the last couple of years, but there is also something about seeing them at your local gigs that make you appreciate their diverse and simplistically creative sound. Anyone that is lucky enough to have their music run through their bodies on a night out will always find themselves uncontrollably banging their heads and cutting up shapes they didn’t know existed. That’s the beauty of it all, even if you don’t want to; you’re forced to love their presence.

New Zealand’s music circuit have dubbed them an MVP, they are without flaw, comrade regulars on George FM’s Nights, and now, it’s known, that they're destined for even bigger and better things to come.

Graham:I think the scene in NZ is in a really good place at the moment, there's so many guys doing cool stuff.There's a lot producers coming up that people are starting to notice, the likes of Yancey. Sturling, Blanc, Latu, etc.Then of course there are the bro's QUIX, Ian Munro, The Upbeats, Sachi, etcreppin' the flag overseas.There's a real community at the moment where everyone supports and inspires each other, I think its awesome that we've got all this incredible talent sitting in the backyard.On top of that, there are a handful of people bringing over some of the world’s hottest artists. Obviously, there are the festivals, R&V, Bay Dreams, and NorthernBass.But we've got the likes of WeMouve, Red Rum Touring, Too Cut Entertainment etc putting on Wilkinson, Luude, Getter, and so much more, but I shouldn't spill the beans…”

Tom:NZ is killing it. Whether everyone in the area/country is aware of it or not the amount of talent coming out of our country is insane. Jess B, SWIDT, Quix, Montell2099, T1R, Flowdius, Upbeats, State of mind, Truth, Bailey Wiley, TY, PT, Omega Levine, Chores, Shapeshifter. I Could go on forever. Point is NZ is amazing and I feel our only issue is more people in NZ need to (Classic) "support ya local” and then we could really push ahead.

As they have played in multiple cities in the last few months, a few has stood out to them:

Again, I know Tom is going to say the same thing, but Hamilton is just a different breed. They're so responsive with what you're doing; they live for bangers down there. Even the international artists I've spoken to agree!

When asked about their biggest accomplishment thus far in their career:

Graham:“I know we're gonna to have the exact same answer for this, Rhythm & Vines 17/18.We played on the Supertop before Boombox Cartel to about 5000 people, was such a surreal experience! Really hope we get that opportunity again in the future!”

Tom:So I’d say musically it feels as if getting “Nothing to lose” in high rotation on George and as our first single amassing over 60k streams on Spotify felt huge to us. But in a performance sense it would have to be two back to back tours, festival season and now our “Stay” single tour seeing out the last of summer

With their impressive and delicacy of mixing wonders, and their taste for the filth that these bangers give us it doesn’t take long for your mind to explode, and from thenyou’re undeniably hooked on Lee Mvtthews.

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to listen to their EP, I suggest you do so quickly, if you’re as much of a fan of that world as I am, you’ll 100% enjoy their sound, and if you’re not, you can appreciate their remixes of all the hottest tracks. Their remix of Justin Timberlakes – “My Love” is still by far one of my favourites, with Nothin to Lose ft Marino Mariner coming with close just behind. Their newest release today are bound the get us all out our seats and cranking it all day!

Their collaboration is in the works with international bass heavyweight QUIX, and their single "Nothing to lose" has spent 6 weeks in the George FM top 5. And to top it all off, the music video for the track has accumulated a hefty amount of views across multiple viewing platforms.

When subtly asked about their dream collab, the answer could not to altered:

Graham:Skrillex, I can't see that ever changing either.

Tom:Really enjoy the complex sound design of the likes of G-jones & Eprom, playing around with their huge arsenal of synthesisers would be such a learning experience for both of us, then to flip it the other way around it would be awesome to work with a vocalist such as Ella erye I really enjoy her vocals and how they fit in so many genre’s it would be so epic to sit down and have a song writing session with her, even if It didn’t end up in a release the collaborative process would be so so worth it.

But don’t worry, the boys are very much still into their kiwi roots. The man himself Mr Dave Dobbyn, is one of the ideal collabs the boys would love to work with:

“…ready whenever you are mate!”

Really enjoy what Jess B is doing, and Swidt, I feel like the energy that we could bring to such a record would be just insane with either artist/s. I mean there’s such a broad range of talent but I think that it would just be fantastic to go out of the norm and put these artists in a zone where they haven’t particularly been and to flex their abilities would be incredible!

The pair has just come off the back of an insane summer tour, playing nearly all of NZ's major festivals: Rhythm & Vines, Northern Bass, and the biggest summer festival, Bay Dreams.They’re not stopping any time soon; they are set to continue touring with a score of dates in nearly every city in the country over the next few months.

But don’t you get free time or even time to chill boys?!

Graham:Trick question, if I have free time its in the studio, I don't remember the last time Tom and I just hung out. But if I took a break/holiday, I'd be off to the beach or going longboarding, anything outdoors really.”

Tom: “Working, Graham holds down a full time job as a radio specialist at media works, where Tom is a tutor at tertiary institute MAINZ, An audio engineer at a studio called Woodcut, and DJ’s regularly at bars, restaurants and the like. So we’re both generally very busy people!

The dynamic duo are set to storm 2018 with impressive singles and have a handful of remixes for several international artists waiting in the wings for us to dabble in.

Graham:“We have so many tunes to release, and some of it may surprise you. We've also got some collabs and remixes with some pretty big players!Other than that we'll be playing shows up and down the country, so watch out for that.

Tom: “Currently touring (check our Facebook for our tour schedule) so come see us! We promise you won’t regret it! We’re releasing a whole bunch of singles this year with a radio edge to them because we really want to broaden our fanbase NZ and internationally. For the bassheads we’ll be aiming to do another EP towards the end of the year to really cover all (Pun intended) "basses". A few remixes for American artists are in the wings, and nothing in the works yet but you can hope to see us around the festival circuit again!

2018 is the year of Lee Mvttthews, and we couldn’t be more excited to be backing these boys!

Take a look below of some of their footage over the past couple of months:

Show footage
https://www.facebook.com/LeeXMatthews/videos/2049970515029569/
https://www.facebook.com/LeeXMatthews/videos/2071783726181581/

Music Videos
https://www.facebook.com/LeeXMatthews/videos/2010976735595614/  or (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwyuiY47fM)
https://www.facebook.com/LeeXMatthews/videos/2082568008436486/  or (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x42mZnpUsys)

Can’t get enough yet? Don’t worry we have you covered, click on any of the below links to be taken on a trip of music satisfaction:

http://spoti.fi/2CyEl9o
https://soundcloud.com/leemvtthews
https://www.facebook.com/LeeXMatthews
https://www.instagram.com/leemvtthews/

Oh you’re STILL needing more, why not go and support the boys and see them do their thing, live in action, and you can see what I mean by “HOLY SHIT”
Upcoming shows:

23-02 - RoomOneLivestream @ Imperial Lane // AKL
24-02 - O-Week Party @ Stuart St. Macs Bar // DUN
27-02 - O-Week Toga Party @ The Hunter Lounge // WGN
27-02 - Afterparty @ Betty's // WGN
28-02 - Deja VU O-Week @ Impala // AKL
02-03 - Sounds of the Underground @ The Ferguson // AKL
16-03 - Big City Bass @ Totara St // TGA
24-03 - TBA - HAM
29-03 - TBA - AKL
31-03 - TBA - NPLY