Mathame is a name that defines the audio-process developed by brothers Amedeo and Matteo Giovanelli. It began in 2013, whilst they were living in a forest at the slopes of Mount Etna, where they both worked crafting their unique sound.
They absorbed and studied wide-ranging musical influences: from rock pirate radio to dance music culture, from spiritual chant experiences to hip hop and pop.
Mathame released their first EP on Vaal’s label Bastaard in 2015, followed it up in 2017 with a brilliant EP for Tiefschwarz’s Souvenir and exploded in 2018 with a hit single on Tale Of Us’ label Afterlife, containing the highly-anticipated “Nothing Around Us” and “Fade Into You” tracks, which have become an international success.
For over 15 years Paula Temple has been pursuing her own unique musical path. As a self-confessed noisician she specialises in a noisy, phantasmagoric techno sound, where the dial is rarely turned below 200% and every moment of silence seems deafening. Such refreshing high voltage music has placed Paula at the forefront of today’s techno scene.
R&S Records released ’Colonized’ EP in 2013, ‘Deathvox’ EP in 2014 and her remixes for The Prodigy in 2015. The track ‘Deathvox’ is regarded by her peers as one of the most original contributions to modern techno. Her most celebrated track ‘Gegen’ remains an anthem at festivals worldwide and was inspired by the defiantly loving queer community of Berlin. ‘Contact’ from her ’The Speck of The Future’ EP appeared on Jeff Mills’ Exhibitionist release, and she contributed ‘Oscillate’ to celebrate the final release series of Modeselektor’s 50 Weapons label.
Paula Temple has remixed avant-electronic acts such as The Knife, Peaches, Perera Elsewhere and Planningtorock. In 2015 she started a unique collaboration series called Decon/Recon on her label Noise Manifesto, working with several artists including rRoxymore, Aisha Devi, SØS Gunver Ryberg and Oni Ayhun. In 2016-2017 she co-produced with Karin Dreijer on the new Fever Ray album ‘Plunge’ which won the Swedish Grammy for Producer of The Year in 2018.
Her worldwide touring schedule has included stellar performances at Movement Detroit, Pitch Australia, Mutek Mexico, Katharsis Amsterdam, as well as being a regular contributor to the Berlin techno scene at Tresor, About Blank, Gegen, Berghain and the now defunct Stattbad.
An anonymous producer with a gritty, heads-down style of techno and a focus on vinyl, SNTS first surfaced in late 2012. He’s been behind two record trilogies, Chapters and Scenes, issued through his self-titled label, and also earned appearances on Horizontal Ground and Edit Select Records.
“The name High Contrast is a philosophy,” explains Lincoln Barrett, the man behind the moniker, “When I started making drum & bass in the late ’90s it was very dark, masculine and techy-sounding. I really wanted to flip that, to sample disco and be more feminine. People laughed at me but it was ahead of the curve, and more people started doing that. Now it’s time to find another way of changing it…”
High Contrast has been at the leading edge of the scene for 15 years. He curated music for the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony; he’s worked with everyone from Underworld to DJ Fresh; he’s headlined festivals; he did a timeless Fabriclive mix; and he’s one of dance music’s elite remixers, achieving acclaim for reworks of Adele, Duke Dumont, White Stripes, Kanye West and, of course, London Grammar’s ‘Strong’.
He grew up in Penarth, where he still lives, the son of Paul ‘Legs’ Barrett, once Wales’ leading rock’n’roll promoter/agent and the man who discovered Shakin’ Stevens.
“I grew up only hearing ’50s rock’n’roll,” Lincoln recalls, “As I’ve grown older, I’ve gone back to my dad’s music. It fits in my obsession with clever, catchy hooks.”
As a boy, though, Barrett was drawn to film. He was a seriously ill child, in and out of hospital with hooping cough and multiple other ailments. He spent his time watching old horror films, working his way from the black’n’white Hollywood classics to the modern era. He even made a zombie flick, aged 10, starring his dad. His first musical adventures were in his mid-teens, as the MC for a punk-metal band called 187. He even tried his hand at MCing drum & bass events but found it wasn’t his forte. He was into both hip hop and drum & bass and the DJ Zinc remix of The Fugees’ ‘Ready or Not’ was a key tune that influences him to this day.
“It was this massive hip hop hit and there’s this crazy jungle version of it,” he enthuses. “I loved that combination. It’s stuck with me ever since. I don’t like remixing drum & bass records, I don’t see any point in it, they’re already what they’re intended to be. Whereas, say, Adele’s ‘Hometown Glory’, I still think it’s her best song. It gives me something fresh and different to work with. I also did one of ‘Hello’ which has done very well for a bootleg quickie.” Indeed, the latter made Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Record in the World’.
He went to Newport University to study film but was increasingly sidetracked by music. A friend lent him Depth Charge’s seminal breakbeat album ‘9 Deadly Venoms’ and Barrett realised the potential of sampling, of his filmic knowledge, and, using a demo of Cubase, plugging his VCR into the back of his PC, he started playing around.
“The reason I got into making it when I was studying film is that you can get a track going pretty quickly, whereas a film is a long process that involves many people,” he explains. For two years he was also the resident drum & bass brain at Cardiff’s only dance music shop, Catapult, which dramatically expanded his musical ideas.
“I hated house music,” he admits, “and Catapult exposed me to other genres. I became interested in applying the filtered French house sound to drum & bass. No-one had done that before.”
Just before he graduated Lincoln signed his first record deal with Hospital, went straight into music and “shelved the film thing”. The next years were a whirl of global travel, establishing his DJ name and firing out genre-defining tunes along the way. 2002’s ‘Return of Forever’ from his debut album ‘True Colours’ was the first High Contrast cut to break scene-wide, played by everyone from Fabio to Hype to Andy C. It was a groundbreaker in that it was melodic, uplifting and epic, but was also light and not aggressive.
Another tune that took things up a level was 2007’s ‘If We Ever’, a dancefloor monster that saw Lincoln returning to classic junglist rave anthems, and featuring Diane Charlemagne, the late, great voice of drum & bass. It came from the album ‘Tough Guys Don’t Dance’, which was also home to, perhaps, High Contrast’s best-loved tune ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’.
“Things I sampled back into the ’90s still crop up,” says Lincoln. “One of the first things I ever sampled was Julie London’s ‘Cry Me A River’, which was used in the rock’n’roll film ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ in 1956, my dad’s favourite film. It took ten years to work it into my music but eventually it became ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’.”
Lincoln has directed is own videos but the most grandly cinematic event he’s been involved with was undoubtedly overseeing the musical side of the athletes’ opening parade at the 2012 Olympics.
“Underworld got in touch with me out of the blue around 2010,” he recalls, “They asked me to collaborate on a tune for the album ‘Barking’, which led later to my involvement in the Olympics. It was a surreal experience, working on this music, trying to forget a billion people are going to hear it, then on the night there’s Muhammad Ali and the Queen and Paul McCartney and my tunes playing. What the hell were they thinking?! It was a once in a lifetime thing and I’m forever grateful.”
High Contrast went on to co-produce Underworld’s latest album, the revitalized sounds of ‘Barbara, Barbara, We Have A Shining Future’. If that connected him with his roots, he also worked with DJ Fresh and Dizzee Rascal last year on the Radio 1 A-listed ‘How Love Begins’ single. Barrett doesn’t like putting limitations on himself. He wants to engage with his muse wherever it takes him, whether that’s experimental or pop, or preferably both. And so to the new album, recently signed to 3Beat Records…
“I used to think you could be more prescriptive making an album,” he says, “then I realised you can’t control it in advance, you’re better off just following your heart and not overthinking it. Music is an escape from the linearity of narrative and language and from a whole lot else.”
And when High Contrast wants to escape, it is a very tempting proposition to go with him.