An Interview with Matte Namer of The FMs

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All images courtesy of Shore Fire Media

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Matte Namer of The FMs. Among other things, we touch on what he’s been up to during the lockdown, The FMs newest music, his opinion of the music scene today, and what he’s looking forward to the most once COVID-19 breaks.

If you would like to learn more about The FMs, you can head over to the group’s website, and dig in. Once you’ve done that, check out this interview with Matte. Cheers.

Andrew:
Matte, I appreciate you taking the time today. How have you been holding up over the last year or so? What have you been up to?

Matte:
Honestly, it’s been a bunch of ups and downs. We’ve had the opportunity to record and write a lot, get our studio setup, and film four videos in collaboration with Matt Mahurin who is a dream to work with and our favorite music video director of all time. The flip side is we haven’t performed live in a while and that was a big part of our identity as a band. I’ve always thought of us as a live band in fact. I’ve also personally been slowed down a bunch by chronic daily migraines and cluster headaches this past year. I’m also pretty over this pandemic by now I got to admit.

Andrew:
Before we dive into your professional career, let’s go back a bit. What first got you hooked on music?

Matte:
When I think back on it, when I was 12, I was playing baseball and thought I would be an athlete. Two years later I was all about playing guitar, singing, growing my hair long, and smoking weed.

Andrew:
Who were some of your early influences?

The Doors and Jim Morrison were definitely huge early influences. I was obsessed with them when I was thirteen. They inspired me to sing and write poetry from a very early age. I became a very pretentious little thirteen-year-old.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about recent events first. Tell us about your new release “Record Store.” Tell us about the track and how it came together.

Matte:
Well, “Record Store” was first written in the early days of the pandemic when things were really frightening, especially for us New Yorkers. I was trying to make sense of our new reality and the idea of loss and nostalgia. In a way, it was a love letter to the world before COVID that I knew to a certain extent had died. The record store was a metaphor for an everyday thing we used to have that we now look back on and romanticize. I wrote the song and recorded all the instruments and made a pretty nice demo for it. David Werner then took it to the next level with his production work.

Andrew:
What lyrical themes do you tend to explore with your music? Is your music intensely personal, or are you only telling stories, so to speak?

Matte:
Gender identity, sex positivity, and queerness are all big themes of The FMs, but I think I always felt it was important not to pigeonhole our lyrics to a certain topic. A lot of what we write is a commentary on the zeitgeist. Some of it is more personal, I rarely write lyrics from a storytelling angle but I’d like to approach it more that way as well.

Andrew:
How about the production side of things? Do you self-produce, or do you bring in outside voices?

Matte:
Up until recently, I have produced all our music. But I also think it’s important to bring an outside perspective as well and recently we started working with David Werner who has brought a twist to our music that I’m quite fond of at the moment.

Andrew:
The music of The FMs is a bit. Do you intentionally eschew genre constraints, or is that something that just comes naturally to you?

Matte:
I think it comes naturally. As a good metaphor, when I cook I can’t really follow a recipe I just kind of go with intuition, and the way I make music is similar. I don’t think I’m actually capable of accurately reproducing any genre, it’s just not how my brain works.

All images courtesy of Shore Fire Media

Andrew:
What are a few of your favorite albums, and why?

Matte:
Nine Inch Nails — The Fragile

VAST — Self-Titled

I just love the diversity and production on both. I really love music that is incredibly rich and textural as opposed to minimal. The Fragile is really underrated in my opinion in terms of Nine Inch Nails music. At the last Nine Inch Nails concert I went to they didn’t play one track off the album which I was quite bummed about. VAST is generally really underrated as an artist, but this album in particular was truly a work of genius.

Andrew:
What other passions do you have? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Matte:
Without sounding too much like a beauty pageant candidate, the things I’ve found most fulfillment in life from beyond music have had to do with helping others. One of the things I’m most proud of is helping start the MyME project, an NGO that has provided non-formal education to thousands of children in Myanmar that were compelled into labor. The FMs also collaborated with an amazingly talented femme POC artist, Starr Callahan, on an amazing series of merch where we donated all the profits to the Black Trans Travel Fund. We were also active during this last election in helping support, promote, and raise funds for POC sex workers to register voters through TikTok.

Andrew:
In your opinion, what is the state of the music business these days? Should artists be hopeful? Scared? Both?

Matte:
It sucks, but it also has always sucked. The only saving grace for the industry as a whole economically has been the growth in revenue from live shows since the new millennium, but the pandemic has totally squashed that. It’s absurdly hard now to support oneself from music. That said, there are a lot of wonderful people in the music industry as well as helping new artists reach their full potential and helping produce amazing content. Getting to work with Invasion Group to help us with management has been such a boon to The FMs. They are really creative wonderful folks who help make this industry what it should be like.

Andrew:
Last one. What’s next on your docket? What are you looking forward to most in the post-COVID world?

Matte:
I’ll be honest, I was very optimistic a few months ago with vaccinations and openings, live shows starting again, etc. At this particular moment though I am truly disheartened by the spread and danger of delta and the unwillingness of humanity to make very small personal sacrifices for the greater good long term (ie. Getting vaccinated and wearing masks). Because of that, we truly have no idea how long getting to a post-COVID world will take, it could be another few years or longer. The future is quite uncertain at this point. We are living in very scary times.

All images courtesy of Shore Fire Media

Interested in sampling the work of The FMs? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full catalog of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
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