With so many street performers on Pacific Avenue hacking their way through played-out classic rock covers, it takes a unique sound to even catch my attention. Take, for instance, Matador: I’m still captivated by its music almost two years after I first saw the duo perform. With Mathew on guitar and Dorota strumming the violin, both going only by first name, Matador formed by chance when Mathew was couch surfing at a mutual friend’s house. “It was just random,” says Dorota. “[We] happened to be at the same place on the same day.” That meeting resulted in the two writing music the very next day. Three years later, they are still at it. “Writing music is kind of like a science experiment,” Mathew states. “We start with a little piece and then we work on it,” explains Dorota. “We’ll try it a billion different ways until it grows into a complete mess, then we bring it back.” With this method of controlled chaos, Matador unleashes a river of melody that’s hauntingly beautiful one moment and dangerously explosive the next. Matador laces American folk music with flavors from other traditions, such as Polish, Irish and Ladino (to name only a few), then delicately weaves in lyrics that range anywhere from Cormac McCarthy’s writings to chilling warnings about Man’s devastating impacts on the environment. “They’re a reflection of how I see the world,” describes Mathew. “I think lyrics are always a reflection of your experiences.” That said, Matador is not your typical band preaching politics. Permeating vocals creep softly, creating a misty dream for the listener to decipher only after the music has stopped. This other-worldly sound has led the pair to tour throughout the country, most recently playing the infamous Northwest Folklife festival. 2010 has also seen the release of their debut album, The Taking, on Black Powder Records. A collectively owned label that also boasts Blackbird Raum and Pale Robbin, it will soon release two different split-albums featuring Matador. “If you want something to happen,” explains Dorota, “you have to make it happen.” Mathew agrees, “When we’re all working together we can share in the experience and support each other.”
INFO: Myspace.com/matadorfromsantacruz and Blackpowderrecords.com.