We talked with Matt Kovac of Munich-based indie band Matija who told us all about the music scene in Munich, future visions of the band, the Importance of the fashion-music connection and how to manage the corona pandemic as an artist.
The Sound of Matija is a mixture of hedonism and melancholy, with snappy videos inspired by their inimitable sense of style and sound. Inspired by big cities and their own existence, Matija’s lyrics reflect on the art of introspective living.
So you come from Munich: how would you describe the music scene in Munich – and in the south of Germany?
The Munich music scene is not the biggest, but it has a lot of diamonds. Since we are not in Berlin, we profit from a smaller scene and therefore a higher chance to reach new people. And another bonus, because the scene is rather small, is that all artists are more or less connected with each other. You always know what’s going on and that’s cool!
What other bands or artists from there do you also like?
We are huge fans of Kytes, Telquist and Loriia, just to name a few.
Do you think that German bands have a particular feel, vibe, identity?
Definitely. Especially when German bands sing in English it gets interesting, because you can never really tell, where they’re from. But of course our big idols are British and American.
We always knew, music is the only option for us. And that’s why we always take it as it comes.
How do you see the German indie scene compared to, say the UK or US? Also in terms of positives?
Obviously the UK and the US have brought up a lot of big names in the game. The indie scene wouldn’t be the same without bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Kooks, Strokes, etc. But it’s remarkable to observe how also German, French and Italian acts become more and more popular in the international indie scene, thanks to platforms like Spotify or Netflix. And that’s really nice!
You’ve been playing since 2011 – what keeps you going? Do you have goals, plans, strategies – or do you take it as it comes?
We always knew, music is the only option for us. And that’s why we always take it as it comes, but of course we have special goals and plans, which we try to reach. We believe it takes a lot of time to build an organic fan base around the world and that lasting success doesn’t happen overnight.
How do you write your songs – as a band or…?
Yes, mostly. Sometimes it happens that one band member comes up with a rather finished demo or idea and then there’s not a lot left to do. But most of the time we jam and see where it takes us.
How have you as a band managed to come through the corona time?
We were really lucky, we have such great fans. They watched our livestreams, supported us through buying merchandise and writing us cute messages, that really kept us going.
Do you think this weird period of time has changed the industry in any way – or expectations? And do you think there are ways in which the industry should, or could change?
The world has always been full of weird periods of time, wars, plagues, catastrophies, etc. I think that the Covid pandemic definitely changed the way the mainstream pop world writes its songs. We had such a huge increase of TikTok users around the world, that some artists seem to have adapted to writing songs especially for social media platforms. The online scene has also grown heavily during Corona, wich was automatically followed by a decrease of the listeners / watchers attention span. I am not sure how the industry could change, but I think there should be a huge discussion about higher payments for artists on streaming platforms. That’s still a big problem. You just don’t make any money with it!
Where do you find the inspiration for your songs?
Well, I can only speak for myself here, not for my band members. Mostly in books and movies, the architecture of European capitals, like Paris. Sometimes personal stuff…and a lot from observing people I don’t know. When I sit in a café in a city I never been to for example. Things like that inspire me a lot.
What’s the most important thing that music can do, do you think?
I think it inspires. It offers a way. Whenever there seems to be none.
How come the name change from The Capitols to Matija?
We figured out that The Capitols was already taken and wanted a new name, that has a nice sound to it. So we picked my first name, slovenian for Matthew.
How do you actually pronounce Matija? 😊
Ma- tiii- ja hahahaha.
You say David Bowie is a great influence on you – his music, his look, the way he kept changing his style, or…?
Actually, eveything. David is for me one of the most complete pop artists of all time.
Do I think Music and Fashion mix? All the time
Your latest song and video, Ultrasuede (great name), you based on the scene and vibe from the fashion designer Halston – Ultrasuede being a material he worked with, I think? How did you come to this – is he a designer that you particularly like?
Yes, Ultrasuede is a material and also the name of one of his collections. It came to us via the Netflix Series. I binge watched it in two days or so, told the boys about it, did some research on the guy and knew instantly: We have to write a song about this crazy guy.
Are you into fashion?
Definitely! I believe fashion and music walk hand in hand vey closely. I also love the fact how fashion designers and musicians have inspired themselves over the years and how musicians make statements with their wardrobe. For example, Freddie’s look at Live Aid, it’s just so fucking amazing. Haha 🙂
Do you think fashion and music mix?
All the time.
Are visuals important to / relevant to music?
I think they are, but they come second. You can have the best visual appearance, if your music doesn’t touch the soul, it’s inane.
Where to from here?
To the stars. Always to the stars.
What’s a secret you’ve never told anyone?
I always wanted to have written Bittersweet Symphony.
When do we next hear more music from you – and where can we see you live?
We’ve just finished an extended German tour and hopefully looking forward to a packed festival summer around Europe – plus we’ve got some dates lined up in the autumn, check our events calendar on the website – see you on the road!
Thanks for your time!