We talked to Indie artist, Ratthew, who has a previous release “nervous”, and a new song called “angelica!” and it dropped on 2.20, so after reading this blog, check them out!
Photo by Steven Moffa @shot.by.steven
CAGE RIOT: Hi Ratthew, first of all, I see your song credits say, Matthew. Is Ratthew your stage or a given name?
Ratthew: Matthew is my given name!
CR: Alright, so what’s the origin of this stage name?
R: Honestly it really is an absurd story, I knew this person in high school who would tell a story about how rat milk would be able to “take over the world”. And in his story he had the leader of the rats be named Ratthew and Ratricia (Patricia), so when I went to adopt a name I asked him if I could use Ratthew. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it has a nice ring to it.
CR: LOL, that's classic. Is your friend's name Michael Scott (Scarn) jr maybe?
CR: Where are you from and was where you are from had any impact on the direction of your career?
R: I was initially born in Texas, but we moved up to Massachusetts when I was a kid. My mom is initially from MA and my dad is from TX. But to be honest there hasn’t been much of an impact. I'm from the good old 413 Western Mass. where literally nothing happens, so it’s been a grind.
CR: I grew up in Staten Island, NY in the 80’s so I can relate. Breaking things and driving around was how you passed the time lol.
CR: We first found your song “Nervous” and it has a unique feel especially the opening scream is so powerful and emotional, but you used a method in the mix of subduing your vocal volume and we found it really exciting to us the listener. The preceding bass intro immediately caught my attention as well, plus your lo-fi voice sounds like “the trail to a shooting star” where it’s not-quite reverb and not quite delayed, but it follows the sound of your voice. Who was involved with the mix and mastering of this song?
R: The mix and master of the song is all me! I decided going into college I wanted to learn how to mix and master everything myself so I taught myself. I have taken a course here at URI, where I attend, with Ian Reyes focused on audio engineering, which has only enhanced my abilities. I knew how to do everything because I taught myself how to, but I didn’t necessarily know “why” to do the things I was doing. I now know both, so needless to say I’m starting to get the hang of this. Also so happy you loved the intro, it was a risky attempt at a song compared to the songs I have made before, but easily one of my favorites.
CR: That’s awesome!!! There’s so much info on the web it makes anything possible and you proved it. Young kids/musicians / future engineers etc. out there use the web and be like Ratthew!!
CR: OK, so now, let's get to the essence of this song “Nervous”. FYI, I often think about how I will react in a dangerous situation so I really relate to this song. What I would like to know is who are you protecting? Is it a specific person (no names please) or is it anyone you know or will know?
R: I’m protecting anyone in all honesty. We all have those intrusive thoughts, especially in high school in America, of what if someone walked in with a gun right now what would I do? I often like to think I would be willing to dive in front of someone to protect them, it’s not that I want to die, it’s more that I know I’ve secured a legacy in life so if it had to be cut short others would remember me. We all just want to be remembered at the end of the day, so it could be a stranger, I’ve had my chances in life they should have theirs.
CR: That is very heroic and pretty cool of you.
CR: There’s a part of your track “nervous” where you are pretty specific and mention gun violence as the actual situation you describe fearing. I watch comedies to laugh, and drama to bring my emotions to the surface; this song is so good because it makes me ask so many questions, yet I feel like the answers are obvious… which is you are nervous… but a good writer leaves enough of an opening that each listener connects with the message and allows the story to take its own path where we insert ourselves into the narrative and now the story becomes “ours”. WOW, you are really making me express myself here! So, after all my rambling, my question is, has anything you have actually experienced brought this fear or feeling of “nervous” to the surface or made it more prominent in your life?
R: There are moments everyday that make me nervous, even walking into Stop ‘n’ Shop I find myself worried about different outcomes. The most nervous I have ever been was a stretch of a couple months in 2017-2018. I had a pretty bad seizure playing fortnite as dumb as that sounds and woke up 24 hours later knowing nothing about what had just happened, and that honestly terrifies me to this day. I lost a whole day of my life where I remember nothing, and I never will. Then a few months later my best friend, my Grandfather, passed away. He was the one who really wanted me to make it, always making me promise to make him my manager when I make it big someday. It hit me like a truck. I won't even lie, it’s almost been 4 years and I’m still not healed from it, and I probably never will. His passing made me actually start making music. I wish I had started before so I could show him, but I know he’s watching.
CR: Losing a near and dear one never goes away in my experience. I don’t remember who said this but I once heard, “You don’t get over the loss, you learn to live with it.” I can bet you your grandfather would not want you to lose another moment like you did that day playing the game, so keep making him proud.
CR: We saw you singing a bunch of covers on IG. All very good choices for your vocal styling and abilities, how did you choose these songs as they were all kinds of artists and genres?
R: Sometimes it was literally just chart watching, like oh what song is popular right now and in people’s ears? Other times it was just people saying try it, so I did.
CR: Who are your top 3 musical influences?
R: It’s a weird combo, Lionel Richie, Garth Brooks, and J. Cole. I think I owe all the soul that I put into my songs to Lionel and other artists that worked with Motown, it’s all I would listen to in Middle School. Garth Brooks and country was I was raised on, which is probably why everyone thinks I have a country twang, however unintentional it is. I owe J. Cole and rap in general everything when it comes to creating a story within a song. He really taught me how to do this, even though he may never know that.
CR: Commodores / Lionel “Easy” is one of my all-time top songs! I love the variety of your genres!
CR: What is a song you find you play on repeat… (but only when no one else is around lol)? Don’t say something we all listen to like Ariana, be honest!!!! lol.
R: Ok this is a weird one, I love listening to Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride from Lilo and Stitch. Maybe because it reminds me of childhood where I didn’t know the true evils of the world, or just because it’s so good.
CR: Ok, you get the best response award so far for that one!
CR: You seem to absolutely have a vocal power that goes a step or two above average. Have you tried other nonstandard types of singing like opera or the “belting” of adult contemporary like Josh Groban for instance? I could absolutely hear you singing and killing a version of “You lift me up”. In fact, I’m requesting it!!!
R: Hahaha I actually was pursuing a vocal minor for a little bit, but between my two majors and my busy work schedule it just didn’t work out. I did for 2 semesters take an Opera class. I like to think I did a good job, but we are also always our worst critics.
CR: Wow I called it! I’m going to keep an eye out for a contemporary opera-style production from you. Bohemian Rhapsody look out!!! (Big hint, please make this!!!!!)
CR: When did you first realize you had the powerful singing voice you have?
R: I always thought I did, I was just so afraid to share it with people until about Junior Year of high school, I was constantly bullied my whole life so I never wanted to give them another reason to pick on me.
CR: Kids can really suck. I had my share of that but I had my “fuck em all” moment and never looked back. I hope I see the day you have so many fans you can speak out against this and help bring awareness to help another kid stuck in this situation feel empowered.
CR: What is your goal or what would be your most preferred outcome with your music or just your life’s goals in general?
R: I don’t want money, if I make $30,000 a year and can live I’m so ok with that. I just want to tour the world, I have a story to share and I know others will connect. I’d love to tour Italy as a lot of my heritage comes from there, but right now these are just dreams.
CR: Hey - Paizon! Me too (halfsies). That is a newer trend among your generation where they value time more than money. It’s a way better commodity, time over money so that's going to be great for you!
CR: Let’s talk about your new release, “angelica!”. I read all the lyrics. These words flowed in my head like a poem and had such easy ability to read with accentuation. Do you have a background or interest in written poetry? You seem to create it so well.
R: Oddly enough poetry always bored me, I have the worst attention span. But poetry in the form of music always interested me, I listen to a heinous amount of music everyday, so much so that there’s a running bit amongst my friends that I know the lyrics to well over 1000 songs. I mean I probably do.
CR: Hmmmmm…… you need to rethink this, you are already a poet (you just didn’t know it- damn couldn't resist the dad joke) - but seriously, you already write like one.
CR: So this song… it reads so complex about love, but as if it hasn’t quite yet happened. Can you tell us the story behind this song?
R: No this is literally right on, I’m a romantic at heart, and this song is about a girl I liked at the time of writing it. Essentially me going through how she made me fall for her, then me getting mixed signals, because I still am lol. The part where I mention “was it all pretense” is literally what I was thinking to myself, was this real, or did I overanalyze and think something was there that never was. I’m a coward, after all, we may never know.
CR: IKR. Dating is so much an emotional trip!
CR: What are your plans for the future?
R: Graduate college next year, become an audio engineer, or work crew on films. Keep pursuing music until the right person hears it and it takes off. I’m in no rush, I would love to tour the world sooner rather than later, but I can only do so much on my own.
CR: Well you are impressing us over here and we think you have a lot to offer. Best of luck with all the career stuff
CR: Ratthew, thanks so much for taking the time to tell us all about your music and being so emotionally open with us. I’m not sure how much this generation realizes, but your words help de-stigmatize allowing men to express feelings. Locker rooms and testosterone-fueled gatherings sometimes cause long-term issues for men, but your words show it’s OK; and the same goes for bullying, these things need to be addressed constantly. We really appreciate you using this platform to help people and be a role model.
Fans, this is your chance to hear Ratthew's music, we really enjoyed this and we know you will too.
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