Inyourspeakers caught up with Matthew Kratz, better known as Kraddy, before his February 18th New York City show to discuss his newly released album, Labyrinth. The interview and concert brought the album to life for us in the unique way only an artist talking about his album and then performing it can. His unique style of music was not lost on the crowd, taking the them on a mystical, musical journey.
Inyourspeakers: What was your inspiration for the Album Labyrinth?
Matthew Kratz: Thematically it’s a concept album based on Theseus and the Minotaur, the Greek myth, the idea being this guy goes into a maze to fight this monster and come out. I am really into myth. It’s really an archetypal story about going in and facing your fears, the Labyrinth as a symbol for going into your own mind. So that was the idea behind the album because I had just broken up with the Glitch Mob and was going out on my own. There was a lot of anxiety doing that because I hadn't been doing the solo thing in a long time, everything falls back on you, every step has to be done by [you]. That is why i picked that theme, to fit the situation I was in.
IYS: Do you always see your albums as a story?
MK: Recently I have been more and more into tying in a narrative or a loose idea of a story into an album because I feel that people really relate to it. It doesn't have to be an overwhelming story, like this part is this or that part is that. But more and more I kind of think everything I do after this will have some story, because I think it draws people in and its more interesting for me because when I write music it is a very visual thing for me, I can picture scenes almost, like movie scenes almost.
IYS: Are there songs that stick out to you, that you would like to see remixed in a particular way?
MK: Yeah, I am always wanting to hear what people are gonna do with the remix, it’s always exciting to throw it out to people and see how they are gonna twist it up and give it back to you. Like the “Into the Labyrinth” track, when i first gave it to Heavy Weight Dub Champion what he gave back to me really blew my mind. I told him I wanted to do an old school dubstep remix--he is really purist about that, with all analog gear and real tape delays, like old school stuff--so having him do it and give it back to me, that is the one that stood out to me the most because he just did exactly what I wanted him to do, which rarely happens when you ask someone to remix, usually they do something totally different. You are just like, "Oh, okay, that’s not what I expected,” but he did that. Then we started talking about doing Labyrinth in dub, which is going to be the next thing. Instead of just a remix album, the whole album will be remixed in that dub style with lots of tape delays, really heavy bass, the songs kind of rearranged but more or less the same. I want to throw back to the dub style like the old school reggae dub, ‘cause I just love that style, to me that is the original electronic music. But most people don't even know that, even most dubstep people don't even know that, which is weird to me but that is just how it goes.
IYS: You have been a real pioneer in your genre. Where do you draw this unique sound from?
MK: For me it was never about pressing some genre style, it was always pulling together this from this or that from that, like hearing Si Begg and Tipper when I was a breakbeat DJ, and also what Fuel Records was putting out back in the day really blew my mind, and Squarepusher and the mix between all the early Warp stuff was really influential. I felt like I wanted to bring that, but I had a huge hip-hop background. I grew up in New York and was always listening to hip-hop. Also super classic rock--Hendrix, Zeppelin, and Floyd have always been my holy trilogy. I kind of wanted to bring everything together. I felt like I could hear the way especially dubstep, to me, sounds like slow rock or slow hip-hop. I felt like it was so clear to put everything together, it just lined up. I just had to put my flavor on it and see what happened.
IYS: You always throw in hip-hop tracks. You also pay homage to a lot of old school hip-hop. Are there hip-hop artist new or old that you like?
MK: My favorites are Mos Def, Blackstar, Ludacris, Public Enemy, I love Eminem, I think he is unbelievable, I really like Dre, Rakim, KRS-1. The new new people I am not really up on. Nicky Minaj I hear that I dig, Lil Wayne is cool. I feel like there is a certain . . . I haven't heard anyone really new. I really like Lupe Fiasco, he has an original flow that isn't just trying to be as tough as possible.
IYS: How does it feel to return to your home state?
MK: Awesome! I fucking love New York City. New York is . . . just driving in I get amped. I love being here.
IYS: It’s different than L.A.
MK: Yeah, it’s way different than L.A. It’s so cool, though. I mean, L.A. is cool too, but in different ways. But New York just has this energy about it that’s like a drug, just walking around the streets it’s like a drug.