Matt Temperley, better known as The Velvet Shadow, is an electronic music producer, composer, and DJ based in Manchester. His atmospheric, dismal, yet beautiful dystopian electronica is the result of his combining influences from genres such as techno, tech house, ambient music, cinematic music, and experimental music. The Velvet Shadow has just released an original single titled “Dreamlines” and we had a few questions and answers with him.
Continue reading to find out more about this amazing artist and his release.
What’s your official stage name and why did you choose it?
The Velvet Shadow – I spent way too long thinking about this! I wanted a name that made people think of dark, dirty, dystopian places that still had a little bit of sexiness to them. It’s also a representation of the dissociation I experience as part of a mental illness, something sinister yet also oddly beautiful.
When did you decide to pursue music as a career?
I studied Music Production at Leeds College of music back in the early 2000s. I’ve started releasing more since being accepted to AWAL in 2019.
How would you describe the music you typically create?
As a genre I guess it falls into Experimental Electronic/ downtempo. My approach is more to create weird electronic worlds that are emotional and atmospheric. I really like the idea of making soundtracks to imagined places. For me the imagined places are typically surreal worlds filled with angst and beauty. I try to express that in my music.
Which artists do you sound similar to?
More well-known artists I would be similar-ish to are: Aphex Twin, Andy Stott, Rival Consoles, Plaid, Clark, Maceo Plex, Sasha, Blawan, Max Cooper, Jon Hopkins. If I could sound as good as one of those, I’d be very happy.
What accomplishments do you see yourself achieving in the next five to 10 years?
I’d really like to be making more music and continuing to explore my style. I hope to do more Dj sets, performances and move into my new studio space. There are a few people I’d really like to collaborate with too.
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who listen to your music? Are you surprised by the reactions you get?
I’d really like to evoke calm and relaxation with my ambient tracks. With all my productions I hope to take people into a different imagined world for a while. These worlds can be peaceful, relaxing and sometimes bleak and disturbing. Yeah, I am sometimes surprised by the reactions I get. I often think a particular track is going to be popular but then others prefer tracks I think are less well done.
What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?
I get excited finding really good new music, I like being surprised by new sounds and musical ideas. I think it’s the rush of finding something that suddenly stands out, sounds amazing, grabs your attention and takes you to another place. I really like it when that happens whilst making music; a happy accident in the studio might become the focus of a whole track.
What genre can people expect to hear?
Always a tricky one to pinpoint isn’t it? My main genre would be ‘Electronic Music’ which I think is quite ambiguous. To try and help narrow that down, I guess that Ii float around the following micro genres; downtempo, experimental electronic, electronica, ambient and experimental techno. I also just discovered ‘Hauntology’ as a genre! I think some of my newer, unreleased tracks may fall into that?
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Being signed to AWAL was a good boost for me. Other more subtle enjoyments (which I prefer) are people enjoying my music. I sometimes get a sense of someone understanding what I’m trying to express when they connect with a track, I find that really rewarding.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Woah. That’s a big question. It’s allowed a lot more artists to produce & release music themselves from home. This has taken a lot of power away from the major labels as anyone can begin producing music & building their audience from home. This has led to much more variety of sound as each artist can access their own niche, which I think is great. There are a few artists I really like that I’m unsure would’ve been ‘signed’ pre-internet. Having the small micro labels is a massive bonus.
Then there is the monster of Spotify. It’s radically changed the way I find new music – now instead of thumbing through vinyl in stores I’m flicking through the ‘Fans also like’ algorithm. So I find loads more music really quickly. It’s made finding those ‘hard to find’ records easy to find, which I’m unsure how I feel about. As a DJ I liked having vinyl that I could play that others couldn’t get. I also hear that is changing people’s listening habits, moving away from listening to a full album to single tracks on playlists. Maybe I’m showing my age, but I still like listening to a full album!
Have you ever participated in any music competitions? Did you win any prizes?
I once did a remix for a My Digital Enemy remix competition- but didn’t get it submitted in time because I’m a dope.
What is this new release about?
When the first lockdown started in 2020, I was living alone. I wanted to write some music that was calming and created a sense of space and freedom for myself. Dreamlines is what emerged. Inspired by the preset “Dreamlines” on my Dave Smith Prophet Rev2 I created a floaty melody that provided calm and serenity. I also wanted just a little bit of angst to creep into the piece, so there’s a little flourish of drama too.
Who and how many people worked on it?
I wrote it myself during isolation, then recorded it and mixed it. Then the final sprinkles were added during Mastering by Nicky Howard at the Fat Mastering. I really like the job he did.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
Yes! I’m currently releasing a single every 6 weeks so keep your peepers open. The next two tracks are in a similar style to the Dreamlines & 50mg release. The music I’m currently writing is an evolution of that. More ambient electronic production with a slight techno edge. I’ve been playing about much more with the hardware synths and modular and managing to get some really weird textures and sounds. I’m really trying to express the darker atmospheric vibe but still keep it euphoric.
If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
Everything’s going to be OK. Sit back and enjoy the music. 🙂