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12 December 2018

INTERVIEW: Matthew Messore of Cathedral Bells.

Florida-based Cathedral Bells is the project of Matthew Messore (along with David Horne and Felix Boy, who were both brought onboard recently). Formerly of Dear Tracks and Houseplants, Cathedral Bells marks Messore’s foray into new territory. While there are some similarities between those projects and his new music, Messore carves out something altogether unique with Cathedral Bells. The songs are lo-fi yet incredibly lush, energetic in a lowkey, intimate way. The nostalgia-tinged electronic arrangements shimmer and resonate deeply with anyone who loves or remembers the 80s. Messore has released three singles under the new moniker, with each one being better than the last (the latest single, “A Passing Phase”, is truly sublime and a personal favorite). We hope you enjoy getting to know more about Cathedral Bells in the following interview. Keep an eye out for this group in the future – they are sure to make waves.

How and when was the band formed?
After releasing a couple of songs in August, I started working with live band members around Florida.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (any new releases, tour, etc.)?
Almost finished writing and recording an EP of songs I’ve been working on for quite a while. I have a lot of ideas I’m excited to work on after completing the EP. Currently working with live band and backing tracks to play shows in December and booking more dates in different cities for the new year. 

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?
I would say my music lines up with shoegaze and dreampop scene. I try to keep a shimmery sound and mix 80s pop and lo-fi/DIY elements.

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites? 
It’s refreshing to see bands that stand out and have unique sounds and elements and that’s why I like modern shoegaze and dreampop artists. Right now I’ve been listening to the Doorbells a lot. 

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?
Telecaster through a Roland jazz chorus amp, chorus, flanger, delay/echo, reverb. Minimal drum kit damped in cloth

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?
All the songs I’m doing for Cathedral Bells so far has involved custom sampled drums contrasting with live percussion recordings. I record very minimally through a 2-channel interface directly into my laptop on the program Audacity. All the drum stems are lined up manually on multiple tracks on Audacity. It’s a lot of work but I like how it sounds this way. 

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/Bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any? I don’t think it matters, it depends on the music.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them? 
I love the way cassettes sound. I have a special attachment because I grew up recording on tapes and I just like that hiss noise and warped detune sounds.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?
Teen Beams, Jesus And Mary Chain, Panda Riot, Part Time.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?
“I wake up, stare at the ceilin, I’m alive, what a beautiful feelin” -50 Cent