Matthew Cooper (a.k.a. Eluvium) has been making soothing ambient music for some time now. Combining pristine sonics with dreamy chord structures, Eluvium has caught the attention of many ambient music fans, including us at somewherecold. Matthew answered some questions for us below, shining a bit of light on his artistic process.
How did you get your start in music?
I began with piano lessons as a young boy.
Why have you chosen to use ambient music as your artistic outlet?
I don’t believe I have chosen anything—the sounds that I hear are the sounds that I try to record–whatever style of music it chooses to be—in a lot of cases it has been ambient or some form similar—but this is just coincidence.
How do you write songs…what is the process of writing ambient/atmospheric material such as this?
I sit and let ideas happen sometimes–some days they are there other days not—as well I spend a lot of time formulating ideas while walking around or taking the bus somewhere—just being in motion and looking at other things -nature/civilization/-these things start soundtracking themselves —sometimes I can remember these themes other times not.
How do you come up with song titles?
Many different ways—sometimes after the songs are placed in order and I am trying to set a mental picture of the progression of the album—other times it just simply comes from something referential to other things in my life.
Sometimes from literature—sometimes from paintings I’ve done—etc….
Describe for us the recording process of When I Live by the Garden and the Sea
I was pulling together a couple of different themes not so different from each other–recorded during the spring and summer- I was in one hand trying to summarize the idea of a man coming to terms with reality and having to deal with his dreams being purely unrealistic—and on the other hand–I was making a plea for a man who had no more interest in trying to understand his surroundings and the nature of communication among humans–while all in respect to the music I had made thus far–I wanted to bring each of the elements of the past together to say farewell.
Is there a specific message or theme that you are conveying in your music? What is that theme?
Yes–there are always themes that rise from the creation of music—and although I have shared the purpose of the e.p.–I rather stay away from cementing the themes and ideas of the other albums—this would only take away from the individual listening experience–and limit what creative dreams come from those who choose to listen to my music.
The artwork on your releases is very beautiful and compelling…how do you go about selecting images to accompany your music?
In the case of Lambent, and Talk and Copia–I saw the images and new that they fit in somehow–it was really quite simple–and in regard to the other works—the artist (Jeannie Lynn Paske) has chosen to create something born from the music—i have been really lucky to be able to work with her–not only for the recorded output but she is also a major inspiration in regard to many endeavors—with influential values towards art and expression.
You’ll be on tour soon…how do you capture the atmospheric nature of your songs in a live setting, and how has your music been received in live settings in the past?
So far-it seems to be received quite well—I haven’t been concerned with trying to capture any sort of mood live -to be honest–I have just tried to keep the live setting interesting for me and as improvisational as possible–so that each time the songs are played there is something that keeps you aware of the familiarity of the song while as well it has the ability to be something different than it’s recorded version and grow into new depths and emotional ranges.
You’ve been able to capture the attention of a lot of music listeners…what is it like knowing that you have a fan base, and how has that fan base influenced your art?
I don’t know—-I have always tried to keep a balanced perspective on things—it is nice to know that people care—and I am really glad that they do–but at the same time, I try not to pay close attention—– the more you bog yourself down with what other people are thinking and how your work will be regarded, the more you get sucked into something that doesn’t mean anything—it is very difficult to keep paying attention to how you are growing as a human being and the nature of yourself –when you are too busy attaching yourself to one specific part of your life—–I do love music, listening to it and creating–probably more than most anything I’ve yet to encounter–and I think the possibilities sound can open up haven’t even be truly breached—it is a wonderful thing to be a part of–nonetheless, I am a human being first an foremost—and I have to exercise myself in all manners and not loose sight of that reality
What artists and/or CD’s do you admire, and why?
Most anyone who is trying to push themselves into things they haven’t achieved–trying new things and expanding personal artistic horizons—you don’t have to groundbreaking for the world –just groundbreaking to yourself—-you can hear excitement and curiosity in the recordings of such artists–or see it in their painting or film.
What is in the future for Matthew Cooper and Eluvium?
I really couldn’t say—-probably an exciting adventure of love and betrayal on a high octane ship race across the “other” alpha centauri…
Any other comments?
Thank you for your interest—I hope you are all well.