Mat Bastard in concert tonight. The name might not ring bells with U.S. audiences (at the moment), but Skip The Use should. A widely admired and enjoyed band who played SXSW a few years ago. I ran one of their 2013 concerts in 2014. The thing that immediately captured my attention about this band was the singer – at the time, founder Mat Bastard. When the band dissolved in 2016, Bastard (whose real name escapes me now) went on to a solo career. He’s enormously popular in Europe, primarily with French speaking audiences, since Mat Bastard is Belgian. He moved to Los Angeles shortly after the breakup and worked with Dr. Dre before building his own studio in Hollywood about a year ago. According to his bio (which, in gist translation leaves a lot to the imagination) Bastard evenly splits his time between Paris and L.A. – at the moment, his audience is still Europe, and judging by his tour schedule, is pretty stacked up with gigs and festivals between now and October.
Also according to his bio, one of his goals is to bring French musicians into U.S. studios and create an awareness that there is a vibrant and healthy music scene in France, on the studio level – likewise, there is an effort underway to make American audiences aware that France has a healthy and solid music scene and encourages more French musicians and bands to make the trek over here and get fan bases going by gigging and taking advantage of the burgeoning festival scene over here. It’s worked for other bands (notably Alt-J), but it’s a momentum that needs to keep rolling. For what it’s worth, he is on Polydor/Universal in France – this is something for Universal’s International Department over here to take a look at, as he ain’t the only one.
Listening to Mat Bastard, the amount of raw emotion, not to mention vocal range he has, makes for some really compelling listening. It’s certainly Indie with an edge, and it’s worth further exploring. From what I’ve been hearing the past few years, it’s the tip of a very interesting iceberg.
Crank it up and check him out.