Matias Elichabehere is a French skater and musician. If you enjoyed the sonic accompaniment to Leo Vall’s part in Riddles in Mathematics, then you’re already familiar with his work. Matias just put out a new EP so we thought it right to resurrect an old column on this site, Reverb, and find out more about his tastes and influences.
Click play and listen while you scroll…
Interview by Blair Alley
Where did you grow up and how did you get into skating and playing music?
I grew up in Bordeaux, France. I started playing musical instruments from a pretty young age, around six. My father used to own a lot of South American musical instruments and was part of a band, which influenced me. I picked up on skateboarding around 13 with my best friend, and spent hours practicing on a sidewalk like most of us.
Where are you living now?
Paris, for now.
What are the major influences on your music?
The stuff my father used to listen to everyday when I was a kid: Mostly traditional Argentinian, Bolivian and Paraguayan music. But influences are constantly changing with time, relationships and events happening in your life. I believe mine are constantly evolving. I often ask my friends and people around me what kind of music they listen to at the moment. It's fun to do that, there’s so much to discover, music is like skateboarding, it's infinite. When I work on a specific project, I usually barely listen to music at all, and sometimes, for a few weeks, I will just do the opposite and look for new sonorities. I’m still listening to my classics: Marcos Valle, A Tribe Called Quest, Inti Illimani, Juan Falú, Sebastien Tellier, and Wally Badarou.
How did Leo Valls come to use your track for his part in Riddles?
We've been friends for 15 years, we grew up skating together and we're used to working together. I already made some tracks for some of his previous video parts such as his Magenta Skateboards Microcosme section, his part from Meanwhile by Minuit Audiovisual, and his section for VHS Mag from Japan. He's always experimenting and trying something different from the rest, just like the way he sees skateboarding and creates his video parts. He wasn’t afraid to skate to a song very different from what I did before, especially the fact that I’m singing in french in this track. The song from Leo’s part is about being independent, doing your own thing no matter what and following your path (path is “Chemins” in French, which is the name of the song) despite the unexpected and the difficulties. You have to keep your trust. This makes sense with what Leo has been doing for years. He’s really into finding the right tempo and rhythm in his skateboarding which is something special not everybody can relate to. I’m really glad he used this track, especially since I know the importance of this part for him; we’ve been watching TWS videos since we were kids! For the story, when Yaje Popson was in Paris to film with the crew and Chris (Thiessen), he stopped by my studio to chill and listen to some music. I played the song from Leo's part and Yaje loved it. They kept on playing it during the tour, trying to sing the french lyrics! I guess that convinced Leo and Chris that it would be a good track for the video.
Leo Valls in Magenta’s Microcosme
How long did you work on this new EP? What was the creative process like?
I started working on it after they came to Paris. We talked with Chris about making tracks for Riddles and then he sent me some influences, worldwide music, old school instrumental hip hop tracks. It was really fun to work on that, I was digging all of Chris' influences.
“I’m really glad he used this track, especially since I know the importance of this part for him; we’ve been watching TWS videos since we were kids!”
For this EP, I always start with a rhythm, a sample from a vinyl record, mostly percussions/drum and sound design vinyl. I was collecting loads of them. Then by following my inspirations, playing different instruments, synthesizers, machines, samples and resamples on cassette—you can create something original that way I think. I composed most of these tracks by watching skate and ambiant footage. It helps to figure out if what you’re making makes sense for the video.
Do you have a full-time job, or are you able to make a living being a musician?
Not yet, I’m a part time sound engineer for a NBA french show while I spend the rest of my time in my studio making music. I’m also starting to make live music, which is something new for me. Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to make a living from my music, beetween concerts, personal projects and orders.
Leo Valls x VHS Mag
What similarities do you see between skating and making music?
Infinity, creativity, expression, fun, and sharing with friends.
Who's a skater that you'd love to see skate to your music?
I would love to collaborate with a skater who plays music and create a track together for his video part. Making a song with Tommy Guerrero for example, over footage of him in SF. Making music for creative skaters is what I like most, somebody like Gou Miyagi doing crazy and new stuff on a skateboard would be sick! Also, I want to make music for people that I know and I can skate with, which means I need to travel more!
What's coming up next for Matias?
I’d like to keep on collaborating with friends and creative people with or without skateboarding. I’m hoping to make one or two new EPs before 2018 to plan concerts in different locations. Maybe an exhibition around my “ultrascore” from my instagram: @matias_elichabehere
MINUIT / Meanwhile. Leo Valls’ part starts at 8:03
Keep up with Matias here:
Matias’ own video part
EP Bandcamp: matias-elichabehere.bandcamp.com
Chemins video: https://youtu.be/GnzGnQabwAE