Matthew Dear | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
Matthew Dear performing during the Thievery Corporation Tour 2024 at Emo's Austin in Austin, Texas on May 30, 2024. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

Matthew Dear grew up in Kingsville, Texas, shifting between trailer homes and immersed in country and rock music. His musical horizon expanded when his older brother, influenced by South Texas's burgeoning electronic music scene, introduced him to artists like Depeche Mode and Nitzer Ebb through cassette tapes. Matthew's father, a fisherman who managed an Elk’s Lodge and played guitar, influenced his early musical interests. In 1995, Matthew moved to Michigan with his parents, and at 16, he began recording acoustic guitar music on 4-track tapes. By the late '90s, he had discovered Detroit's abandoned warehouse rave scene and started creating techno music using an Ensoniq sampler. During college, he delivered pizzas and hosted raves in the pizza shop basement on weekends.

Matthew's career took a significant turn when he met Sam Valenti IV at a college house party, becoming the first artist signed to the Ghostly International label. Before this, he had presented his demo cassette to the legendary Carl Craig, who encouraged him to further develop his music. His first release on Ghostly was a split 12” with the late Dave “Disco D” Shayman, featuring the track “Put Your Hands Up For Detroit,” which was later sampled and became an international hit. Matthew also shaped the sound of Ghostly’s dancefloor offshoot, Spectral Sound, with releases under his techno alias Audion. Twenty years later, his music would be released by Carl Craig’s label under the project Brain.

Matthew's debut album, Leave Luck To Heaven, was crafted in his bedroom and released in 2003 to critical acclaim, including praise from the New York Times and a four-star review from Rolling Stone. His subsequent albums, Asa Breed and Black City, allowed him to explore further, with Black City earning Pitchfork’s Best New Music. In 2012, he released Beams, receiving further acclaim and touring internationally with Depeche Mode and Hot Chip.

In 2016, Matthew stepped back from a life of excess, leaving behind years of substance abuse. For his 2018 album, Bunny, he collaborated with Tegan and Sara, Detroit's Protomartyr, and Ricardo Villalobos. Over the years, he has remixed tracks for Spoon, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and The Postal Service and contributed his expertise to projects for General Electric, Microsoft, and Ford. MGMT even invited him to remix every song from their album Little Dark Age.

In 2021, Matthew released Preacher's Sigh & Potion: Lost Album, a collection of songs shelved from a decade earlier. He now lives in Michigan with his wife, three children, three goats, and a dog, and he teaches in addition to his music career.
Fan reviews:

Matthew Dear Band was fabulous! I had just heard their song "Her Fantasy", the week before on local radio. One of those moments when your driving and your ears perk up and "What is this?' There was not one undanceable moment during this show. It was mesmerizing. It felt like the bass and the drums were connected to my heart . Great state presence, great suits! The music is dark, beautiful, sexy... watch the video, see the show.

An incredible performance! Though his music and lyrics are enough to stand on their own, Matthew Dear gave an incredible performance, absolutely mesmerizing. The music itself sounded incredible, with not one but two percussive set-ups, and Mr. Dear sang, (dressed in his signature pinstripe suit) with much more range than seems presented on his latest albums, a nice surprise. If you are an electronic/electronica lover like me, he is one performer you should not miss as he is as fascinating to watch as he is to listen to.

Best show I've seen in a long time! With amazing showmanship, Matthew Dear completely transfixed El Ray with a brilliant performance. A touch of theatre and a great band supporting him, this was definitely one of my favorite shows this year.
Matthew Dear shared the stage with Thievery Corporation at Emo's Austin. They continue across the United States with the last stop at the Tannahill's Tavern and Music Hall in Fort Worth, Texas on May 31, 2024.

Matthew Dear
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Photos by Ralph Arvesen
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