“Matthews’ solo endeavor is Pink Floyd meets Andrew Bird meets electronic music. There’s no word to capture the kind of fusion offered by this progressive double-bass looping album. One would never imagine that the instrument could be so versatile.” – Paul Kim, Composer
Bassist, composer, and storyteller Todd Matthews produces emotionally-charged, imaginative music and multi-media inventions, which skate gracefully along a dark edge. Finely tuned by years of formal training, experimentation, and collaboration with progressive artists, his range extends far beyond the traditionally-expected parameters of the bass repertoire and allows him to frequently take his instrument to unexplored, magical territory. His varied influences that cross multiple genres, eras, and artistic disciplines have clearly inspired his ability to create an intense musical color palette and include technology-infused pop virtuosos like Bjork and Radiohead, penetrating rock soundscape creators like Led Zeppelin, and progressive classical masters Mahler and Shostakovich. By translating his fascination for electronic music, pop song structure, and his love of the natural, untempered voice of acoustic instruments into lush, layered, rhythmic pieces, Matthews dexterously pushes boundaries and playfully yet poignantly illuminates universally recurring themes – such as unconditional love, adventure, hope, and self-discovery – that define the human experience.
Matthews has always been powerfully driven to create and enthusiastically share his perspectives while absorbing the world wholeheartedly through the Arts. Growing up, the upright piano at his grandparents’ house combined with the mysterious, mesmerizing rhythms and stories hiding inside songs like “The Little Drummer Boy” charmed him into creating his own complex beats, melodies, and harmonies, awakening the great joy of generating many captivating dimensions of sound. He connected instantly with the low drones of the double bass once he began to play it through his elementary school’s string program. He also picked up guitar, which, along with diligent study of his favorite songsmiths, became a perfect tool for honing his own pop and rock songwriting skills. His interest in technology was immediately ignited by his first home computer, and he learned how to build a PC as he began to investigate music software, synthesizers, and samplers. Encouraged by his father to continue to formally examine the vast intricacies of music, he decided to devote his life fully to finding ways to integrate the double bass into the world of technology.
Matthews’ complete commitment to music drove him to earn a BA in music from James Madison University and an MA in music performance from the University of Southern California. Throughout his professional career, Matthews has played bass on numerous independent film scores and recorded and performed with award-winning, multi-platinum recording artists such as Michael McDonald, Yo-Yo Ma, the Pointer Sisters, Josh Groban, Itzhak Perlman, and Art Garfunkel. Additionally, he has been a part of the Richmond Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Williamsburg Symphonia, and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Aside from his on-going work as a solo artist he also currently teaches 6th-12th grade music and plays upright bass in the indie rock band My Darling Fury.
Matthews’ debut, Uh Oh, Here Come the Pig Mammoths, is a beautifully-crafted album with illustrated storybook accompaniment. He used only his double bass to compose and record the entire audio as the soundtrack to an illustrated story about a young man’s quest to rescue his brother from an elaborate fantasy world. Each song on the album contains an average of 30-40 layered tracks of plucked, bowed, and drummed string bass. The endeavor was originally intended to be a collaborative venture between Matthews and his late father, a gifted illustrator, but after his father’s death it morphed into a tribute to his memory. The tale is inspired by his brother’s sleepwalking exploits, as well and some of Matthews’ favorite childhood films, television shows, and books, including The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Twilight Zone, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert M. Pirsig. Musically, it plays with the dark and lively elements attached to the opuses of high-energy bands and composers like Alice in Chains, Pink Floyd, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky. The album was written, performed, engineered, and mixed entirely by Matthews, and mastered by Grammy®-Award-winning mastering engineer Silas Brown, with artwork by Bizhan Khodabandeh. It was fully funded by his fans as a wildly successful project through the fan funding website Kickstarter.
An extremely versatile instrumentalist with an emotive sound, Matthews is fueled by his mission to bring the bass to new frontiers and expose its profound beauty to a wide audience. He continues to seek out compelling ways to create shared musical experiences and incorporate the bass into the modern musical landscape. Uh Oh, Here Come the Pig Mammoths is now available at TODDMATTHEWS.BANDCAMP.COM .