Interview with Matisyahu

Interview with Matisyahu

In your music, do you feel that you find more religious or spiritual connection?

It’s a hard thing to decide. I don’t know what’s the proper definition of religion versus spirituality? To me those two things are bound together because within my religion is where I look for spiritual substance to my existence. I would say it’s a combination. They are not 2 separate things.

What was the reason for your split from Lubavich?

This is not really so much of a conscious choice. It was a big deal for me. It wasn’t a clear thing either. It was more of a continuation for me in my path. I was able to change in my life so radically because I was open to the idea of change and continuation of growth. So basically what I tried to put my focus on in the last several years was the continuation of that process and continuation to stay open. I would say it’s a pretty normal thing.

So splitting from Lubavich, was that a part of your personal growth?

I would not say it in those words. I just said it exactly. The exact words I said is exactly what I’m saying and I wouldn’t use words that you say because it’s a different thing.

You’ve become known for beatboxing. How would you compare yourself to such veterans as Rahzel and Doug E Fresh?

I was heavily influenced by those guys you just mentioned. First time that I ever really heard live beatboxing was when I was in high school. I was maybe about 14 years old. Probably 1992, 93. I went to see The Roots play. It was actually Common and The Roots was the band that backed him. And Rahzel came out and did a beatboxing set with this guy Kenny Mohammed. That pretty much blew me away and changed my whole understanding of what can be done.

You have a new album coming out in ’08. What changes should we expect from your previous work on it?

The whole thing is gonna be different. It’s gonna have things that people know and heard me do before but there’s gonna be a lot of changes. I don’t even know how to go into explaining. Everything is gonna be different. From the beats to the sound to the style to the singing, the stories.

Will there be more story-telling? Are you getting more lyrical?

Not necessarily. I feel I’ve been pretty lyrical in the past. So just expect changes.

Combining your religious background and your strides as an artist must present quite a few challenges. What specific difficulties have you encountered?

I think for me having the help of having a specific path… eventhou there is a lot of freedom in my life in terms of my work and my music… it’s good to have a stable place to come back to, which for me was my religion, traditions of my people. That’s kind of what I try to tap into for the spiritual aspect of my life and it helps a lot.

Many people feel that it’s unusual for a deeply religious person to perform and rise to stardom. What are your feelings on that?

The thing is that it’s the time that we’re living at. Everyone is influenced by everything with internet, music and the way it goes these days it’s like you have every people from different parts of the world listening to music from other places. So growing up one thing we know is different people and different stops of music for whatever reason. At the same time a lot of people are trying to get back to their roots to figure out who we are as the time is changing. So a lot of people are going back to their roots and exploring their histories. You have the art form but the art form is changing and growing. That part is me staying connected to the world and what’s happening with music. It’s being in the world and being connected and connecting with the different world as well.

How long do you plan on performing? Is this a life-long commitment for you or is it a stage in your life?

It’s hard you know to say what you will do for your whole life. The way I feel it now is I will be involved in music for my whole life.

What would you like to say to your fans?

No, not necessarily. Let’s see. I would say that the music is the best talking here. I have a hard time to try to ex[plain what the music’s about. Especially at first, I wanna give people a chance to see what they will come up on their own before I tell them what I felt when I wrote this song.