Fashion-icon? Music-nerd? Both! Matisa has always combined her passion for fashion with that of music leading into releases on Optimo and Biologic, which was not only accompanied by bright poetic music but tees that shone equally pale. Inspired by and from her early childhood, which dates back to the 90s, the artist has a preference to draw on sounds and (musical) influences from that period of her life and turn it into contemporary pieces. Without a doubt Matisa has fully dedicated herself to these artistic fields, starting her days with music as well as probably ending them in the same way. For Torture the Artist she reveals some of her habits and her ‘golden dream’ of a future, she compiled the latest and last art:cast of a bizarre year and spoils us with some vinyl-tips.
Torture the Artist: Ciao Matisa/Isabella, how would you like to be addressed and thank you for taking the time to catch up with us! Can you share what you have in store for the day?
Matisa: Hi, Matisa is fine. <smiles> It’s a pleasure talking to you. I’ll spend the morning listening to demos that producers around the world send me and doing some music research as well, then I will do my workout routine and work on a new track I will release soon on Permanent Vacation. In the evening I will call my team in order to finalize next steps regarding our projects.
Torture the Artist: Let’s talk about your most recent release — The Elsewhere — a 90s Progressive House-inspired EP. What subgenres from the 90s spark your interest and why are these specific qualities relevant now?
Matisa: The Elsewhere is a release I really care about. My first vinyl EP that shows my true identity. I don’t like to define it as a “product”, I consider it an understatement. “The elsewhere is somewhere”. The 90s are definitely my decade: itcorresponds with my birth-date, they were the years of my first discoveries, years in which there was an energy that today I can only perceive by listening to music from those years. I’m a great lover of Progressive House, Trance and Eurodance of that period. The Elsewhere is full of elements deriving from that era.
I would like to live in a place where there is no prejudice, where there is freedom of expression, cleanliness, education and ideas are shared.
Torture the Artist: Elsewhere maybe (physic)ally unattainable… Nonetheless, if you could teleport to another time/place, aside from which you have lived, when/where would it be and why?
Matisa: Honestly, I would not like to live in a specific time in the past. I’m a person who always looks into the future with a portion of positivity. I would like to live in a place where there is no prejudice, where there is freedom of expression, cleanliness, education and ideas are shared. But perhaps there is no such place. But I continue to imagine it and to promote these values.
Torture the Artist: Although still in the budding stage, your discography is quite impressive. What leading principles do you hold yourself to during this growth period?
Matisa: I started producing about two years ago, I still have a lot to learn. I really like the creative process, it’s my favorite moment. I love developing ideas and turning them into music. As a child and even now I loved humming in my head and now I can put everything I have in my head into music, whereas before it was impossible for me to do it. Ideas turning into reality or come true. It’s amazing.
Torture the Artist: Speaking of growth, can you describe to us what you have planned next on Moxie’s label ‘On Loop’?
Matisa: When it comes out I hope to have surprised you again. <laughs> I can only say that I have released three original tracks and I am very satisfied with what I have produced.
Torture the Artist: In the past, you have said the attire you wear and or associate with exudes comparable characteristics to your essence. What specifically classifies a brand as Matisa-worthy; how do these details tie into your sound?
Matisa: On my first record for Optimo Music, Organza, I understood how to mix music and fashion; at that time I was doing a study on fabrics at Polimoda in Florence, I took them home with me and in the studio I interpreted the perception of the fabric and transformed it into music. This is what I did. Maybe it’s a crazy thing to put it that way but it’s a very profound concept for me.
Torture the Artist: Also, we’re curious, do you design clothes yourself?
Matisa: Yes, I do and I would like to do it better, but this will be my future evolution. I hope to start drawing something for others and not just for me.
People did not have any kind of gender.
Torture the Artist: We’ve frequently seen you sporting a gold coin Egyptian niqab (veil). This piece signifies the idea of purity and existence; so, what is your story behind this statement?
Matisa: After suffering an important bereavement in 2017, I had a recurring dream: I dreamed of being surrounded by gold and participating in rituals in which people did not have any kind of gender. From there came the idea of buying a gold mask that would project me while I was performing in that world there.
Torture the Artist: What initiated your creation of the LGBT club culture-inspired night: The Naked Dance?
Matisa: Same year: 2017. I wore the mask for the first time in my “The Naked Dance” party, I remember being able to create a harmonious place. Party reserved for 100 people, everyone was free to express themselves as they preferred, the photographer shot with a Polaroid with rare colored films to be found. There was the right energy. I speak in the past but I am convinced that it could very well be a project that I will resume in the future.
Torture the Artist: I believe that “Matisa” is a gender-neutral name, was this selected intentionally? If so, would you speak more to this?
Matisa: My real name is Isabella Matilde, Matisa is basically the result of putting those two together.
Torture the Artist: Since you fancy vinyl, can you share a few records you have discovered that you are excited to bring to the dance-floor (that maybe you have not before)?
Matisa: There you go…
Plush Managements Inc – Magic Plush
Vitess – Tigre Bichro
Raphael Schön – Loosing You
Roza Ternezi – Stilysh Tantrum
Point Guard – Hibiscus
Torture the Artist: Has the hard shift to online presence affected your (record store) digging? How have you adjusted to this type of platform?
Matisa: I’ve never stopped being a nerd. I spend hours with headphones and a Mac on my lap. I do a continuous research. Now I definitely have more time to listen and discover new music online. It’s my beautiful obsession.
Torture the Artist: Since you mainly produce and perform club music, how have you kept this dance-floor vibe during club life’s (corona) coma?
Matisa: Now that you’ve got to known me a little, you’ve probabyl realized that I love to be carried away by the imagination. This is how I do. I don’t deny it is difficult but not impossible.
Torture the Artist: In terms of “beauty” where is somewhere, that you least expected, where you found such aesthetics?
Matisa: The amazing hills of Chianti (in Tuscany, Italy). I suggest anyone take a trip there.
Interview by Isabella Gadinis