BBG Presents: Joseph Matick

30 April 2015

Everyone has a way of switching off, a way to disconnect from the world around you. Sitting on a roof top overlooking a city of creation and beautiful lights, watching a sunset in tranquillity or just reading a good book. Sometimes you can have that feeling where you don’t belong, like the tiny details are surpassing you. Inhabiting seperate worlds of thought isn’t a flaw, but merely special. Worry less about social adaptation and the need for acceptance and simply embrace being. The only person you need acceptance from is yourself. It’s all about perspective and our talented DJ, Joseph Matick shares an insightful experience on where his musical journey began and the key to finding inspiration. Searching the world with your third eye for beauty in unexpected places will bring you special things. Success. Currently travelling the world with his better half, Carly - their hearts and minds are combining on their latest project, Girlyboi.

Photographer Ieva Blazeviciute captures Joseph in a series of images through graceful movements of searching for nothing. Every conversation that was sprung on the day ended up with the words ‘let it happen’. Things will assemble its way together organically. Joseph is caught in the moments of writing words with the grass between his feet as a sense of liberation penetrates him. Describing himself as having his head in the clouds becomes an accurate description as the day continues. Bringing snippets of sarcasm and humour in comments throughout the day, a phone call with his girlfriend gives a brief insight into the events.

"It's going good… I set my hair on fire, got naked in the woods, climbed a tree, broke a pair of scissors and now my toe is bleeding profusely."

He brings passion into each phrase that passes his lips, both musically and naturally. Joseph has a unique view of life, leaving quotes simply as answers to a shopkeeper whilst on holiday in Rome. The positive yet wise mind he has honed demonstrates the strength of his sounds. You can listen to Joseph here.

Hi Joseph, tell us a bit more about you.
My name is Joseph Matick. I DJ under the name Buhay and I'm working on a project called Girlyboi with my girlfriend Carly. And that's who I am. Well not really, that's just what I do and my nickname.

Who are you?
That's a pretty heavy question, but I'm pretty conflicted apparently. On the surface I give off a carefree, unaffected exterior who doesn't really give a shit, but really I do give a shit. Maybe too much for my own good. I'm a softy, very introspective and my heart can be too big for my own good sometimes. I grew up in a very insular, small town. I spent most of my time to myself, exploring the woods, swimming in lakes. I never really got along with the kids my age.

Music was my only escape. Interestingly enough, hip-hop music was a big part of my upbringing, because my oldest brother Jeremy came back from college and showed me what was cool. DJ Krush, RJD2, Too Short, Outkast's Aquemini, and Snoop’s Doggy style. I really latched onto the phonetics, the linguistic aspects of rap music as a means of expression. That’s always been a thing. Expression. Whether it was trying to communicate to my Filipino grandmother (who spoke no English whatsoever) or to the kids my age (who I had nothing in common with). I latched onto as many possible ways of communicating. I became a sort of social chameleon, but there’s a risk in that. You can totally isolate yourself. If you’re capable of being anything to everyone, well… You run the risk of feeling like you’re not feeling completely genuine. At some point I started looking inward, figuring out all my little quirks, accepting my supposed flaws and embracing myself. I think that’s an important step in personal growth. When you finally tell yourself “You’re cool. Don’t worry.” Haha.. You kind of give yourself a big hug. Anyway I’ve always had a knack for words and phrasing. For the record, I can rap very well - given the opportunity. But I don't.

Why not if you’re so good at it!?
I don't know. I'm still on the fence. I still think that if I wanted to, I could still be a really good rapper. The more rational side of me is like - dude, you're completely delusional, but I appreciate the craft and I love the ability to phrase things and all the clever aspects that go into rhyming. It's just spoken word, rhythmic poetry and to me it's a very beautiful thing. Pop culture has bastardised hip hop into this horrible thing and I don't want to be a part of that terrible thing. I can relate more to folky and rock stuff because as I was growing up my dad used to listen to The Moody Blues and Mamas and Papas, so that might have been the earliest stuff I've ever heard. But then… I might write a rap mix tape at some point. I remembered every single lyric in the Outkast album Aquemini and I had no idea what they're even saying. I was so young, I didn't even know that there was a psychedelic depiction of a naked girl on the front cover. Fun fact - my mum saw that album, broke it over her knee and flushed it down the toilet. My favourite album… My mum did that to me. At the time I was like “She doesn’t care about me!” I was so devastated. I cried like a little baby.

How did your music career begin?
I studied piano from the age of 6-18 and performed at recitals. I was in several bands in high school. We all had great totally hilarious names. I played lead guitar in a band called “GretchenRoss” (the female protagonist from Donnie Darko). It’s funny because I was like 13 and thinking “This is your one chance at the rock star stardom". I ended up going to college to study journalism. I took up music production around this time, and started djing. I wasn't expecting much but when you try something new, you take a risk in any way and you get rewarded for that. Within 3 months I was playing with the biggest names in the world. And then I had these people trying to make my music more marketable and throwing money at me - “you're young, you're a DJ, you're good looking.” All that really pushed me away from the scene. While DJ-ing I met Carly. I'd been wanting to make more organic music, strip down all the bullshit and layers and layers of computer noises. That stuff is fun and you can go out, get drunk and dance to it, but at the end of the day, it doesn't touch any part of my soul. So I was getting so fed up with it. And one day I heard Carly singing in the shower and I realised how beautiful her voice is. We started making music together. Then I sold my car, sold everything and just came here to Europe. Just went for it! Because when you do that, you seem to be rewarded for that. Signing with agencies here and meeting all these amazing people, there have been so many experiences and opportunities that I have been given here. I'm all in and I want to do anything and everything crazy because I know it all comes from the same place. Your creative inspiration isn't exclusive to music or playing the guitar, it comes from going to museums or reading books or painting. Even if you don't paint, just do it. Photoshoots, acting, it all comes from one place and it's all gonna make the music better.

I used to rush music, but now I’m just letting things happen organically, naturally. I think that’s what differentiates this project from any type of music I had worked on prior. Probably why it’s finding so much success. One of the things I’ve learned here is to let go and let things happen. I’ve also learned to roll my own cigarettes.

Because it's cheaper?
It's definitely more cost efficient. It's more satisfying too. To use your hands.

Do you like to make stuff often?
I took a wood shop class, a metal smithing class and I used to cast iron bronze in college. And the three things I made for my assignments were a wooden keyboard case, a giant interactive Libra scale since I'm a Libra, and the last one, no idea why I did this, was a cast iron bronze dolphin with a penis.

Why? Haha.
I'll tell you why. The assignment was to create something that represents you and at that time I was really convinced that my spirit animal was a dolphin. They're honestly so human like. I spent a lot of time in water growing up. I didn't mention this earlier, but I was a state medallist in swimming. The reason why I did a dolphin with a penis is because as part of the course, we took a field trip to the institute of sex to look at erotic sculptures. So I was just trying out things in material from earlier in the course and I thought it would win me some brownie points. Everyone had things to say during the critique and there were lots of sexual puns too. It was actually really hard to make. But yeah, I didn't take school very seriously. I'm gonna interview you now. Earlier in the day you called me a diva. What brought you to that conclusion?

Just the way you are, the way you put yourself forward.
Diva could mean a pretty negative thing in America, but I know what you meant. I do think there are aspects to my general demeanour and my total comfort ability with myself that are feminine. I feel okay looking at the mirror making sure that I look alright. I have no problem with that. I grew up the second youngest of nine. Five older sisters, one younger and two older brothers. I spent most of my time around my older sisters. Getting pampered, being their guinea pig for dress up, make up, etc. I never really got to bond with my older brothers until I was older myself so for the most part I was raised by women.

Have you always had long hair?
Actually, the story about my hair is when I met my girlfriend Carly. I decided that I'm not gonna cut my hair, ever. So my hair is as long my mine and Carly's relationship is. My lovelocks are two years long. Next question: you said that you've learnt lots of interesting things about me today, what would be the one thing you remember?

It would probably be how your childhood and growing up relates to what kind of person you are now.
I always had this idea of being a performer. It sounds so stupid and I think a lot of people have these dreams and they never take them seriously when they get older. I did. And for better or worse, I'm never gonna change my mind. I’ve always wanted to be pushed in a direction of wanting to perform and be theatrical. If you give me a random group of people, it’s in my nature to entertain. It's also because being one of the youngest when I was with my family I was always my assignment to make everyone laugh.

What's your favourite colour?
Favourite colour… Warm blue. What it says about my personality is that I guess I'm warm, playful and fun and I'm your best friend that you haven't seen in a while. Or haven't met yet.

What is your biggest fear?
The biggest fear of mine is getting an ego. It's always been like that, because my brothers used to keep me in check and so they'd let me know if they think that I'm being arrogant. So for me I think it's where it stems from my biggest insecurity of coming across as arrogant and that's never my intention. At the same time I don't want to sacrifice the confidence that I do have by being afraid of coming across as arrogant, as you can't please everyone. But when I talk about the differences of being confident and being arrogant and having an ego, I'm talking about how there is a fine line between confidence and ego. Confidence is beautiful, because confidence inspires confidence in other people. Ego, in a weird and twisted way can sometimes tear down other people's confidence. Confidence is not 'hey, I'm better than you', but it's 'hey, I can't wait to share this with you. I can inspire something within you'. It's really hard to balance that line because when you are being very passionate about something, they might think that you are being arrogant, but you're just proud and it's important to be proud of what you've accomplished.

Describe yourself in three words.
Filipino, creative, linguist. Is that all? Pretty much it. No, maybe careless, carefree, balanced. I'm under the school of thought that nothing is bad. Of course, there are evil things. But nothing is bad; it's your intention going in it. If you're drinking a beer to escape, then that's bad. But if you're having a beer with a friend, that's not bad. I was raised by a wild pack of women of five older sisters. They truly raised me to be a girlyboi.

How do you keep that balance?
It's hard and I don't even know if I am balanced, but I work on it. You can't stop bad shit from happening, whether or not you try to avoid it, it's coming. There are gonna be unexpected things in life, but it's all about the perspective. If you can learn from failures, it's a good thing. The only true wisdom comes through experience.

How has travelling in Europe been so far?
It's been really amazing and totally rewarding and completely frightening and incredibly self-revealing. Before you travel places you have this notion like “it's a whole different planet,” but then you go and you meet people and then you realize that everyone has the same problems, looking for the same things. I knew the only way to pull off “girlyboi” was to be bold and to be genuine. And we’re genuinely making music and genuinely taking risks. Talking about genuine shit, I sold everything, gave up prior ideas about myself, and I’m finding myself with Carly. We’re figuring out things about ourself together. If you relate to the human experience, you can really resonate with people. And that’s what we want to do. Talk about OUR human experience, and resonate. We just want to make simple, beautiful, human songs. So now, I’m living with my girlfriend and we're traveling and making music together. My grandpa used to say that the best way of getting to know someone is traveling together and so for me it's amazing that we get to do this at such a young age and figure everything out.

What do your tattoos mean?
The movement one isn't about shaking my ass and dancing. Although that's what I like doing, it's more about keeping things going. If you're on a tight rope, you're gonna fall down if you don't keep going. The flower on my shoulder is a Filipino flower called a sampagita. The one on my side is for my grandfather “Leoncio.” My middle name is Leo after him. He was always so dapper and well dressed, he was cool. The fact that he looked so cool was indicative of his personality. He was the most genuine human I had ever known. The one on my finger is what I got together with my girlfriend, it's a script for travel. I also have “Toofless” with a backwards “F” and two “$$” on my inner lip. Believe it or not, it’s a sentimental tattoo. My sister Theresa’s middle name is “Ruth”, so she got “Ruthless” and I got “Toofless”, because when we were younger she knocked out my tooth and it didn’t grow back for like 15 years. It built a lot of character in that period of time.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
There is a log cabin in Rome, Georgia. I'm convinced that god created Georgia so that he has a place to stay when he visits earth. It's beautiful. My girlfriend and I stayed there and you can't even use your phones there because there is no service so you're forced to disconnect. People are very friendly too, I had incredible experiences there. We stopped by a toy store on our way from Hampstead Heath and as we were looking around, the most articulate shopkeeper was telling a story to a little girl. He finished it with 'Life is short, my dear". I then turned to him and said: ‘What do you mean? Life is the longest thing you'll ever experience.’

Photography and Interview by Ieva Blazeviciute.
Words by Vilija Kasiginaite.

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