"When you know you want to make music, you just can't do anything else. I don't have a choice."
That explains why producer, drummer and DJ Matt Aitchison, aka FAVOURITE SON, has spent most of his life doing just that - making music. He's played drums in a death metal band, produced fifteen albums in genres ranging from world music to relaxation and he spins '80s classics at Galaxy Nightclub every Saturday. And amongst all this, Favourite Son has finally found the time to make an album of his own. The launch party will feature Canberra favourites Tijuana Cartel and is set to go off at the Street Theatre later this month.
Matt's band comprises a horn section, a guitarist (Steve Gray from local act Tonk) and a singer called Supernova Jade (I haven't even seen her yet and already I have a crush). "I think it's really important to put on a show - you've gotta give an experience. That's why I wanted to have it at the Street Theatre," Matt says. "It's not quite the same when you're playing a pub and everyone is drinking and yelling out 'play some Barnesy!'"
Far from the gravelly hard rock of Cold Chisel, Matt and his band peddle luscious, laidback beats; fusing seemingly disparate genres such as funk, old soul, ambient and rock. On first listen, his self-titled album puts me in mind of Groove Armada and Faithless, but he also lists Curtis Mayfield, The Eurythmics and godfather of soul James Brown as influences. Matt doesn't use a computer in his live shows, but switches between keyboards and drumkit. "I have two drum machines for this gig, so I can trigger awesome drum and bass loops," he says. "I figure if it's good enough for U2, it's good enough for me!"
As if this gig wasn't shaping up to be a melting pot of influences already, add to the mix the delicious flamenco/dance fusion of Tijuana Cartel. Hailing from the Gold Coast, the Cartel have packed out Hippo Bar on two occasions, as well as appearing at Woodford and the Blues n Roots festival. Their debut album They Come is an unusual mix of flavours which don't seem to work in theory, but definitely work in practice.
Matt encountered the Cartel after he moved to Byron Bay to focus on his music. "I've done Melbourne and I've seen the New York music scene. But it depends where your soul belongs - that's where you'll write your best music and be most comfortable."
Lucky for us, Matt has decided that his spiritual home is Canberra, which means we'll be treated to a certified unique experience. "I'm really excited to finally be doing this. I've known that I wanted to be a musician since I was nine years old and watched Live Aid on the telly." In that case, what's next after the album launch? "More albums," he replies without hesitation. Ah. Definitely born to do it.
Favourite Son and Tijuana Cartel will play at the Street Theatre on Friday October 23. Tickets available from thestreet.org.au.