SXSW Music Spotlight: Mattiel

Atlanta band wears Georgia on their sleeve ... and also their arthouse inspirations


Photo by Brandon McClain

Musical duo Mattiel exudes a sort of artful Southern gloss in their dark jangle-pop productions. The Atlanta band, consisting of Atina Mattiel Brown and Jonah Swilley, wears not only Georgia on their sleeve, but also their arthouse inspirations. Their newest full-length, Georgia Gothic, is not only chock-full of offbeat narratives but has lush visual accompaniment to boot, in the form of eye-grabbing album art and music videos.

“Our most recent video, for ‘Blood in the Yolk,’ is a concept I put together referencing a 1969 surrealist art film called The Color of Pomegranates,” Brown says of the visuals. “I spent weeks securing wardrobe, props, and locations for the filming. I realized at some point that I had to make some of the wardrobe myself ... so the hats are made of cardboard and spare upholstery fabric fastened with staples.”

[inset-1-right]

Brown describes it as DIY, but take a look at any of the band’s many music videos and you’ll feel immediately engrossed in the occasionally hallucinatory visuals. Not to be outdone, the music of Mattiel blossoms behind the songwriting chops of Brown and Swilley. “Blood in the Yolk,” for example, has a Lynchian musical quality, with organ and a twangy, brooding guitar tone telling the story of a last-ditch effort to repair a relationship.

“We wanted to implement cyclical song structures to make you feel like you’re in a trance or inside a music box,” says Swilley. “While writing the album we would take breaks and watch movies to decompress. I was trying to make something musically that could play behind the movie Blue Velvet.”

Where “Blood in the Yolk” is somber, the single “Jeff Goldblum” has a bustling, nearly motorik force behind it, and over almost 3½ minutes Brown sings in a muscular croon about a dream featuring a Goldblum doppelgänger. This time, though, the music video is a fan-style edit of Eighties Goldblum hits.

Mattiel heads out on a rigorous tour in support of Georgia Gothic, and will be at SXSW when the album releases.

Mattiel

Thursday, March 17, 9:40pm, Stubb's

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Sound and Vision: The Meow Wolf/Spatial Connection
Sound and Vision: The Meow Wolf/Spatial Connection
Did SXSW give a preview of the technology behind the next portal?

Richard Whittaker, April 14, 2022

MSNBC Gets Behind the Story of <i>Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets</i>
MSNBC Gets Behind the Story of Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets
New documentary talks to the people who bought Gamestop shares

Ikram Mohamed, April 8, 2022

More by E. Ryan Ellis
What We're Listening to Right Now
What We're Listening to Right Now
Ayo Tamz, Blushing, Whookilledkenny, Chief Cleopatra, and more have us dialed in

Dec. 17, 2021

What We're Listening to Right Now
What We're Listening to Right Now
Duel, Cactus Lee, Kady Rain, Sweetfeed, Startographers, and the You're Gonna Be Great 2 comp

Oct. 15, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

SXSW 2022, SXSW Music 2022, Mattiel, Atina Mattiel Brown, Jonah Swilley, Blood in the Yolk, Georgia Gothic

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle