The concept is deep and you may be apathetic to the message, but Miguel Valdez, the mastermind behind experimental/post-rock electronica band Mattox (the name taken from a street in El Paso,TX, that houses a Border Patrol facility that holds undocumented immigrants temporarily before deportation), is not at all timid to tackle topics and themes often seen in movies such as Denzel Washington’s Man On Fire. His band, Mattox, is a collective of multi-instrumentalist musicians coming together to create haunting yet elegant pieces of music. Their latest album, El País de los Desaparecidos, brings to the forefront the crisis of people who disappear on a daily basis in México—13 on average. We had the opportunity to speak with Miguel about his band Mattox and recent album release.
Who/what is Mattox?
Mattox is Julio Mena, Edmundo Valencia, Ray Olivas Moji Abiola and Miguel Valdez, but this isn’t a regular band.
The music is composed really well, often dramatic (ex: B Movie). Who writes the music and plays instruments? Who worked and contributed to this EP? I see you brought back Moji Abiola on “Still Floating” tell me a little about her contribution and the unique element she brings to the band?
We all play several different instruments, so when it comes to recording; there is no bass player or drummer. Anyone can record whatever the song requires. The bass on “El País” was recorded by Edmundo, and the guitar solo as well.
Moji is back once again. She is the most talented out of all of us. It’s so easy to work with her. We don’t really have to talk about where to take an idea, we just know. But living in different cities can make everything take way longer than it should, that’s just how it is.
What’s this album about? Who or what inspired it? Is it a continuation of El Consumidor?
The title came from an article done by Revista Proceso, which talks about people gone missing all over Mexico. Thousands of people go missing every year and the government does nothing to find them or find answers. I guess it feels like a 2nd part to El Consumidor but it wasn’t planned that way at all.
Did you record at Dust Empire? How long did the process take?
Yes, this was recorded at Dust Empire in its entirety. It’s hard to tell how long it took. It was started right after El Consumidor with a lot of breaks in between, of course.
The title came from an article done by Revista Proceso, which talks about people gone missing all over Mexico. Thousands of people go missing every year and the government does nothing to find them or find answers.
Why distribute the music digitally for free?
We’ve always had free downloads of our music when its been released just as celebration, and only for a couple of days.
Will you make tapes, vinyl, cd’s?
We do want to make some one of a kind 7 inches, once we figure out the money thing; we’ll get them started.
Will you tour?
Yes, we do want to go play other cities for sure.
Text: Alex Durán