There are people who float in and out of the music scene. You kind of remember their backstory and you have an impression of their face, the sound of their voice, or their sound. Then there are those who take the scene and, with wet hands, grab it, slap it on the stage and just mold the shit out of it. Again and again.
The man behind Roofless Records, 31-year old Matthew Preira is the latter. He’s back with a new album as Pewbert, Bad Naps, and record label, 21 Hundred. Preira spent years taking Miami’s weird music scene to the next level with wild sonic releases and memorable showcases. Though he started promoting live music at age 15, at places like the Alley in Allapattah (“which he calls “a DIY warehouse space run by literal children”), he never thought of himself as musical.
“I’m deaf in my left ear, tone deaf, and generally not a very physically coordinated person. I assumed I didn’t have the skill set to make music, and my early attempts at learning traditional acoustic instruments like guitar confirmed this in my mind,” he recounts. “As a result of this self-conception, my obsession with music manifested in a backstage capacity.” The scene benefitted from Preira’s talents in that role, both with Roofless and as a preternaturally talented writer and interviewer for zines and New Times.
But nothing lasts forever, and he eventually found himself burnt out in those roles. “Music was still always on my mind, and I had cultivated a degree of performance confidence from years of dicking around in the noise scene,” he says. “The combination produced a desire to compose for recording.” With that, Pewbert was born.
Preira released his first Pewbert EP in 2016, Fun Guy, and his second, Bad Naps, this month. “I would describe those compositions as ‘island universes’… Fun Guy is like three short films, whereas Bad Naps is a more singular linear narrative statement. Which is not to say the tracks bleed into one another. The record is very eclectic and you could even see its five genres represented in five tracks.
Bad Naps is a collaboration with co-producer eDad (Edward Adames) who recorded, mixed, mastered it and played a collaborative role in composing. “I greatly prefer to work with others on music rather than by myself…The first track ‘Sleep Debt’ was a maze of segments that he helped me untangle and add the polyrhythmic elements to. We went insane and almost killed each other arranging congas,” Priera recalls. “Additionally, I gave him the frame of ‘Wet Dreamcatcher’ for him to jam on piano over…He…was the Bowie to my Iggy.”
21 Hundred is a collaboration with Brad Lovett, also is known as spooky, experimental, minimal techno music-maker Dim Past whose Wey Yu Ghost is also on the label. Preira describes this newest endeavor with Lovett — who also is active in the roving live and electronic music venue/experience Miami Music Club — as more “exclusive” than Roofless. “The goal is to release fresh sounds that don’t already have a hashtag.”
Future releases include a new album from Miami expatriate Bobby Flan and the debut statement from eDad.
Listen to Bad Naps here.