What is your name and role within the band?
My name is Matt Bones, I am one of two vocalists for Bonelang and specialize in the music production/instrumental components of the records.
How did you start?
Samy and I have been making music together since we were thirteen. At first it was just goofing off, but as we progressed we got more and more serious about it over time. Of course we also sharpened our skills gradually and eventually our ability as musicians far outstripped any of our other talents.
Where are you based?
We are based in Chicago, but have strong roots in many major cities like New York, St. Louis, London, and Cairo.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
We like to say that our process is that we have no process. For example, if we just did a song where I produced all of the instrumental first, then Sam came along and wrote the lyrics for it beginning to end, maybe our next attempt is for Sam to give me a piece of spare poetry he has laying around and then I’ll write a melody to that. Then we’ll construct the rest of the piece around it. We try to challenge ourselves to write in new ways ‘cause it keeps us engaged and keeps the music fresh. If you’re working with a process unlike anything you’ve done, a lot of the time you’ll end up with a product unlike anything you’ve ever done.
What are you working on right now?
We’re always working on a lot. Currently, the main project is the follow-up to our first record Venn Diagrams. We also have a handful of videos, an art book, a live exhibition and more in the works.
What is your gear setup?
We have our own studio which is pretty respectable and has all we need to produce records on our own. Specifically, we have Event studio monitors, an AKG C214 for vocal recording, an Echo Audiofire pre8 audio interface, and we produce for the most part on Ableton Live before pivoting to Pro Tools for mixing. The list of gear and plug-ins in the studio is too long to get detailed about.
Live we play with two very talented backup musicians. Our drummer plays an eclectic kit with assorted Cymbals and percussion and a Ludwig Black Beauty Snare drum. Our keyboardist plays a Korg Kronos, a Korg Minilogue, and a Moog Sub Phatty. We play backing tracks through a specially-constructed rig with a very complex Ableton Live session at its heart.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
We’re both very curious people and outside hobbies. I think that a lot of my interest in music composition comes from a seemingly unrelated place – an interest in taking things apart and seeing how they work. In the same way that I liked pulling apart telephones as a little kid to see what was inside, I like knowing what about a certain musical passage produces a certain emotional response. If the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you’re listening to a live performance, what was it that gave you that reaction? Was it the confluence of textures between the instruments that momentarily slid into perfection? Was it the raw energy and precision of the players onstage? Was it the perfectly sculpted conclusion of a section that makes you feel like there was no other possible way for it to end; that it took you out of your comfort zone momentarily to finally set you back down in a place of inevitability?
How would you describe your music genre?
Describing our genre is a little difficult because we love and are fluent in lots of different styles. We’ve both played in genres totally removed from what Bonelang now does. However, the production style is fundamentally pop/electronic with hip-hop and jazz influences and our lyrical style is fundamentally pop/hip-hop with a hefty dose of indie rock. It’s really an amalgam.
Do you know any music theory?
Yes, I’m a multi-instrumentalist and am currently working on a master’s degree in music composition, so I have a really thorough background in music theory and encourage every artist to learn more about they way songs and instruments work. It’s hard and can be tedious, but in the long run it makes your job infinitely easier.
What are your plans for the future?
Our plan is to never leave our studio until we die unless we have to go on tour or grab a snack.
In all seriousness though, we just work really hard and make as much quality work as we can manage. In the end, that’s all you can really do.
How did you get into music?
I sang a lot (in choirs or just for fun) as a kid and picked up instruments starting in middle school. I auditioned for my junior-high jazz band on a different instrument each year, trying to learn enough about the mechanics and theory of each one to become a passable player. I also loved poring through music catalogs, staring at recording gear and amps for hours on end. It’s just a life-long fascination.
What are you listening to at the moment?
The new Gorillaz record. Also keeping an eye on this new group that’s been leaking tracks called Superorganism. Really wild stuff.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
We love Jesse Lacey, Archy Marshall, André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, and Damon Albarn. I could easily keep going, but those are some of the big ones.
When are you playing next?
On June 10, we’ll be playing the Green Music Festival in Chicago before heading on an East Coast tour in July.