Young and passionate Matsana, brings to the table Proportions, an emotionally charged, melodically infused track that was inspired by dreaming.
Twenty-year-old Michael Anastassiou, aka Matsana is an avid composer, producer, and performer based in Sydney. Having just dropped his latest single Proportions, it’s clear that Matsana knows how to tell an engaging story. With an innate ability to record soundscapes that are technically and emotionally expressive, you find yourself as a listener very much embraced sonically.
From a young age, Matsana was drawn to the piano and has never missed a day of playing. It was this consistent dedication to music, during his schooling which led to a performance in Sydney Town Hall.
By connecting with other musical instruments and completing grades up to a Licentiate Diploma for the Trinity College of London, music flows naturally through Matsana’s veins. Through experimenting with DAW, having amazing mentors, and letting his dreams intertwine into his music, Proportions is a genuine pour-out of a heartfelt melody.
We caught up with Matsana, and discovered not only does he have a penchant for the hot sun in Greece and has excellent taste in TV shows.
Happy: What are you looking forward to this week?
Matsana: Spending time with my girlfriend!
Happy: Tell us about your suburb, what do you love/not love about where you live?
Matsana: Ryde is a good place to be! I love all of the different activities that there are around my area and places I can visit, the only thing I don’t love is public transport, it really, really sucks where I am.
Happy: Describe your recording set-up and your recording routine when you’re in the zone.
Matsana: So, I often sit at the piano for around 20 minutes just improvising and leaving my phone to record my vocals and piano playing. If I explore something that is interesting when listening back, I will take it to Logic and pump out something. I have a RØDE NT1-A that is plugged into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, which allows me to record vocals through its’ XLR ports and another line-in instrument like a guitar or drum kit, or even perhaps a second vocalist at the same time! I think my ‘zone’ is around 1am, it’s the time I really feel like I can crunch things out.
Happy: Tell us about the experiences and things that drove your passion for music at such a young age.
Matsana: What initially got me started into music, was an old piano that we had in our house, and I just kept playing it, without knowing what any of the notes meant. I had the opportunities to learn ‘notes’ from what I could find on YouTube, and I tried to write down songs that I had heard or just like to hear on a regular basis, however, those songs were just letter names in sequence on a piece of paper. After a couple years of piano, I started on a woodwind instrument called the ‘Oboe’. My cousin initially showed me the instrument and I fell in love with the sound straight away, and now went on to complete my Associate Diploma with the Trinity College of London, where I have put on hold my practice and started focusing on my Uni degree majoring in Composition. I believe I started to compose music more seriously from around year 3 when I acquired a license for Sibelius and started notating anything and everything I could, which then led to me writing some questionable yet original songs! And from then, here I am today! I guess the reason for my passion in music was that I just loved it so much, I couldn’t go a day without pressing a key on a piano. It was a necessity that drove me to where I am and still, I hold that love for music very dear to my heart.
Happy: If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Matsana: 100% without a doubt Greece, I long for a week or two just to relax under that piping hot sun! (And most likely get super burnt in the process)
Happy: We’d love to hear about the dream that inspired Proportions, or any other dreams you have had that continue to inspire you and your music.
Matsana: So, my dreams over the years have been super inconsistent with content and things that I actually dream about, however around 50% or more of my dreams are in fact lucid dreams. But the dream with Proportions, and a lot of my other songs I have drawn inspiration from have been fairly random at times. Specifically, Proportions was one of the most random dreams I had that turned into a song that my brain had concocted and this one appeared on my computer screen as I was writing music within the dream and I was listening to the whole song, so I decided to make it a reality! Often the songs I dream of involve vivid scenery of a field or beach or mainly playing with an artist and of which, their music I really love, including; Jacob Collier, FINNEAS and Billie Eilish, Daniel Caesar, Mac Ayres, Jordan Rakei, Matt Corby, amongst a plethora of other artists, but these always resonate with me, and I always think back to those dreams as I yearn to perform with or even just play/jam with these musicians.
Happy: What would your ultimate day involve?
Matsana: University and work really packs my schedule tight, but on the off day I have nothing on, I’m either at the piano or at my computer pumping something out or hanging out with the people I have closest to me. Alone time is definitely important to me, but I will always need something to distract my mind from being bored.
Happy: Which book or tv show are you currently watching?
Matsana: Woah, where do I even start! I’m not much of a reader, but I am in the middle of watching many, many tv shows right now, including but not limited to; Brooklyn-99, Glee, Lucifer, Rick and Morty, DARK, New Girl and all the new Marvel TV shows. Although, I am keen to watch the new Lord of the Rings show and also possibly get started on Peaky Blinders or Community.
Happy: What did you read last that opened your eyes and mind to a new perspective?
Matsana: I recently watched a video that tackled motivation and learnt that people who have been told they are great and talented tend to put in less and less effort in overtime due to the fact that people only ever see the end result of a song or performance that had a lengthy process of writing or practicing, and those who are told to do better or scolded, do in fact work harder to get better and in turn makes them more motivated. And throughout my life I can see this and how it has affected me, I’ve learnt now to take compliments with a grain of salt and focus on the harsh criticisms that I may receive to better myself. Since then my motivation to keep going has greatly increased and just get my music out to the world!
Happy: Where has been your favourite venue that you’ve performed at?
Matsana: During my schooling, I was in the orchestras and choirs and really anything musical I could join. And I have had the amazing opportunity to perform in these orchestras and choirs inside the Sydney Town Hall, which is just an amazing space!
Happy: What is your most exciting achievement in your music journey so far?
Matsana: I think the biggest achievement I have had so far is that both my Music Extension compositions for the HSC plus one of my performances for the HSC were nominated into the Encore program, where your compositions and performances have the chance to be played at the Sydney Opera House! However, I am looking ahead, and am super excited to see what the future holds!
Put on some earphones and embrace this gorgeous track below.
Interviewed by Olivia Adams.