Materia: Unconventional Rock Pioneers Breaking the Mould

Unconventional Sonic Pioneers: Materia Redefines Rock with Electric Mandolins and Violins

Materia isn’t your run-of-the-mill rock band. They’re turning heads in the music world, and not just by chance. Rejecting the notion of a “right” way to do things, they’re rewriting the rules.

Instead of sticking with the traditional guitar and bass combo, they’ve taken the road less traveled, opting for electric mandolins and violins. The result? A fresh fusion of genres that defies expectations and invites listeners on a sonic journey.


In a music landscape where conformity often reigns supreme, Materia stands out. Their choice of electric mandolins and violins challenges the norm, giving rise to a sound that’s both unexpected and captivating.

This isn’t about following the crowd; it’s about carving a unique path in the rock scene. The band’s refusal to play by the rules speaks volumes about their determination to create something entirely their own.

Materia’s sonic experiment isn’t just about the instruments; it’s about a mindset. By embracing the “wrong” instruments, they’re proving that innovation doesn’t come from staying within the lines.

Their blend of mandolins and violins isn’t a gimmick; it’s a deliberate choice that’s altering the landscape of rock music. Materia’s journey reminds us that there’s no singular formula for success—sometimes, it takes a bold departure from convention to make an impact.


Lets Dive Into How Materia Creates Rock with the Wrong Instruments

Use of weird instruments

We play the wrong instruments. Instead of a bass and guitar, our band features an electric violin and electric mandolin.

In the same way that guitar and bass have a similar tuning which leads to more intuitive playing, violin and mandolin also have the same tuning.

Guitars and basses are tuned in 4ths (except for that pesky B string!) whereas the mandolin and violin are tuned in 5ths.

This leads to entirely different chord construction and melodic tendencies, which have a dramatic effect on the way we write songs. Certain melodic intervals that would be natural on a guitar wouldn’t be on a mandolin, and vice versa.


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Electric Violin

Where guitar and bass are separated by an octave, violin and mandolin have the exact same tuning.

As a result, Habibi sometimes pitch-shifts his violin one or two octaves to occupy the role of a bass.

Other times, he plays the role of a lead, or rhythm instrument, demonstrating the flexibility, utility, and versatility of our players and instruments.

One of Habibi’s goals in this band was to show the world that the violin is so much more than a sweet melodic orchestral instrument.

Habibi’s violin was custom built by himself. It too is very unique, being a 5-string with magnetic pickups.

The first instrument he made took him months of research and construction. It was literally falling apart during the recording process.

His role on the record was literally held together by blu-tac and hope.


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Electric Mandolin

Jason plays a Victorian Electric Mandolin, custom built for his needs by Daniel Gilchrist.

It is a truly unique instrument, one of the only of its kind in the world, being a 10-string electric with 2 magnetic pickups.

Typically filling the pitch-space of a guitar, Jason’s mandolin takes on the role of rhythm or lead, though with effect pedals sometimes achieves a more textural, atmospheric purpose in our songs.

Similarly to Habibi, Jason has displayed that the mandolin is capable of so much more than it is traditionally used for.


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Witness Melbourne’s trailblazing rock pioneers for yourself as they take the stage on August 10, 2023, at Bad Decisions Bar.

Give a listen to ‘Everything Ends’ below and make your way to Materia’s event page for more details. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to experience their unconventional talent firsthand!