Matte CompanyMat Company
Interviews with Max Pollack from Matte Projects
Created in 2011 in New York by Max Pollack, Brett Kincaid and Matthew Rowean, MATTE Projects in New York is a creativity firm and manufacturing company. Its mission is to create unparalleled experience and bring together cultural with its carefully crafted curatorial programs, two of the most famous and popular musical festivals of the year, Full Moon and Black.
It is also the mastermind behind several pieces of work for a number of customers from different sectors. Before you co-founded MATTE Project, what is your history? I' d always liked to play and I attended a collegiate think tank that brought me into designing, so I wanted to combine making soundtracks, brand-nameing and some kind of imaginative problem-solving work.
I did my first practical training at an experiential place for electronical work. I then got an intern at a creativity company that developed strategies that turned into ajobs. Because I wanted to be in the record business, I quit for a gig at a PR-company. But I was horrible, so I was discharged within three month.
There was no work for me, so I began to work part-time at Saks Fifth Avenue as a salesman while I was doing the side jobs of making film. Back then I ran into my co-founder Brett Kincaid through a boyfriend who I went to class with. I used to produce and book musical gigs in high schools and colleges, so I had that kind of history, and I knew I wanted to do it in New York, and Brett had set up a recruitment company for things like waiter and bartender, and he also wanted to do musical productions, so we began working together.
So we gave some crappy gigs and began to manage a small location, and I also launched a musical blogs and got follower, so we began to get to know this universe a little more, but we kept reflecting on what would be the next step. When we got to the point where we did all these things, and it just didn't make anymore sence.
What gave you the name MATTE? I like the tone of MATTE. Also MATTE has some other great interpretation. It' hilarious that MATTE are also Max and Brett together. Initially, the company was only called MATTE. Why and when did you rename MATTE Project?
I had MATTE and we didn't know what to call it, so we had MATTE Productions first, but I thought it was weird. Then, during the first photoshoot we did for Black, one of the artists on the sets said, "I think you said one of the projects...". I thought that " projects" were awesome.
Back then Common Projects was the only name I knew of that contained "projects". Instead of "projects", we decided on "projects" because it also represented everything we do. Not only do we do productions or just happenings. Initially, MATTE was intended only for our productions and event department, and our agent was named MATTE Finnish.
Matt Finish was the name I loathed, but we did it first because Matt's company was named Finish, so we put it together. This is the concept of the framework around MATTE. Which was the first thing you did as MATTE? One of the musical agencies with whom I have worked in the past sent me an e-mail about organizing an Kitsuné outing.
so I asked Brett if he wanted to do it with me. This was also the date on which we made our first videoproduction. Kitsuné then asked us if we wanted to do more shows for them, so we became their US promoter/representative for all their work.
We' ve done SXSW, Winter music Conference and Coachella for Kitsuné. Brett and I then began making small orders for productions and video clips for customers. The Fullmoon is the first big musical experience you've ever made and it has become a very popular New York festivals yearly. What gave you the notion of a full moon?
First full moon in 2011 was actually launched by Brett and this other fellow Ben Hindman. You wanted to have a Thai-inspired Thai full moon party. Brett made me make some booking musicals. Next year, Brett and I worked more together, and we altered the brand-name.
Thought Full Moon was a really great idea, but we needed a different approach. So we did not want it to be Thai, so we did some reworking and just named it Full Moon instead of Full Moon Party. This was the first occasion that we formalised the name MATTE and presented the full moon as MATTE.
Schwarz is another yearly musical happening that you launched in 2013. Where did you get the ideas and the concepts of Schwarz? There was already a full moon, which is very summery and funny, so we wanted something else. Because we liked the deep tone, we had the name Schwarz, and our proven aesthetic for MATTE was that it was available in either blacks or whites.
Because we wanted it to have an aesthetic of art so we had an initial shooting and made a videotape about this blacks leaving you under water. Those guys we were booking were Matthew Dear, Chairlift and the Rapture deejays, so the whole thing had these New York guys really great guys and backgroundibe.
It was from there that our ideas for the next MATTE were how we could redefine black through three different gigs, each with a slightly different area. The first was Black electronica, and the second was rock and pop, and the last was R&B and hit-hop.
We wanted next year to make Schwarz an ever more intense storage time. And we thought blacks were supposed to be understood as the lack of everything. It is also the juxtaposition of all colours, so we have produced artistic works that represent colours. We had a very deep musical programme and the lights were all monochrome.
So we asked artist what blacks mean to them, and we did create interview and framing more contents so that it became more like a podium. In this year it is all about disturbances and the interpretion of disturbances by means of dark lenses. There are two rooms with an astonishing musical program and a much larger artistic work.
It was also implemented more conceptually and completely, which is also something interesting for me because we have developed further as a company. What did you have black in Mexico City for? Well, first of all, I like Mexico City. In New York and Los Angeles there was also a big stir about going to Mexico City, so we used it as an alibi for those who were already considering going to Mexico City anyway.
Schwarz was very different there because we were interpreting it from a locale view. Many fine arts performers and deejays came from Mexico City. There were 300 of us from New York and LA, and there were 2500 of us from Mexico City. We will do it again in Mexico City and hopefully also in Europe and Asia.
There is a certain atmosphere for each and every show, so I have chosen the artist according to our own taste and what would make a difference to the show. I' ve been doing it since high school and worked in an agent, so I had some success. Where did you get your initial clients and how did you get them?
I' ve always wanted to somehow combine bands and bands, but didn't know what it was. Matt' s backgrounds were brand-building and had actually set up an agent, and we all began working together at his Lower East Side lofts and came up with client pitching. After Kitsuné we worked on some small project.
We had our first genuine customer, a company in Sweden named Rekorderlig. There were three trainees when we started: What is the size of your company today and what role are there? We' re still doing a ton of post-production, videoproduction and movie-making. There is the experience organizing event teams and a small musical organizing group.
What did you do to fund the company? Our clients' monies have been used to fund investments in new project and staff recruitment. When we first made black, we dropped $10,000 and didn't know how to do it. How did you promote your event? There' so many different kinds of event and creativity agency in New York.
We have always had a stronger focus on our activities. Coming to our venue will feel different from a normal venue because of the sound and crowd we take there. You know, we make certain types of work. As an example, we take what we have learnt from our musical work, put it into our fashions and what we have learnt from our fashions, and use it in our commercials.
When you first got involved, what was your greatest challange?