By: Dream Chimney
The following interview was conducted in April 2023
As bassist for dance-punk outfit The Rapture, Mattie Safer cut his teeth in the music scene alongside a wave of now-legendary early 2000s NYC acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem. Fast-forward nearly two decades and Mattie has found the sweeter side of dance music as the current lead vocalist for slo-mo kings Poolside. He now presents his solo lovetempo project on Razor-N-Tape and this week he releases his 'lovetempo' EP. We ask him to dig deep and tell us 5 albums that have made an impact on his over the years.
5 Inspirational Albums
Billy Cobham - Spectrum
I got this album when I was in high school, and I think it shaped a lot of my sonic sensibilities. Bass, drums, and percussion just grooving, some wild synth leads, a little flute sprinkled in here and there. The players are great individually but work here as an amazing singular unit, and the arrangements are somehow both adventurous and succinct. My favorites on the album are -Spectrum," "Stratus" (which Massive Attack sampled on "Safe From Harm"), and "Le Lis." This album helped me understand the power of musical repetition, just finding a groove and not letting go.
Talking Heads - Speaking In Tongues
Another influential record from my high school days. At this point in my life I was living a musically divided life, studying and playing jazz and funk with one set of friends and playing in punk bands with another set of friends. I heard this album in my friend Peter's car, and it really struck me because it was a like a fusion of both aesthetics. For the next two or 3 years of my life I listened to a Talking Heads album pretty much every single day. This isn't necessarily my *favorite* Talking Heads album, but it's a damn good one, and it was definitely the gateway to the rest of their catalog.
Jungle Brothers - Done By The Forces Of Nature
This could have been any number of albums from this era of New York hip hop, but this is the one that most consistently does it for me. Afrika Baby Bam's dense sampling style was like a road map for me to discover all the cool '70s and '80s music I needed to check out—this song alone samples so many dance classics: "Do It Any Way You Wanna," "Don't Make Me Wait," "Love Thang," and "Let's Start The Dance" among others. The lyrics are also on point throughout the album, and all things considered, I just really think this is an underappreciated classic. The Rapture used to use "In Dayz '2' Come" (which samples another favorite record, Junior's "Mama Used To Say") as our walk-on music because of the big break at the end that says "the name of the game is Rapture."
Metro Area - S/T
This album came out when I was brand new to New York City and exploring nightclubs for the first time. In all the coolest clubs Metro Area's music was inescapable, and I can't think of a single reason why you would want to. The arrangements are sparse and tasteful, and with the way they bring different musical elements in and out of the mix the ear never gets bored and the beat never lets go. Additionally, this group holds a soft spot in my heart because Morgan Geist (1/2 of Metro Area) remixed "House Of Jealous Lovers" and it was his remix that got all the NYC dance record shops to order the 12". As Tim from DFA put it, his remix was like the cool friend that knew that door guy and got us into the club. Without his remix, the Rapture story might be very different! I still listen to this album and learn from it to this day.
Sister Sledge - We Are Family
I couldn't finish this list without acknowledging my favorite bass player of all time, Bernard Edwards. His playing is probably more influential to the way that I think about crafting a bass line than anyone else out there. It was hard to know what Chic Organization record to choose, but I know that Nile Rodgers considers the songwriting and production on this record to be their masterwork, and I can't say that I disagree — "He's The Greatest Dancer," "Lost In Music," "Thinking Of You," "We Are Family," these are really unfuckwithable songs beautifully arranged, and in a genre dominated by singles this is really one of the few albums that is listenable front to back, no skips.