Asking the hard questions to maintain independent music culture.
By his own admission, Mat Dryhurst is probably best known as Holly Herndon’s key collaborator and husband. You might have seen him onstage at their live shows writing on TextEdit. But behind the scenes, he’s been one of the few people questioning the future of music, culture and, when you really get down to it, society in general. How can we survive as artists? How do we deal with the new power structures of monopolistic web giants and streaming services? What if we put our energy into creating our own platforms? Though Dryhurst and Herndon are ostensibly musicians, their practice is increasingly turning to such questions.
Operating at the intersection of music, tech, art, philosophy and activism, it’s difficult to fit Dryhurst into a neat box. He’s spent his adult life working with independent record labels, like PAN and Southern Records, and non-profit agencies such as San Francisco’s Grey Area, where he and Herndon fostered dialogue between the culture and tech worlds. Between building a self-hosting publishing framework called Saga and advising the streaming collective Resonate, he's attempting to condense important ideas into music with Herndon. Dryhurst recently found time to talk about it all with Mark Smith in RA’s Berlin office.