INTERVIEW: Greg Mathieson of Bat Lenny, Limpid (the) Green, Stegor, etc.



AUTOreverse #14, Summer 2011
Greg Mathieson
of Bat Lenny, Limpid (the) Green, Stegor, etc.
interview by Ian C Stewart

Let’s talk about your musical influences. Who are your biggest influences and why?
Classic Prog Rock, like Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Jethro Tull… I just keep going back to that stuff. As much as I love the multitude of musical styles and directions that have developed since then I’ll never forget the mysterious feelings I got when I was a kid listening to that stuff. And then there’s Bowie, XTC, Talking Heads, Kraftwerk…

Who were your early musical influences?
I had a record when I was little, and it had a song on it called “The Roly Poly Man in the Moon.”

“He’s oh so roly poly / He’s smooth and round and neat / He has to move quite slowly / Because he hasn’t any feet”.

The image it created in my 4 year old brain is one of my earliest memories and was my first experience with the amazing power of music.

Where do you see your music heading?
All over the place. I just keep making it, with no expectations of anyone else loving it or even hearing it. I’ll throw it out there with the hope that someone might hear it and enjoy it just a fraction as much as I do, but I make it with myself as the audience, and I listen to my own music more than anyone else’s. I almost feel guilty enjoying myself so much. I hope I don’t go blind.


What music software do you use?
Bat Lenny has been using Cubase for many years. But lately, as the more live-oriented Limpid (the) Green we’ve switched to Ableton Live, and wow, I love it.

Bat Lenny

Bat Lenny

Is there any other music software you plan on getting?The immediate availability of sounds has gotten ridiculous. I used to want a Mellotron so badly I would have traded a kidney. Now you can have one, or the aural illusion of one, for free. And you don’t even have to get up from your chair to get it. Move your index finger a little to the left and press down lightly on this plastic thing and it’s yours. When things get too easy we don’t appreciate them as much. Sometimes I deliberately make things more difficult for myself just so I’ll appreciate the outcome more. Believe it or not, I actually think I have all the software I need.

What’s in your home studio setup?
Most of our equipment is at Dr. Dust’s (Bernard Olson’s) house, because he has a bigger basement. If you include the stuff in the closet we have an 8 track reel to reel that once belonged to Gospel giant Dallas Holm, various rack mount effects that were never mounted, geez, when I think about it we’ve got more cool junk than we can ever hope to use. We’ve been collecting it since ’82. Since these things started going virtual we started piling up the old technology in the Bat Lenny Closet. Every time we get together we visit the closet and consider dragging something out. Last time we plugged in the Casio. You gotta look back once in a while or you’re doing yourself a disservice. I got my eye on that Pro One up on the top shelf.

Do you write songs on keyboards or guitar?
Guitar. I’m not a great guitarist in the traditional sense, but I have this love affair with them. What is it about guitars? They are just beautiful gifts from God.

Can you describe your songwriting methods?
As Bat Lenny we usually write our songs by jamming together. We’ll each come up with fragments on our own and then we get together and throw them at each other and see if they stick. When I do my own music as Stegor I usually sit down with an unplugged electric guitar and noodle away. Sometimes I’ll put it down in midi so I don’t forget it. Then that leads to other tangents. Limpid (the) Green music has a life of it’s own, like an insect. Each song is born and dies in the span of minutes. Nothing is ever written – it’s purely organic. But it’s one of those really cool metallic looking insects…

What made you decide to start making music of your own? At the end of the ‘70’s all our favorite bands went to crap. Remember all those bands I mentioned up there on the top? Then punk happened. At the time it pissed me off, but when the smoke (and spit and vomit) cleared, a new DIY attitude emerged. Ralph Records, home of The Residents, Renaldo and the Loaf, Yello, Tuxedomoon, et al, was a huge influence. This was post punk at it’s artiest. Emerson Lake and Palmer was out of reach, but Snakefinger was right there at eye level, and a hell of a lot more fun.

Are you active in your local music scene?
Yes, very local, like in my own house.

Who would you like to collaborate with on new music?I don’t know. I’m kind of a loner. I don’t have much experience collaborating with anyone but my mates I’ve played with since high school. I’m open to it, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t ever get around to it unless someone asked me to do it rather than vice versa.
What other bands are you’re excited by?
All those I mentioned, plus Lawrence Salvatore, where are you?

What’s next for you, musically speaking?
I’m gonna go over there and pick up that guitar and pluck at least 3 strings on it.

What did I forget to ask you?
Something about Wicked Lester.

Here’s a concise discography:

Bat Lenny
1983: Pastoral Pleasantries
1984: Fun For Me Fun For You
1985: Quasi Quo
1989: March of the Small Ones
1991: Stream of Unconsciousness
1994: Crop Circles
1999: Songs From the Belfry (Best of)
2002: Views From the Belfry (DVD)
2005: Fractured Reflections
2008: Shadowland EP
2009: The Atomic Toybox

1992: The Cog that Binds the Wheel that Grinds
1997: Moonwheel

Limpid (the) Green
2011: Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines Vols 1, 2 & 3

thank you, Greg!