By Nick Piccinino
Find out what Mwita Mataro of Austria's up-and-coming band, At Pavillon, had to say about the music scene in Austria and what he hopes his group can bring to the world. The band will be releasing its debut album "Believe Us" January 2019.
When did you all first meet and decide to become a band?
“The band actually started in school times, but as a school you evolve and get better and people come and go. So, actually, the band started really professional by the time of 2014. We are all people from different social and ethical backgrounds.”
What’s the story behind your band’s name?
“We didn’t have a rehearsal room back in the days when we started doing music and we met at Pavillon at a park in Vienna, so we decided to name the band At Pavillon. It’s like a shelter or a house where everyone is welcome to party with us and to dance with us no matter where they come from, what religion they have, what they believe in, what color they have and who they love. It’s about music from humans for humans.”
What is the music scene like in Austria?
“The musical climate in Austria, from my point of view … talking about musicians from their backgrounds compared to the U.S. is a bit different, right? Because in Austria you have a really big [influence] from the government. A lot of people are doing music more as academics I would say, which means that rock music … is more of a niche scene. There’s not, like, a movement compared to the U.S. where you have a lot of rap culture or rock culture. In Austria it’s a bit smaller scene. I would wish that we would reach a bigger audience, not just students but also like to reach [other groups]. In 2010, there weren’t that many indie labels, and now we’ve got two really great bands who are called Bilderbuch and Wanda, and those bands came from this really small niche bubble. Now, they’ve become so big that they are playing 10,000 seat venues. So, it really became a commercial success in the indie scene and is a big reason why the music scene in Austria became more serious.”
I watched your music videos, but the one that stood out to me was the “All Eyes on You” video. It had a very dystopian theme, and I was wondering what your inspiration was for that?
“I dropped out of university while I was studying film production and I was really bad in economics, so I had, like, no education. I wasn’t studying and I needed to figure out what I really wanted. I was in a really, really hard phase in my life. My parents [and] my bandmates were asking, ‘Hey man, what’s wrong? What are your plans?’ That’s why [I had all eyes on myself] and felt that I shouldn’t give up ... and take this opportunity as a healthy human … that I should take advantage of creating music and taking life seriously.
I wanted to build a music video around this topic and our music video director Gabriel was like, ‘Those lyrics you’re writing reminds me of the government having a spotlight on [our people].’ I’ve been working with Gabriel for four years and I really trust him. [The music video] has this [vibe that the government] has all eyes on you, smartphones and don’t think about sharing your private things because they will find it anyway. It’s like a criticism of the government.”
What are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
“I would sum it up with three musicians … Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury and M.I.A. because those artists … come from a different background and they grew up in a system where they had to fight about their rights and struggle in life. To me as a black boy living in a white, European society I’ve had to struggle with racism and stuff like that. Bob Marley was a child from a white English soldier and his mother was black and he had to fight for himself in the black society of Jamaica.”
What’s the best tour experience you’ve had so far?
“We got lucky to have gotten invited to play at two weddings … but not from friends—from strangers who noticed our band. It really showed me that we are on a really good path because when people are getting married and having weddings, everything has to be perfect … people deciding to have At Pavillon was a really great honor. It was something really small, but something really meaningful to us.”
What can we expect from you in the future?
“We are also going to release a new single before our album release in January. It sums up what the album is about — believing in yourself, truly loving yourself and not getting distracted by people who tell you that you should behave like this, or dress like that or should love a certain gender. Just believe in yourself. If there is anyone out there who is having a bad experience about his identity as a human being he should listen to At Pavillon because At Pavillon music is energy boosting music for your soul.”
xX Long live college radio Xx