Interview with Mattersphere

Mattersphere is band of the Week for March 31st!

With the release of its self-titled debut album, Australian band Mattersphere is thundering into the heavy rock and metal scene, taking no prisoners along the way.

Mattersphere was born in 2009 when Eddie finally decided that singing covers was soul-destroying and opted to follow his passion of original music. That year saw the band already rehearsing a handful of original songs, and dabbling with recording.

The concept of Mattersphere came to Eddie quite readily, with a clear musical direction and goals. After several recordings and line-up changes within the group, Rob Catanzariti, a long-time school friend of Eddie’s, joined Mattersphere in 2011. It was apparent from the start that they shared the same drive and passion for song-writing, as they soon produced their first song and single, “Rainmaker”.

Eddie has played in various cover bands across Australia since his late teens. Prior to this, a strict and brutal upbringing meant that he was banned from joining any bands.

Relentless hours of singing over the years and a diminishing vocal range eventually resulted in Eddie seeking formal training. So, he successfully auditioned to be a student of acclaimed jazz and cabaret entertainer and teacher, Gery Scott. Gery herself had a very impressive international career and was a long-time head of the Vocal Jazz Department at the Canberra School of Music. Although she and Eddie were both dominant personalities, they got along famously. Eddie’s vocal talents improved dramatically as a result.

Rob was inspired to play guitar at the age of 6. Having a strong Italian heritage, Rob attended many weddings as a young boy, and over time was influenced by the great number of musicians and bands at these events.

So, he took up guitar lessons and later he bought his first KISS album. He knew instantly that that was what he wanted to do. Hearing Joe Satriani in 1986 opened a whole new world of guitar playing for him.

In the late 80s – after hearing about the renowned Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California – Rob sent them his application, with the result that he studied guitar there from 1988 to 1989. The rewards were invaluable – he expanded his guitar and musicianship skills greatly. Unforeseen circumstances brought him back to Australia early and life went back to normal. He played in bands here and there, and then moved-on to teaching.

About a year after this, Mattersphere made contact, asking him to play lead. Rob had a jam with the band and everything clicked into place.

Eddie’s influences include such great vocalists and/or songwriters as Sting, Jon Bon Jovi, Freddie Mercury and Bruce Dickinson. Eddie’s childhood musical influences were bands such as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Dio, followed later by bands such as Motley Crue, Poison, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden.

Rob’s influences include KISS, W.A.S.P., Van Halen, Scorpions, AC/DC, Dokken, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, and Zakk Wylde.

Metal Express Radio: How did the band originate?

Eddie: I’d done some originals in bands in the past. What always happened, though, was that as soon as something “big” happened – like the offer of a national tour with a well-known band – everything would fall apart. I would have happily gone on tour, but the other members of the band didn’t want to leave their well-paid jobs! I was always the one with a terrible job who wanted desperately to just do my music!

So, I ended up just doing covers in a duo for a really long time, over 10 years, really only for the money-factor. It was soul-destroying.

Now I’ll finally answer your question: I just couldn’t bear doing covers any longer. I started thinking about getting together as an original band. The problem was getting some really great musicians together; as none could really “see” the vision I had for my band, and many had great jobs (what is it with musicians being well-paid IT professionals?)

Then as luck would have it, I met Ben Garnsey, who had started to write a few songs. Ben was the original rhythm guitarist in the band. We worked on two of the songs he had started to write: “See Into Your Eyes” and “Mother”.

At that point we got musicians into the band – some stayed and some left, including Ben, although he was happy for us to continue with the songs he had collaborated on.

By this time Rob had joined the band as lead guitarist. As we got to know each other again (having known each other at school), Rob and I both “got” what each of us were about. Together, we form the heart and soul of the band. No matter who else comes and goes, Rob and I will always be Mattersphere.

MER: Which bands/albums have been the most influential to your music, and why?

Eddie: Meat Loaf (Bat Out of Hell), Motley Crüe (Dr. Feelgood), Def Leppard (Hysteria), and Queen (various albums – too many to mention) and of course AC/DC (Back in Black). Also Iron Maiden (The Number of the Beast), and Skid Row’s song “I Remember You”.

Rob: KISS (KISS ALIVE II), W.A.S.P. (especially Blackie Lawless vocals), Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Scorpions (especially the guitar playing). Also, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Ratt, Queensrÿche, Quiet Riot, Mr. Big, Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Europe, White Lion, and Skid Row.

MER: Which musical trademarks/elements/styles are most typical for you music?

Eddie: Well, firstly, you will never get rough vocals from me ever again. Years ago, before Mattersphere, I was encouraged to make my voice rougher and more raw. The result was a warning by my doctor, as I was getting nodules on my vocal chords and my range had decreased quite a lot.

Rather than go through surgery, I had training and learned how to treat my voice well. I was also able to do lots of 4 hour gigs per week at one point – it was certainly still a strain, but I managed to save my voice.

So I guess you can say that I will never compromise my voice again. And who says that Metal or Hard Rock cannot have clean vocals.

MER: Do you feel you would ever compromise on your musical style in order to gain success?

Eddie/Rob: Mattersphere has a particular ethos and we will never compromise where that’s concerned. Success to us is when our audience likes what we like.

So far we’ve been pushed in a lot of directions. Firstly we were advertised as an 80s band; then some earlier band members tried to change our sound. Rob and I put an end to this. Frankly, we know exactly what Mattersphere is about – and this is something that is not open to compromise.

MER: What is your band’s greatest highlight thus far?

Eddie/Rob: Having our music recognized in America… shhhh, it’s a secret…

MER: How much live experience does your band have and what is your most memorable gig?

Eddie/Rob: As members we have decades of live experience. As a band, we’re now beginning to do more gigs in Sydney than in our hometown of Canberra. We’re already the first Canberra band ever to be invited to a particular Sydney festival (for Metal bands) later in the year.

What gig is the most memorable? Well, you know how it goes – the first gig is always memorable, while the rest is a blur ….LOL

MER: If you could tour with any band, who would that be, and why?

Rob: KISS, for the reason that they are one of the all-time greats and they are still going …

Eddie: Well, I love great vocals, so in the absence of Queen, I think a band like Alter Bridge would be pretty amazing as there are enough similarities between us that we would “gel” but also enough differences to make it a great night of entertainment for fans.

Evanescence could be interesting, too – I’ve liked their music for some time and Amy Lee has some amazing vocals.

MER: If you could choose one festival to headline, from the past or present, which one would that be and why?

Eddie/Rob: Monsters of Rock Festival. This Festival gets the best of the best.

MER: What do you hope your fans and the music industry will say about your band in 10 years?

Eddie/Rob: “What – they are still knocking out Number 1’s? And still look and sound that good?”

MER: What are your immediate plans for the band?

Eddie/Rob: Conquest of the world of Rock and Metal and taking no prisoners on the way… that’s the plan.


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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