An interview with lo-fi singer/songwriter Mat Cothran, who operates under the names Coma Cinema and Elvis Depressedly. Thanks to Ben Wiley for conducting this Q&A session.
Between Coma Cinema and Elvis Depressedly you have garnered an incredibly devoted following: did you expect anything of this magnitude?
When I first started making music it was purely for my friends to hear. A few of my friends had some success sending their music out to blogs (before all the blogs were inevitably killed my the corporate tastemakers) and I gave it a shot. the amount of people listening to my music now is vastly beyond what I ever thought it could be. I'm still just doing this for me but it's nice to have people there to encourage me all over the planet.
Did having an established fan base during the creation of Posthumous Release affect your creative process?
It sort of wore on me during the last album "blue suicide" but i've learned to let all that go. I haven't gotten a single negative response from a listener about Posthumous Release. regardless of that album's financial failure it is an artistic success for me and i stand behind it completely.
From your Twitter posts to your lyrics, your words are often shockingly honest. Did it take time to let go of inhibitions? Does it take work to be so honest?
I think it takes a self awareness that is detached from self obsession. honesty is almost a defense mechanism for me now. The ugly truth will get people to leave you alone a lot faster than a ruse. I feel responsible to be honest with my audience because they are honest with me about themselves and their opinions. It's a two way street.
The lyrics on Posthumous Release seem less impressionistic than those found on earlier records. Was this record written with specific events in mind?
Definitely. This album references certain very important and sometimes traumatic events in my life. It's all about how to survive when you're homeless, poor as fuck, addicted to bad shit and trying desperately to keep going. It's the most cohesive thing I've done. I saw no need to get symbolic...everything is pretty literal...the book of revelation when taken literally makes the most sense to me. we are in the end times.
Did the writing of Posthumous Release feature much collaboration?
Delaney Mills (who is 1/3rd of Elvis Depressedly) wrote all the music for "Lee" and Rachel Levy of R.L. Kelly was integral in finishing these songs. Also the guys from TV Girl wrote a lot of the drum parts and percussion, on top of engineering the album. everyone knew we had a job to do and acted accordingly. They're very professional like me...I don't fuck around and I am NOT a hobbyist.
Reviews for Posthumous Release were overwhelmingly positive except for a somewhat sour write-up from Pitchfork. What was your response to the review? Did you gain any audience because of it?
The review didn't sell any records or garner any followers, but i don't believe it was sour. I think it was a well written review and I have no shade for Ian Cohen. I do question the relevancy of Pitchfork for any artist that isn't white bread indie.
In those reviews you are often compared to Elliot Smith; both of your songs share a focus on things broken and cast out. Do you agree with these comparisons? Does your music attract a certain type of person?
Elliott was a living angel and I miss him a lot. While in LA, I visited solutions audio where the cover for figure 8 was shot. Elliott has always been in my mind when i write songs. I think we had the same goals.
If you could play a show anywhere on earth, where would it be?
I've really gotten to play every venue i could ever dream of playing. It'd be nice to play during bike week at Daytona...or on television...
What's next for Coma Cinema? Will Elvis Depressedly be seeing action soon?
Coma has said what it needed to say. there will be an Elvis Depressedly full length this year called NEW ALHAMBRA/11th COMMANDMENT
Thanks again to Mat and Ben for the awesome interview. Listen to Coma Cinema's new album below.