19 Dec 2018

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Matthew J.Ruys - Single Review: People X People Feat. Speech

26 Nov 2018 // A review by Jeremy Graham

Those familiar with Matthew J. Ruys’s previous work may remember him best as Matty J; the RnB/Hip Hop vocalist, producer, and writer, whose music career kicked off in the early 90’s through his involvement with groups Houseparty, Fuemana and Strawpeople. He later went on to produce the K’Lee single 1+1+1 (It Ain’t Two) alongside Simon Holloway in 2001 and signed the 2004 single We Gon Ride by Dei Hamo, both coinciding with his involvement with Universal New Zealand.

After an extended hiatus, Mathew’s uniquely styled vocals resurfaced on 2015 single and subsequent remixes of This City by New York synthwave act Diamond Field, which leads to his reuniting collaboration with friend and Engineer Mark Tierney (Strawpeople, Houseparty) on new album Things Broken, Things Awoken, destined for a 2019 release.

It’s no surprise then to find the first single to be presented from that album features none other than Arrested Development vocalist Todd Thomas aka Speech, alongside talented LA based performers and instrumentalists including keyboardist Matthew ‘Honeybee’ Little, who also appeared on Josef Leimberg’s 2016 album Astral Progressions, and a Boiler Room live session in July of the following year.

People X People Feat. Speech is at heart, a call to awareness and understanding, contrastingly based on the foundations of a feel-good gospel and soul inspired groove. Its catchy and straightforward production aims to elevate the listener beyond the current political and social climate, inviting inclusivity for positive and thought-provoking change.

Lyrically, parallels can be drawn to previously released track Colour B.l.i.n.d which featured on Matthew’s 1995 solo album Deeper, and extends the conversation to the present day with lines such as, “What good’s a rainbow without colours?” and “Let me be me, and I’ll let you be you” which sets up the discourse throughout the track.

Speech adds a consciously firm touch utilising his instantly familiar style, presenting a train of thought that re-enforces the message with an overtone that is uplifting, yet deeply questioning. Lines such as, “If you want to amaze me, just don’t be crazy. And when it comes to this race thing, just don’t be lazy” invokes an outlook to go beyond what is presented at face value, and to stand up in the face of ignorance. Aptly, this mirrors the views contained in Speech’s new confronting 3-part series via his website, which sets out to draw a connection between historical race campaigns and the subsequent marketing of black youth culture throughout the music & entertainment industries.



About Matthew J.Ruys

It may have been 20 years since we last heard music by award-winning recording artist Matthew ‘Matty J’ Ruys, but that wasn’t the last time he shared his musical talents and skills with us. From writing and producing K'Lee’s infectious pop album which garnered 4 chart hits; or signing and executive producing Dei Hamo’s ride to the number 1 spot on the airwaves; or discovering and leading Brooke Fraser all the way to her 7 x platinum debut, Matthew has been behind more NZ music success stories than you might have imagined.

After spending a few years based in Singapore and curating Asia’s answer to SXSW, Matthew made the move to the US and set up shop in Santa Monica, where he reconnected with long-time friend and music collaborator Mark Tierney (Strawpeople). Together they set up a recording studio at the back of Matthew’s house and started casually playing around with a handful of musical ideas. Before they knew it, through collaboration, both Matthew and Mark found themselves working on what would become their respective solo albums.

Now, the first single from Matthew J. Ruys’ upcoming album finds him joined by good friend SPEECH from multi-Grammy-winning hip hop group Arrested Development.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Matthew J.Ruys


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