Alex Matijow: Vox, Guitar
Todd Errion: Bass Guitar
Chris Hobbs: Drums
The new record is now available on iTunes and many other online distributors!
Before alchalant set about trying to revitalize the “rock” part in their hometown’s famous nickname of Detroit “Rock” City, before the new album, before leader Alex Matijow even began working with the band’s other two members, he had a moment of clarity.
All of those goals were set back in 2008, amidst a moment of blinding pain. Riding home after a night of drinking, Matijow suffered a near-death experience after crashing his bicycle. He walked away, but just barely, with a broken nose, five cracked teeth, an upper lip split up to his nose … and a brand-new grasp on what his goals should have been all along.
Alex refocused on what was important to him, and that started with rock music and alchalant. The band, a muscular mix of 1990s rock and punk, will begin touring the Midwest in the summer of 2012 behind a new self-titled record, available now on iTunes and through the alchalant.com site.
Compared favorably to Social Distortion, the Clash, Green Day and Offspring, the Detroit-based outfit mirrors its frontman’s steely intensity. The goal is to push, and push hard, on the boundaries of rock by mixing in hardcore, metal, even elements of improvisational music.
In a way, Matijow has been doing just that from the very beginning. Like most kids, the young Matijow listened to Disney soundtracks – in his case, “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” – as well as John Williams’ resounding score for “Star Wars.” Later, Matijow’s parents took him to see a number of rock concerts, and he grew to admire Detroit legends like Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop. By the age of 8, Matijow had immersed himself in the Clash and Nine Inch Nails.
The guitar followed at age 12, and Matijow formed a punk-rock band called Nonchalant three years later. As a 16 year old, he’d help oversee the band’s debut, Break the Lamp with producer Eric DiBerardo – who’d previously worked with Sheryl Crow, as well as sidemen for Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. A solo effort called nocturnal followed, again with DiBerardo producing.
By then, Matijow had already picked up the sarcastic nickname “alchalant” – a combination of his first name and the word nonchalant, meaning to act with indifference. Of course, the aggressive stage presence of this ambitious teen was anything but indifferent. But Matijow chose to embrace his peer’s sarcastic criticism, appropriating the name and then using it for his band in the manner of Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
At first, alchalant was simply an umbrella description for Alex’s complex but completely solo musings. A deeply talented musical force, Matijow has already earned a bachelor’s degree in music production and jazz guitar from Wayne State University, where he is now pursuing an MBA. Along the way, he had played trumpet in the Michigan State University marching band, and undertaken formal voice training with Dennis Tini at Wayne State, as well.
So, composing and recording alchalant’s self-titled eight-song 2011 debut – along with arranging, mixing and mastering the project – all alone came naturally. The project also served as a template to be developed further once Matijow finally decided to construct a working band.
Matijow was eventually joined by bassist and vocalist Todd Errion and drummer Chris Hobbs, who got together through social networking circles. Alex knew Hobbs from grade school, and the two had played together in the school symphony. Todd met Matijow in 2005, but had worked previously as a lead guitarist in the metal band Glutton For Punishment. Errion switched to bass for this new project with Alex, after discovering new challenges in the jazz-influenced grooves Matijow had already laid down on the album alchalant. Hobbs, who found youthful inspiration in Tom Everett Scott’s performance in the film “That Thing You Do!,” brings in influences from a lifelong passion for Sublime. Errion’s edge comes from his own deep appreciation for Slayer and Metallica.
Together, they have uncovered new wrinkles to Matijow’s initial vision for alchalant.
There’s the dark sarcasm of “Better Off Dead,” an anti-love song; and the brutal honesty of “National Blues” – a fan favorite that Matijow wrote in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. But there’s also the fun-loving “LL (Loco Land),” a tribute to alchalant’s libation of choice – Four Loko; and the geeky romanticism of “Binary,” a ballad build around computer code.
As cutting and deep as they are outgoing and approachable, alchalant has quickly found a brawny new intricacy. Still, the band’s most complete statement of purpose is probably “Dawn,” a track about making the most of your talents – and always living life to the fullest. It’s a concept Matijow confronted on that scary bike ride four years ago, and something he’s now fully realizing alongside Errion and Hobbs in alchalant.
Four songs from the band’s new self-titled recording are available at alchalant.com, as are selected other songs from Matijow’s past catalog. The group also has feature pages at
www.myspace.com/alchalantproductions, www.facebook.com/pages/alchalant/305285876163780, www. iTunes.alchalant, www.twitter.com/alchalant, bandcamp.alchalant.com, www.reverbnation.com/alchalant, www.cdbaby.com/alchalant and www.youtube.com/alchalant.
For more information, contact Matijow at email@example.com.
By Nick DeRiso