Q&A Scene: Bruce Mathiske

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

Naturally my own new CD six string anthology, but listening wise I’m loving Mumford and Sons and their raw energy.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

I first time I recorded with an orchestra, all my own compositions so I was guitarist, producer and composer. I settled in to happily play my guitar with the conductor controlling the orchestra when she asked, ” Bruce. do the violins play a “C” or a “C sharp  in the third beat of bar 127?  I then realised, my score, my responsibility.  So for the rest of the session I was playing quite difficult guitar parts while also following the whole score out of the corner of my eye.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

Sweet and sour pork.

I pay attention in both composing and live sets to have the right amount of contrast.

There is no light without dark. No loud without quiet and no joy without angst. No sweet without sour.

What, or who, inspires you?

Any great song or composition.

I believe Roger Waters (pink Floyd) creation of The Wall both Double album and live show are so amazing I sometimes wonder why any of us bother after that.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Into the Mystic- Van Morrison

What’s next for you?

Album release tour, lots of guitar practice, on the road just playing my stuff.

And trying to learn to embrace all the aspects of life.

What’s your scene?

My scene is exciting as I get to play music and just play my guitar all day creating new music as it comes to me.

Bruce Mathiske is back! But where from? 

In 2013, after 20 albums – even though his “final” CD My Life received great reviews including 4and half stars from the Australian, Bruce Mathiske decided to take a hiatus from the seemingly never ending album–tour cycle as he felt there was more calling him.

The album release-tour cycle does dilute creativity and the time away allowed Bruce to concentrate on composing on a larger scale incorporating other instruments and full symphony orchestras which led to a recording of the Mathiske Suites for Guitar and Orchestra, once again receiving great reviews.

This was a path he was keen to pursue with wife, Mel who worked as Bruce’s full time manager and promoter. At this time, Mel was diagnosed with cancer so immediately Mathiske Music was shut down and they embarked on a new, healthy and stress free way of life that did not include the business of concert tours.

During this home recovery period with Mel, Bruce started private tuition and still played guitar every day. Touring and performing live was a huge passion and it took 18 months to realise how great it was just to play – with no goal or purpose. Making music has nothing to do with the business of music and the musical freedom that came with this realisation changed Bruce’s whole perspective.

Meanwhile a friend, Adam Manning, suggested Bruce compose and record an album of different artists. Bruce, being predominantly a solo artist, had wanted to work alongside some elite musicians for some time so two years later Sound Awareness was released with guests including James Morrison, John Paul Young and other world acclaimed musicians. All proceeds from the sale of this album go to the Sound Awareness charity (http://www.soundawareness.com.au).

During this process another idea that was passed on to Bruce from the legendary conductor and music educator Richard Gill AO had been taking shape.

Bruce met Richard in an interview on ABC Radio in Sydney during Bruce’s final tour in 2013 and as Bruce was then broadening his composing, Richard kindly offered some instruction. After hearing Bruce perform a solo guitar piece, Richard suggested Bruce compose a piece for each string of the guitar. At the time the idea did not resonate with Bruce but some twelve months later, to Bruce’s surprise he realised he had somehow done just that.

Also during this process after performing The Mathiske Suites with a chamber orchestra, conductor Mario Dobernig said “we should tour this and you could add a cohesive solo set with the suites”.  Once again it didn’t immediately resonate but after a while Bruce appreciated that he had managed to do something with an orchestral album that he hadn’t done with 20 solo albums, and that was to have his own identifiable sound.

The resulting Six String Anthology, in a way completes a 32 year chapter since the release of Bruce’s first album Never Alone on vinyl and cassette back in 1998.  Bruce’s musical search has included many styles and genres – leading him to ultimately composing for orchestras and other instruments – which in turn helped him to find his own guitar truth.

For the first time Mathiske says “I am at one with myself, my guitar and my music.  And my wife, she is doing just great!!

Six String Anthology – out now via MGM

Tour dates



Tickets from https://www.mathiske.com/concerts.html

About Mary Boukouvalas 1614 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.