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The New York Room was born in the summer of 1991 when Matthew found himself living in the house of a now defunct industrial band whom allowed him access to their Ensoniq and Roland synths when they were not in use.  Living off minimum wage employment, Matt spent much of  his time teaching himself to play by ear transcribing songs from his record collection,  mostly keyboard oriented compositions by the likes of Gary Numan, Depeche Mode and New Order.  He used his newly developed skills and applied them to not only cover songs by these artists, but to composing songs of his own.  These first pieces were mostly new-age soundscapes and simple ballads,  but as his technique and comprehension of technology improved, these simple textures grew into cohesive musical impressions, some of which (Religion Theme I and The Funeral of King Solomon) made the final cut and provided the bookends for The New York Room's first release.


Matthew had always been an ardent fan of music and worked both in commercial and public radio, as well as d.j.ing private parties, weddings and night clubs, and it was only a matter of time before he was to discover the beauty and magic of synth technology and utilize this powerful medium for his own instrument of expression.  A lover of music, Matthew's only goal was to create music he loved, but with such a diverse background and an interest in such a wide variety of music, he saw no reason to limit The New York Room to any one genre either, and thus the recordings of The New York Room run the gamut of classical to industrial, medieval to gothic, pop to art.  But there was something missing, a voice. 


One of Matthew's basement tapes somehow found its way into the hands of Michelle Graf and a collaboration was born.  After an awkward audition, basically "alternative" karaoke, in Matthew's home, this partnership became the springboard and passion for music that only youth understands.  Discovering and listening to groups like the Cocteau Twins, Swans, Dead Can Dance and Siouxsie, to name but a few, these bands became the soundtrack, inspiration, and education of two souls finding themselves and their voice, and Matthew finally found an outlet for his creative writing and poetry in scribbling lyrics for this evolving project.  Instrumentals were now songs with words and Michelle's "shy" singing was becoming a powerful and unique voice to be reckoned with and The New York Room began to not only take shape, but to take off on its own.


A Yamaha four-track cassette recorder (yes, in the early 90's this was a descent recording medium until the digital revolution began just a few years later...how quickly things change) was brought in to record and document these early compositions.  Dubs were made and passed around to friends inside the local scene from which bootlegs were duped and passed further along the local pipeline.  It wasn't long before the local college radio circuit and night club theme dj's were spinning these 2nd and 3rd generation cassettes to a surprisingly enthusiastic audience.  Our private little passion had gone public.


We decided to take the next step and began playing out live, opening up for already established area acts and selling a good amount of our home-made basements tapes along the way.  Matthew incorporated his d'j lighting into the show, syncing up the flashing beacons and strobe machines to the beats with midi-synchronization, producing a choreographed light show alongside video feedback loops and distortions.  Before we knew it, we were soon headlining the local venues, and building up a following in neighboring cities like Chicago.


Synchronization, or just dumb-luck depending upon what you believe, brought Derek and Matt together through their place of employment.  Derek was studying studio recording at the local university and offered to re-record our basement tapes at the school's facilities for his senior project.  It wasn't long before Derek began contributing to the project himself, writing and playing inspired guitar and breathing new life into the project and entering the nucleus of The New York Room.


But without enough time in his busy schedule to rehearse and travel in the live format of the group, Karla Wescott was brought in to perform in his absence.  It wasn't long before she too began contributing her talents to the project, intergrating not only guitar but bass and violin into the fold. She added a much needed extra stage presence as well as a viable studio talent. 


But it wasn't long before things started to unravel in this format.  With limitations upon what could be presented live, the direction of the music, and the encroachment of everyone's changing personal and professional life, things were soon to become undone.  With the CD nearing completion, this ill-timed demise saw the release become instead a document of those songs which had been written and recorded over the past four years, 1991-1995.


The split had Michelle, Karla and Derek teeming up with percussionist Carolyn Koeble to form Blue Dahlia and left Matthew to start over again.  Hoping to recapture the spirit and love that began The New York Room, Matthew withdrew and began composing new material until a vocalist could be found.  Fate again intervened and brought Sara and Matthew together.


With a batch of new compositions, Matthew and Sara locked themselves away to rehearse and record what was to become The New York Room's second release, The Colour of Midnight.  Derek was again hired to push the buttons and turn the knobs in the studio and add splashes of guitar.  This collaboration produced some of The New York Room's best tracks to date and was acclaimed by the critics for it's elegant diversity and beauty.


But this pairing was to be short lived.  Sara took a semester to study in Paris, where she fell in love with the city, and stayed in France for the next 8 years.


Determined not to be swayed with the revolving door of personnel, Matthew came to understand this as a blessing and not a curse.  The opportunities to write and record with different and talented people kept the project fresh and alive, constantly changing and evolving with the strengths that everyone brought with them. It wasn't long before Matthew teamed up with singers Leslie Boughton, Cara Leiurance, Amy Kozak and Tanya Smith to write and record new material as well as bring The New York Room back to the stage.  While playing live, we were introduced to guitarist Matt Lund, a multi-talented young guitarist with incredible range and ability who rounded out our lineup for live gigs and added many of the moods and textures for new song material contributed to Courtesan.


During the recording of the New York Room's 3rd CD, Matthew began construction of his own home recording studio, for which half the material for the newest songs were written, performed, recorded & mixed. Matthew also intergrated his artistic sensibilities into graphic design and created the look for Courtesan and the Ghost of Christmas Past as well as the design of the new web site. Matthew has also done several CD layouts for area artists including The Lund,Clements,Churchill Trio, Bill Clements "UndergroundAlienBass," Blue Dahlia's "This Floating World," Matt Lund's "Works" and the upcoming Dendura release entitled "AfterLife."


New songs are currently being written and recorded as are a few cover songs...collaborations are continuing with, though not limited to, Cara, Leslie, Amy and Aziza. 2008 should see the release of a new collection of original songs as well as a collection of cover songs recorded over the years.



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