February 14th, 2023

SoundGym Hero: Gerrit `Gerry` Matthee

SoundGym Hero: Gerrit `Gerry` Matthee

Producer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist, and Mixing Engineer, currently from Cape Town, South Africa. Gerrit “Gerry” Matthee is this month's SoundGym Hero!

Who are you, and Where are you from?

My name is Gerrit “Gerry” Matthee, and I’m from Cape Town, South Africa. I own and run SoundBorough Studios, and I’m one half of the indie synth-pop duo, Emerger, where I co-write, record, produce and mix our records with my fiancé Emma.

How did you get into music?

I come from quite a musical family. I grew up listening to my mom (who also studied music and was a music teacher), and two older sisters play the piano almost daily. I always begged them to teach me some easy songs. I started with lessons at 6, but my teacher forced me to first learn the recorder before attempting piano lessons, which was pretty frustrating, as I didn’t enjoy the recorder’s sound.

Eventually, I started with piano lessons, but at the age of 10, I saw a musical theatre show that changed my life: The Guitar That Rocked The World. It was about the Fender Stratocaster and all the legendary artists who played with one. That evening I begged my parents to take me to guitar lessons, and I ditched the piano.

In high school, I started my band with a bunch of friends…we were an instrumental band. One evening, at the school’s talent competition, I heard a girl sing, and fell in love with her voice…she ended up joining my band and we’ve been making music together ever since. After school I went to study music at the University of Cape Town.

SoundGym Hero: Gerrit 'Gerry' Matthee

I majored in Classical Composition with classical guitar as my main instrument. One of the biggest perks of studying music there was that we got to work in the university’s studio a lot. I became obsessed with recording and producing, and during my formal studies I came across an international songwriting competition, hosted by Avid and Abbey Road Studios. You had to submit one song and I immediately got Emma to record a song with me that we could submit.

We quickly needed an artist name, so we decided on “emerger” which is an anagram of our two names (Emma and Gerry). We ended up being one of three winners, after John Feldmann (Goldfinger, Blink-182) selected our song (“Break & Fall”) as his pick. We won a Pro Tools HD Native Thunderbolt + HD OMNI and we got to go to Abbey Road Studios for the mastering of the song, which was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. In 2018 we released our debut EP, titled “Bloom” and we’ve been releasing a stream of singles ever since.

The latest one is called “Ghost in the Machine,” which deals with the ups and downs of social media and how it affects our relationships with ourselves and with our friends, and how it influences our perception of reality. I also recently started doing a lot of Dolby Atmos mixing, which I enjoy.

What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?

I like to go running, hiking, and playing tennis. We’ve got the glorious Table Mountain (and a bunch of other awesome mountains) in Cape Town, which offers some of the most incredible views in the world. It’s always such an inspiring experience to hike these mountains, and it’s one of my favorite ways to take a break (and get some exercise in at the same time).

I’m also a huge coffee lover (some might say “coffee snob”), so I enjoy visiting different roasters, buying fresh beans, and getting that caffeine kick. I also love going to wine farms (we’ve got an incredible amount of good wines in the area). Other than that, watching good films at the cinema and spending quality time with family and friends.

What's your most useless skill or talent?

Ha ha, that’s a tricky question…but it’s probably playing the recorder (that annoying woodwind flute type thing). I’ve never once used it in a song, production, or performed it, but as a kid, I took lessons for years and got a couple of certificates, etc. 

What inspires you to keep making music?

I often feel like there’s no other option but to keep making music. It’s sort of like a necessity for me. There are periods when I spend most of my time mixing (lately, a lot of Dolby Atmos mixing), and then I get a real urge to go record something or at least just jam with my band. Of course, there are times when I feel demotivated because of things in the music industry (like super low streaming royalties, gig venues closing down, etc.).

Still, I mostly find new inspiration when sitting down and playing around with a new synth (software or analog). Also, quite often I’ll hear a new song by another artist and that’ll inspire me to sit down and play around with a song of my own.

SoundGym Hero: Gerrit 'Gerry' Matthee

If you could sit down to a session with any artist, who would it be?

It would have to be Paul Meany from MuteMath. I was a massive fan of their music in my late teens, and it inspired me to make music for a living. It was also the first band that both I and my fiancé geeked out about, and very few other people in Cape Town knew of them, so it felt special. Paul is also such an incredible producer (lately, he has worked on a lot of Twenty One Pilots records), and I’d love to pick his brain.

Any habits you have before starting a session?

I usually frantically start to reorganize the studio a couple of hours before a session…sometimes it’s not even necessary. But it’s a little bit of OCD that’s developed over the years to try and have everything perfect before a client arrives. Besides that, I always prep the DAW session beforehand and make a strong cup of coffee.

If you could pick one, what would be the theme song of your life?

Maybe this is a cliché, but it would have to be our song, “Aeroplane Park.” This song has meant a lot to me personally. Firstly, the song chronicles the true story of me and my fiancé’s relationship and how it started in the suburbs of Cape Town. Secondly, it’s a song that gave me renewed hope for making music and being an artist.

It’s also the first mix that I did myself of one of our songs, and that motivated me to delve deeper into mixing. I’m also really proud of the music video we created, as it was the most ambitious video we’ve attempted to date.


What is your favorite piece of music gear you own?

Instrument-wise, it would have to be my Fender Strat. I’ve used it in almost every recording and production I’ve ever created, and it’s my dream guitar.

Studio gear-wise, it would be my ADAM A7X’s, as I saved up for a long time to get a decent pair of studio monitors, and these have been a game-changer for me. I love how detailed they are in the upper-frequency range, and I constantly hear things in mixes I never heard on my previous monitors.

What is your favorite SoundGym feature?

I love Peak Master! It’s really helped me to hear and identify frequencies so much better with more accuracy and speed. The Compressionist has also really been awesome in helping me to hear compression, as that was something I struggled with for a long time. 

What does the future hold for Gerry Matthee? 

Emerger will be releasing a full-length album in 2023, and we plan to tour the album in Europe. I’m also currently starting to do more and more Dolby Atmos mixes, so hopefully, that’s something that’ll keep growing. 

Follow Gerrit 'Gerry' Matthee on his Website and Instagram, Or listen to “emerger” on YouTube, and Spotify.



View all comments
Leon Vissers
Feb 15
Great mix, great song nice work love what you did with the vocals. whow the end is surprising!
Gerry Matthee
Feb 14
Thanks Stephen! That's great to hear. 🙏
Loving Aeroplane Park :)

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