SCRIBBLING poetry into notebooks has been a regular pastime for Tom Mathieson, AKA Mathas, since the age of eight.
His foray into rap – which has seen him record two albums and take out a WAM Song of the Year award – kicked off at 15 when he realised his prose fit nicely with a hip-hop beat.
Today, the Perth rapper is known for his witty word play and waxes lyrical on topics, from the mass consumption of white sugar to theories about our place in the universe.
“I talk a lot about the things that are important to me at that moment in time and the things I specifically need to get off my chest, and I suppose that’s what writing is to me: a kind of tool for that,” Mathieson said.
“People connecting with it is a secondary thing, but that has become more important to me over time with the stage performance part of it.”
Not just a wordsmith, Mathieson also produces his own beats: a passion that blossomed during his formative years playing guitar in a grunge band.
“The drummer from my band sold his drum kit to buy turntables and become a DJ, so it meant we had to start using drum machines and that was the beginning of my producing,” he said.
Mathieson will showcase his talents this week at Art Ball.
Set in the Art Gallery of WA, this will be the rapper’s second gig in the highbrow surroundings.
“In 2013 I won the WAM Song of the Year competition and one of the prizes was to support Bob Evans in the gallery,” Mathieson said.
“I have two bands these days and many members of both are unavailable, so we’ve made a new band just for this show.
“There will be three back-up vocalists, two keyboards and then a double bass and drummer.”
Mathieson will sport a double-breasted French maroon jacket at the black tie event, together with a pair of kicks, in keeping with the gallery’s exhibition, The Rise of Sneaker Culture.
He is balancing his time making new music and working at his family’s late-night Northbridge cafe, The Moon.
What: Art Ball
When: May 20
Where: Art Gallery of WA