Robert Mathis (The Human Fly) | The Family Interviews
Meet Robert Mathis
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a human fly!
(Sorry. It had to be done.)
We got to talk to Spider-man’s arch nemesis and it was enlightening. Frontman of the Brooklyn-based The Human Fly, Robert Mathis is fresh off the release of their sophomore album Gruesome, and is just as honest in this interview as he is in his lyrics. Read on to find out about his love for Adam Duritz, his distaste for slime, and his first interaction with an insect.
A MAD-LIB By
An amusement park is always fun to visit on a hot summer day. It’s like THE WORLD'S SMALLEST PROM. When you get there, you can wear your METALLICA CROP TOP and go for a swim. And their are lots of HILARIOUS things to eat. You can start off with a NEFARIOUS-dog on a ANOTHER FUCKING MARVEL MOVIE with mustard, relish, and EVIL KEVIN CLONES. Then you can have a buttered ear of THE STARTING LINEUP OF THE 1996 CHICAGO BULLS with a nice GREGARIOUS slice of CRONUT and a big bottle of MOUNTAIN DEW CODE RED. When you are full, it's time to go on the roller coasters, which should settle your SOUL.
Other amusement park rides are the bumper cars, which have little DADDIES that you drive and run into other GAME OF THRONES REDDIT THEORIES, and the merry-go-round, where you can sit on a big DETECTIVE PIKACHU and try to grab the gold EVIL KEVIN as you ride past it.
A Would You Rather
Would you rather vibrate constantly at all times, or always be covered in a layer of slime much like a snail? Please explain why.
Vibrate constantly. I hate washing bed sheets.
Some Questions About Firsts
What was your first show like together as a band?
Complicated question-- this lineup's only been kicking around for a year and some change but I've been using this name for a while. I guess for our current outfit we played a tape release at some weird bar in Greenpoint for our friends. They didn't have a kick pedal as part of the backline so we were calling every one we knew to track one down. Very par-for-the-course first show drama. Other than that, no complaints.
What was the first band you remember hating? Do you still hate them today?
Hah, I hate saying negative things about other bands, especially ones that already get a lot of flack. Can I use this space instead to talk about how Counting Crows is underrated?
What is the earliest memory you have?
I got stung by a bee at age 3 after my birthday party. I don't remember the birthday party.
What was the first time you can remember laughing so much it hurt? Or a significant time?
Two days ago I watched the most recent episode of The Bachelorette and laughed really hard a number of times. Not ashamed to call it my favorite show on TV right now. It has zero reservations about what it is and doesn't hide behind millions of dollars to conceal what is, at its core, extremely campy drama. I feel like I'm giving off serious norm-core vibes in this interview so far. Shout out to all the members of Bachelor Nation that can also rank all of Low's albums upon command. Yes, we are real.
What was your first ride on the subway like?
I was on a field trip and the rest of my classmates were being really rowdy. I remember not really being into that.
What was the first instrument you ever owned?
I played violin as a kid but wasn't particularly motivated by it. I mostly stuck with it because I had a phenomenal music teacher when I was in the fourth grade that basically turned my life around, so I felt like giving it up was somehow a disservice to him. That's the answer my old therapist and I came up with, anyways.
What was the first place you moved into on your own? What was it like?
Fun fact: I've never lived on my own! Always had roommates. If we're talking independent of parental support though, I was living in Virginia with three friends, wrapping burritos to help pay for housing while I was studying down there. I remember we had a wall of post-its near our kitchen and any time someone said something funny, we wrote it on a post-it and put it on the wall. At the end of our time living together we quizzed each other on what they all meant. We'd also crash our neighbors' parties on occasion and pretend we were other people with entirely made-up backstories knowing we'd never see them again. It was a good time.
What was your first foray into music?
I had a band in middle school where we had one song and no name. We had a spot on the talent show so we were hanging out most of the week-- occasionally working on our one blues-rock song, mostly just brainstorming band names. We eventually had the teacher who ran the talent show ask us the day before what our band name was going to be and our bassist just said "Cheese". It stuck. We brought the house down and gracefully bowed out at the top of our game. Best gig I've ever played.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
Oh god. The first one I count was Dave Matthews Band. I went with my high school girlfriend, our friend, and their moms. It was the first time I put two and two together as to what weed smells like. I also remember feeling supremely lame because I knew classmates of mine were there running around unsupervised and tailgating and such. I can't say I'm still jealous of them.
What was the first album you ever bought? Do you think it has influenced the music you are making today?
Dookie by Green Day, and absolutely. Bought it from Sam Goody in the third grade. I'll still revisit it every now and then because it's such a marvel in pop songwriting. They managed to write these massive radio hits that could still be shelved comfortably alongside Jawbreaker and Op Ivy. A huge take I'm into right now is that in terms of bands with indie-clout, we collectively got Weezer and Green Day backwards, with the latter being the greater crossover success.
What was the first song you learned how to play?
When I was a kid and started expressing interest in my dad's nylon string guitar, he played me Getz/Gilberto and said if I could learn the chords of Joao Gilberto's arrangement of 'The Girl From Ipanema', I could play whatever I wanted. He was partially correct-- I found shortly thereafter learning how to play The Ramones songs was a bit less of a stretch.
Any final comments? (This is your electronic soapbox for one last answer.)
Counting Crows is underrated.