If you have been buying records in the golden era of broken beat, chances are you came across the work of Bologna's Mat Design. Born Matteo Sola, it was his passion for music that eventually made him the designer responsible for the corporate identity of labels such as 2000Black, Neroli and Arision. He not only made the artwork for one of my favourite compilations, Soul in Motion, but also designed the sleeves for many of Domu‘s records.
Below you will find a small showcase of Mat's work, enclosed by an interview with the man.
Can you give a brief introduction on yourself?
My name is Matteo Sola, age 35. I went to high school in Bologna (Italy), scientific type of studies, nothing related to arts or design.
How did you get involved with design?
I used to paint and draw since when I was a kid. My main inspirations came from records covers, Strata East was my favourite label. I was mostly attracted
to black & white artworks/photographs.
Have you always had an interest in music or did this only happen through your work?
The opposite, I got my job through my passion for music.
How did you first get in touch with people like Volcov and Dego?
Perfect escalation… hahah. I met Enrico (Volcov, Rima) in Milano during one of his gigs at club Pergola, I think it was in 2000. A year later I got in touch with Dego at Goya headquarters. When I popped up at the old Bugz studio, I met Orin “Afronaught” Walters.
What's your approach when you work on an assignment, what's the inspiration?
I always try to focus on the music the artwork should reflect to…. My aim is to give a visual preview of what you are going to listen to.
It always appeared to me, it's more than your work connecting you to these artist. Did it become friendship?
Sure! Friendship is the key… but experience, taste and skills are not at the end of the list.
Do you have a favourite piece of your work in the music field?
There are three I like in particular: (1) The 2000Black logo - lots of interpretations of that logo has been done, mine is still pushing!! (2) Neroli's website - a huge project at the time, something quite innovative and fresh. (3) Big Bang's Rework album - a few years after the release on Arision, Omar's Sing (If you want it) came out and the guy who did the cover [and was obviously inspired] just dropped me an email and sent me a CD. I'm an Omar fan… that made me laugh!!
What else have you been working on lately?
I'm taking care of proud 2be book series.