We had the good fortune of connecting with Nathan Matthew David and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nathan Matthew, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m the son of two Filipino immigrants who came to this country with not a lot to their names except big dreams. My father sold scrap metal at nine years old to support his family in the rural province of Pampanga in the Philippines. He grew up on dusty streets, and had to scrap his way to the US to create a better life for himself and for his siblings. He and my mother tried hard to assimilate to this country despite discrimination against their thick accents. I was lucky to be raised in a situation different from theirs, but their experience and my connection to my culture have really shaped who I am today. I’ve met so many other Filipinx in the diaspora that are asking similar questions about the assimilation their families had to go through in this US, and how we can push the narrative forward so our generation and future generations can live under greater equality than our parents.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a composer that mainly works in the film and TV space. I was blessed to have two incredible mentors as I navigated the early stages of my career. Not seeing anyone that looked like me was very daunting, and my parents were especially skeptical of my career path. For all they knew, composing was for old caucasian men, and I was a young Filipino kid. My mentors brought me in and over time, showed me that I could belong in the recording studios and meeting rooms that I was frequenting. It’s been very challenging, and it may have been impossible 15-20 years ago. But I’m grateful that more diverse stories are getting out there and there is seemingly a push to have more colorful voices in front of and behind the camera. A lot of my composing work now focuses on combining Filipinx indigenous instruments and modular synthesis. I’m excited by the textures and sounds I’m discovering.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
No doubt we’d first visit Unidad Park and take a look at the incredible mural by Filipino artist, Eliseo Art Silva. We’d probably grab lunch at Park’s Finest in HiFi, then peruse all the amazing vintage music shops in Highland Park and Chinatown looking for buried synth treasures. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The incredible Filipinx-American artist community that I’ve connected with over the last few years has been incredibly inspiring. I’m excited by the ways in which we are pushing the culture forward and are pushing to get our story out there. The Philippines lost a lot of great art and culture due to hundreds of years of colonization; and it feels like the current diaspora is trying to discover more of our indigenous roots and to honor and respect them appropriately. We’re also pushing forward and advancing in areas we haven’t touched before. When I was growing up, I didn’t see many Filipinos in main stream music, and especially in my field of film scoring. I’m excited that that will change.
Portrait photo by: Carmen Emmi