Mateus Asato’s first musical activity since announcing a break with social media has arrived in the form of a remix of Selena Gomez’s latest single, Selfish love.
In February, the 27-year-old guitarist, known for sharing his virtuoso technique on Instagram, surprised fans by shutting down his account on the social media platform.
Now he’s back to offer his take on the pop star’s DJ Snake collaboration. Selfish love, replacing the song’s tropical house instrumentation with intimately recorded acoustic guitars, performed in its signature sound.
Guitar.com had the chance to speak with Asato about the release and learn more about what he’s been up to since his absence from social media.
In February, you announced a break with music, in part because of some social media pressure. In recent months, has being “offline” helped your creativity?
“This ‘ad’ on my Instagram had a little misunderstanding, I think. I was in the middle of a flight on the way back to my hometown when all of these thoughts started popping up. He [was] meant to be more of a confession of my current frustrations than anything else.
“But my real intention there was to show that in addition to my disappointment with my own musical development, I was mostly oversaturated with the pressure to post things on social media. So I decided to take this break from “Instagram” – not music, as most people have understood.
“At the end of the day, it was really ‘good’ the way the media exposed this, because after getting so many messages from friends and fans worried about me, I started to [pay] more attention to my sanity and other details – and I had no idea how many things I wasn’t handling well.
“So far it’s been a great recovery process – and I feel like my creativity is gradually improving during this time.”
Lately you have been undertaking some high profile collaborations including the acoustic version of DJ Snake and Selena Gomez Selfish love – can you tell us how these collaborations are born?
“Work on [Selfish Love] was my first musical activity since my “break”. I’ve had [not played the guitar for] over 40 days when my manager called me, asking if I was ready to do a version of Selena’s latest single.
“He explained to [Selena’s label] who I was and they said it could be a great game. They were looking for someone who could [give the song] a Latin atmosphere. It sounded like a challenge – and it came at a perfect time. They gave me a lot of freedom to work on the music. I am happy with the end result. “
What was your process for revamping a song like this for acoustic guitar?
“It was easy and simple, luckily. They sent me Selena’s voice and that was it. I remember listening to the original version twice, but tried not to get too stuck on it. It was good [as a] reference, especially to keep the rhythm parts as close as possible. It’s a simple song but still [challenging] to make it sound and feel good. Adding a nylon guitar was a great choice I think. “
Would you like to continue making such collaborations?
“Absolutely. If I have the choice, I will continue them until the end of my career. Collaborations are one of my favorite activities, especially [because I’m not] a singer. I don’t want to keep [them] exclusive to singers, however.
So who is your dream artist to work with?
“I have a ton of names: Darren King, Pat Metheny, Lianne La Havas, The 1975, The Band CAMINO, Kinga Glyk, John Frusciante are some [I would love to collaborate with] One day. From a dream standpoint, Hayley Williams is definitely a collaboration of choice. “
You mentioned feeling constrained by the nature of Instagram videos. Now that you’ve had time to reflect, have you had any new revelations about being a guitarist in the digital age?
“It will sound cliché but: stick to what you are making music for. Remember that the “what” is not the most important. Accept the “why’s”. I read Victor Wooten’s book Spirit music during this break which helped me a lot – a real remedy for my soul. It’s easy to get lost in the digital age, and I don’t want that anymore. “
How has your approach to equipment changed over the past year? Does the touring suspension mean you’ve experienced your rig more?
“It hasn’t changed much, to be honest. I’m more and more interested in vintage stuff now. I have never had a rare old guitar and this is my next purchase for sure. I’m also currently experiencing a Les Paul season.
What other guitarists or musicians have you listened to recently for inspiration?
“Pat Metheny, Paul Gilbert, Allen Hinds, John Petrucci, Dan Huff and Steve Lukather. It feels good to fall in love with the guitar again.
What do you listen to when you need a break from guitar music?
“Music without a guitar, of course. During the time [I wasn’t] playing guitar, I listened to The Alan Parsons Project, Owl City, Lany, Jane Child a lot. Different sound textures are ideal for [let] my ears are breathing. Silence could also be a great soundtrack for times like this.
Finally, many fans have been waiting for your solo album for a long time, is there something you can share about how this is going?
“I think I made too many promises to my fans about my album – it frustrated them not only but me too. I would rather be an artist of actions than a person who stays in the “land of promises”. So I’ll leave it here: I’m organizing a “ house ” where my fans [can] always call him home. To be patient. The time is at hand.