An interview with Christina and Mathew Cohen of the band Magenta
July 2004.

When I discovered Magenta at the beginning of this year, I was really impressed by their concept album Seven. About the seven deadly sins. An album that will end high in my favorite albums of 2004 (and right now on the first spot).
And when i got the first album too, an double one, I became convinced that this band will be great.

In the meantime I came in contact with the Mathew Cohen the bassplayer of Magenta and after a few mails this interview took place.

Mathew Cohen


How did you met Rob?
I was in a band called ‘The Voice & the Drum’, the lad I was in that band with knew Mr Reed & introduced us, and it all seems like yesterday!

Was the evolution from Cyan to Magenta a big step?
I wasn’t that involved with Cyan, I used to (& still do) write many different styles of songs with Rob, & one day he just asked me if I would like to perform b/vox on the album. I recorded them & it was years after that Rob then approached me about the ‘Magenta’ project.

In the booklet of “Revolutions” you’re the eye-cather, do you like that?
In the booklet of ‘Revolutions’ I am definitely the focal point, but the vocalist in any band is always the focus of attention (anyway the others are far too ugly to be published!!), now I am in trouble!

I believe “Broken” was the first lyrics you wrote (for Magenta), did the lines come easy?
I have written with Rob for years & I don’t know whether he would agree or not, but we have developed quite a skill, almost a sixth sense at knowing what the other wants from a song. Rob is not a lyric man and unless it’s a word that jumps out at him, that he doesn’t like, he normally trusts my judgement on the lyrical content. As soon as he played me the music of ‘Broken’ it conjured up images of ‘Vampires’ and ‘loneliness’, the lyrics came easy.

Do you know Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn), Rachel Jones and Anne-Marie Helder (Karnataka) or Tracy Hitchings (Landmarq)?
I have met Heather from ‘Mostly Autumn’ & I am a fan of her voice, unfortunately I haven’t met Rachel, Anne-Marie (Karnataka) or Tracy (Landmarq) but think that they have all contributed greatly to the ‘Progressive’ scene, and shown what great talent there is out there. I think we ought to have a ‘Women in Prog’ gig so we can all meet up and have a good old girly gossip!!

Do you’ve any albums of them or did you see them recently?
Yes, I’ve got (or have borrowed) the albums of the bands mentioned above, and recently saw ‘Mostly Autumn’ @ ‘The Point’ gig, in Cardiff. A great gig, really good atmosphere. Unfortunately I haven’t caught either ‘Karnataka’ or ‘Landmarq’ live yet, but intend to.

Magenta isn’t a band who does a lot of gigs, how does that come?
As you know Magenta are relatively new on the gigging scene (14 to date I think) and so haven’t really had time to build up a live following or earned a reputation big enough to get us invited to play. I know that on various forum sites we do get criticized for our sound, rightly or wrongly, people are allowed to voice their opinions! But I personally believe that we kick butt on stage. I hope we get the opportunity to silence our critics through our live performances, or at least give them something else to moan about!


If you would describe your self what would it be?

What do you think is the best virtue of your self?
I don’t take myself too seriously!

And which bad habit / sin do you’ve?
Bad habit = untidiness, Sin = all 7 at some time or other.

You started to play an instrument at the age of:
At the age of 14 I took up Bass

Did you had any lesson?
No lessons, self- taught (which would account for why I was crap!)

Which (high) school did you go?
Howardian High School, Cardiff (now demolished for a housing estate)

Is it there you met some other bandmembers?
Not from ‘Magenta’ but I went to school with my sister & that’s when we started our first band, the infamous ‘French Lettuce’.

Your life besides music: Are you married/ (girl-)friend, do you’ve kids and or pets?
Yes I am married (very happily) no children (can just about look after myself!), no pets (too busy being a Rock Goddess!!)

Surprising Facts:
I am a black belt in Karate, I may be small but I’m fierce when riled!

Favourite Music:
I love all types of music, as long as there’s good melodies & I like the voice, where music is concerned I have an open mind.

Best album(s) you bought or heard in 2003/2004:
Best album bought & heard, ‘The Disconnection’ by Carina Round, she does it for me!

Best album ever:
Best album ever, I cant answer that, I may not have heard it yet!

Best live act:
I saw Carina Round in the Bar Fly, Cardiff, thought she was amazing. Great sassy attitude, amazing voice, she looked like she was meant to be up on stage.

Favourite Movie(s):
(One of many) Favourite movie(s) ‘The Fisherking’

Favourite Food:
All types of pasta.

Favourite Quote:
Favourite quote: “ Ot eht tab elibom nibor” keep at it you’ll work it out eventually!

You must go to a concert/ gig what would you choose:
Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson, -->Elvis
Roger Waters or David Gilmour, -->David
Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins, -->Peter
Woodstock ('69) or Live Aid ('84), -->Woodstock
The Lion King or Enimem,-->Eminem
Frank Zappa or The Beach Boys, -->Frank
Night of the Proms or Bob Dylan, -->Bob Zimmerman
Jimmy Hendrixs or The Doors, -->Jimmy
David Gilmour acoustic or Pink Floyd, -->
Yes (with Wakeman) or Pink Floyd (with Roger Waters), -->Pink Floyd with Roger
Paul Mccartney or the Who, -->The Who
The Beatles or the Stones, -->The Rolling Stones

Wish for the future:
just that there is one!

Last comment:
Attractis Pedibus Patente Porta Percurrent Raphanique Mugliesque ( if you can curse in Latin, you may understand).

Translation: only for 18 years and older.


Hope to see you in Verviers some day (in September?)


Matthew Cohen – Bass Player With Magenta.

How did you get involved with Magenta?
I was recording an album that I had co-written with a guitarist. The project was called Erasmus and the album was called “Voyage” (available through F2 Music Ltd) and Rob Reed was producing it and doing the keyboard parts for us. One day he played me the final mix of Magenta’s “Revolutions” album and I thought it was out of this world. I said, as a passing comment, that if he ever decided to take the album out on the road that I would love to be the bass player on it, never thinking I stood a chance. Anyway, Erasmus fell through and then out of the blue, Rob called me while I was in the local pub and said that he had decided to put a band together to play “Revolutions” live and would I like to try out for the bass player position. I was stunned and jumped at the chance as I thought the music was everything I was looking for. The rest they say is history and here I am today having the best time of my life playing the best music with the nicest bunch of musicians and friends I have ever met. A dream job come true.

Was it easy to take over the bass parts of Rob?
I will be totally honest with you Nick. The first time I sat down and started to really analyze the bass parts I nearly shit myself. I thought I was never going to be able to play all those parts, as the bass just does NOT stop. There are some really complex parts and a lot of the lines are integral to melody lines in the songs. Trust me, it took a lot of discipline and dedication to learn the bass lines. It was a real learning experience for me and I really do think that because of those bass lines and playing with the people I am playing with in Magenta, my playing has improved 300%. Not a lot really scares me know when a bass part is put in front of me.

Do you play in other bands?
No. I used to be a covers band a couple of years ago, but I got really bored of playing shit boring songs, so I left. As I said earlier, I did have Erasmus but that band, even though we recorded a great rocking album, never really got off the ground for one reason or another. To be honest, Magenta is all I need. We have so much on and I can’t imagine working with anyone else, as this set-up is just perfect in every sense. matthew

The EP “Broken” seems to be more a group-process then the previous albums, is that correct?
Yes it is, but only in the sense that the whole live band recorded the tracks on the EP, Rob still wrote the music and presented it to us as a band to learn. Normally, Rob will record the majority of the parts on the albums and call in various other musicians to record sections he feels need a different feel. Also, Christina wrote the lyrics this time and that job is normally left up to Steve Reed for the albums.

“Seven” got very good reviews, is the band taking more time now?
“Seven” has received some quite incredible reviews and that has pleased us so much. It is always an anxious time when an album is released because we all believe it is excellent otherwise Rob wouldn’t release it. So when the first reviews come through we all get quite excited. Obviously most of the pressure is on Rob and Steve as it is their baby but we all feel a big part of this and so we all share the pressure when there is a new release. By the question “Is the band taking more time now?” I assume you mean are we taking more time to play live? That answer is simple, yes! We are constantly looking for places to play. Our ethos is to play the best places to gain maximum exposure. We have all done the toilet tours, as we like to call them, but sometimes that can be such a discouraging time, therefore we feel it best to play to as many fans in one go rather than spread a tour over 4 weeks. If the albums really pick up a huge momentum and there is a real call for extensive touring and the money is there for us to not do our day jobs then obviously we will be on the road before you can say boo to a ghost. We love playing live but the scene, unless you are really established, is still not big enough to warrant spending weeks on the road.

Is there a different between the live gigs and the band in the studio?
As I stated earlier, not all the live band plays on the studio records. Rob does the majority of it and calls in other musicians he doesn’t get to work with all the time as it keeps it fresh for him. The live band will record all the singles and live albums and DVD’s.

Do you only play your own material live, or do you play covers once in while?
We only play our own material live. However, at our first ever gig, which was just a warm up for friends and family and invited guests, we did do an Abba cover. But since then we have only ever played our own material live. I would however, if the time permits, love Magenta to pick an album by another artiste we all love and go and do a couple of shows plying that album and then have a break and play Magenta material in the second half. It would be good to video that and release it later on in our career as present to the fans. That would be a real good fun thing to do, but as I said, the priority is always to concentrate on doing Magenta songs and that is just great with me.

If you would describe your self what would it be?
Determined, driven, tenacious, caring and loving.

What do you think is the best virtue of your self?
My best virtue is that I care for all the people close to me in my life and that I would do anything for them to make sure they were always ok and happy.

And which bad habit / sin do you’ve?
I smoke and drink too much.

You started to play an instrument at the age of?
I have always had a fascination with music and instruments. My Grandfather always had organs, trumpets, violins etc around his house and I would always want to have a go on them as a kid. I had my first guitar at 4 years old. I did take some lessons in school on guitar when I was 6 but I just couldn’t get it and then when Star Wars came out, I was more interested in that. I realized I loved bass when I first heard Iron Maiden and then when I saw them for the first time in Cardiff in 1984 I knew I wanted to do what Steve Harris did. I didn’t get my first bass until I was 16 so I was a bit of late starter really.

Did you have any lessons?
When I first started playing bass I had a guitarist friend of mine take me through the basics and he taught me things like “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen but since then, I have never had a formal bass lesson. I am totally self-taught.

Which (high) school did you go?
I went to 2 private schools. The first one was a school called Westbourne House in Penarth here in Wales. Then I went to a boarding school in Somerset, England called Millfield for 2 years.

Is it there you met some other band members?
No. I didn’t meet any of the guys in Magenta until 2001.

Your life besides music.
Are you married / girlfriend / single? Do you’ve kids and / or pets?
I have a girlfriend and no kids, but I do have a beautiful cat who is my total pal called Comet. He has been through so much with me and I love him to death, a real comfort.

Surprising Facts.
Ummmm!!!!! A surprising fact about me? I really can’t think. I know, and this is really boring, I get so nervous before I go on stage that I can’t talk, I feel really, really sick and panic at the slightest thing if I am not expecting it. I have a herbal calming tonic that I take half an hour before I hit the stage and that generally works. How’s that?

Favourite Music?
This is an unfair question. Well my nickname is Metal Matty, so you can probably guess that Heavy Rock is a particular favourite of mine, but I love my prog, jazz, ambient music and even some pop. So my favourite music IS music.

Best album(s) you bought or heard in 2003/2004?
Best Album I have bought in 2003 / 2004 has to be Janes Addiction – Strays.

Best album ever?
Best Album ever has to be Yes – Relayer.

Best live act?
Magenta of course is the best live act. You didn’t really expect me to answer any other way did you? Ha Ha Ha Ha.

Favourite Movie(s)?
1) The Lord Of The Rings Films
2) Spinal Tap
3) Still Crazy
4) The Harry Potter Films
5) The Star Wars Films

Favourite Food?
I love fresh shell fish and fish. There is nothing better than a freshly caught and freshly cooked King Prawn or Tiger Prawn or a melt in your mouth, filleted Dover Sole. Mmmmmmm!!!!!! magenta

Favourite Quote?
“You!! Off My Planet Now!!”

You must go to a concert / gig what would you choose?
Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson?
I hate Elvis, but as I have never seen him and I have seen Michael Jackson, it pains me to say Elvis.
Roger Waters or David Gilmour?
David Gilmour.
Peter Gabriel or Phil Collin?
Peter Gabriel.
Woodstock ('69) or Live Aid ('84)?
Live Aid.
The Lion King or Eminem?
I did some roadwork for Eminem and it was shit, but I would still rather see him than The Lion King.
Frank Zappa or The Beach Boys?
Frank Zappa, hands down.
Night At The Proms or Bob Dylan?
I can’t stand Bob Dylan, so I would have to put up with the lesser of two evils, A Night At The Proms.
Jimmy Hendrix or The Doors? Jimmy Hendrix every time.

David Gilmour acoustic or Pink Floyd?
Pink Floyd.
Yes (with Wakeman) or Pink Floyd (with Roger Waters)?
I have seen Yes with Rick Wakeman and it was awesome but I would love to see Pink Floyd with Roger Waters.
Paul McCartney or The Who?
I have worked on the road with Paul McCartney and I have seen The Who back in the 1980’s, but The Who would win every time.
The Beatles or the Stones?
The Beatles by a long way.

What would you wish for the future?
I would wish for a successful, steady and continued career with and for Magenta. I would also wish for happiness and good health for all my close family and friends. Finally on a very personal level, I wish to be happily settled down and lead a life of family security where me and my partner (whoever she may be) could always share the good and bad times in our lives and know that we are always there for each other whatever the circumstances may be.

Any other comments you'd like to make?
I would like to say a huge thanks to all our fans out there for buying our albums and coming to our gigs and for enjoying them and believing in us. It means so much to the band that people want to hear our music and see us play. We love talking to everyone after a show or via e-mail and hear what they have to say about something that is important and precious to us. It is nice that they feel that we are worth the time to talk to and I want everyone to know we are always open to talking so please feel free to approach us or contact us, anytime. I would also like to say thanks to people like you Nick for taking the time to talk to us and for giving us a forum to present our music and band to a wider audience. Without people like your good self, this form of music would not be around. Keep up the good work. Finally, if people new to the band or existing fans want any more information on Magenta then please log on to our web site at www.magenta-web.com where you will find competitions, news, tour dates, CD’s and general info on the band. Take care all and rock on!


For taking some time for this interview.
Nick from the lovely South of the Netherlands.

Thank you very much Nick. That was a great set of questions and I really enjoyed a answering them. Keep up the great work and hopefully we will see you at a gig very soon. Take care.


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Updated on a lovely Thursday in July 2004 by Nick.
Shine On!