Matthew Rice 11



Is a close knit unite of singular musicians. At its core are Matthew Rice (Vocals, Lyrics, Guitars). Damian Staz (Drums) and Mark Ruthven (Bass). It is however a modular design that can be retrofitted with outboard power from Ronan Skillen (Percussion) and Maxim Starcke (Sound design, Soprano saxophone and Guitars)


Rice, Staz and Ruthven met and formed the trio over the course of 2015. Meeting in a secret location to explore clandestine recipes and formulae. At last, after two years of experimenting, tinkering and fine adjustments, they have been releasing some of their creations to selected audiences. The testing process has met with enthusiastic responses and garnered a burgeoning base of support among fans from around the Cape peninsular.

On larger shows, Skillen and Starcke who have worked with Rice for more than a decade, are a seamless addition to the kaleidoscope of sound that is this band.


The songs are Matthew Rice’s creations. They carry his dark melancholy and fascination with polyrhythmic sonic geometry. The lyrics often deal with the shadowy sides of human nature. Exploring themes such as unrequited love, greed, jealousy and self delusion. Chords and harmonies lean towards minor keys, but the darkness is offset by powerful, driving grooves, leading the music in unexpected directions.


Matthew Rice has collaborated and shared the stage with some of South Africa’s finest.

Among these are Freshly Ground, Hot Water, Tony Cox, Steve Newman, Syd Kitchen, Madala Kunene and others. He has worked with Nikki Jackman of Isidingo and Sharlto Cpley of District 9 on soundtracks for their private showreels. He has written, coproduced and arranged two albums, numerous singles and a recently released EP.

The guitars he uses are designed and handmade at Casimi Guitars, his boutique guitar studio in Cape Town.

Staz, Ruthven, Skillen and Starcke are veterans of stage and studio in their own right. Each having achieved notoriety in their respective adventures. From touring and recording with the likes of Jonny Clegg, Rodriguez and Massive Attack to collaborating with projects, bands and musicians to numerous to mention, to releasing award winning solo material, this is a team to remember.