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Tony Matterhorn - Mentally Ill to Kill
By Lady Zimma, Dainty Crew
(more articles from this author)
1999-08-02
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Tony Matterhorn Descriptions of soundmen are often varied, but one selector has a uniqueness that has resulted in his ever-increasing popularity all over the world and the unmistakable label of 'Mentally Ill.' Tony Matterhorn is currently setting the trend in dancehalls everywhere.

With his youthful looks, tall slim frame and cute smile, Tony Matterhorn is easy on the eye, but beneath the surface lies a pulsing plethora of inventiveness coupled with a dynamic nature. Naturally gifted with lyrics to run other selectors and woo the crowd, this young selector has come far during his ten years in the business.

Back in 1988, a youth aged sixteen lived next door to Inner City sound system. He used to watch and listen to the sound before becoming active in playing records on the set when it had been strung up. By 1989, Tony started following the sound, but his break came in 1990 when one evening the sound was playing out at Greenwich Farm and none of the selectors turned up. Tony recalls 'mi jus mash up de place de while night an then everybody seh Tony can play de sound coz nobody nevah really know mi coulda play de sound'.

After that event, the news became common knowledge and the young man who was born and raised in Kingston 13, Jamaica, started his upward spiral towards success gaining the moniker 'matterhorn' en route from Mark Dragon of Inner City due to the fact that he 'smoke too much Matterhorn' cigarettes.

Coming from a musical background involving his dad being in a band, Tony had the music vibe in his blood and he looked up to people like Rory out of Stone Love and Skyjuice out of Metromedia. He calls them 'pioneers inna de business.' To him these people, along with Supersaint, came from an 'age when dem used to play whole heap a dubplate and stuff' providing him with aspirations to get into the business himself.

During his career progression, Tony had a couple of sound systems in Upstate New York called TBO and Sting Ray. Although relatively small sounds, they used to play house parties and 'every now and then...used to get a big play out when Stone Love an all dem other big sound' came to town.

It was not long before his talents were spotted by King Addies. The sound had taken a hiatus from being on the road and had recently started their comeback with Babyface having done three dances back on the scene. The year was 1993 when Tony joined Addies playing out at their fourth show with Saxon sound system from London.

His working relationship with Addies lasted until 1998 when he debuted solo at the memorable Fully Loaded show at Fort Clarence Beach. The Bruk Out riddim became his anthem with 'Tony Matterhorn' being substituted for 'Bruk Out' and he made his indelible mark in the business.

Sadly, there is now some friction between Tony and Babyface resulting in them no longer talking apart from exchanging the odd greeting. However, Tony's adamant that he would never clash with Addies because 'mi cyan kill weh mi help build. It nuh mek no sense'.

Recent rumours were circulating that Tony was returning to Addies and he clarifies this by saying 'it kinda true an it nuh so true'. Confused? He elaborates by adding, 'some lickle man weh normally dem nevah woulda tink bout even war wid Addies if mi and Babyface did a link...mi seh a eedyat ting. Mi woulda jus go back an join wid Addies an jus seh yo mek we jus kill back everybody again!' However, Babyface has stated that he would leave the sound if Tony returns. Hence, Tony decided 'a bad vibes dat. So, mi nah go really go. It nuh mek no sense mi a go back round de sound if him go.' That said, Tony is confident 'mi a go back a mi sound, but mi haffe mek sure it clean an mi go back pon good grounds. Mi still have it inna consideration, but…before mi go back, mi a go mek sure everyting right inna de camp.'

At twenty-seven, his accomplishments in the business are exemplary as not many people, be them soundmen, artists or entertainers, can be successful in a group and also solo. In his words, 'mi go international wid a sound, break off an go international solo. You can't ask fe more.'

Success like Tony's has it's merits, but it also has some drawbacks. When you set a trend, you have to maintain it and as such Tony always has to think of new ways to keep up his innovative image. He says, 'mi haffe have sumpin y'know, coz people always a look out for someting from Matterhorn. Mi nuh have it easy like some people tink. Mi haffe always tink of someting else fe do for people.'

Right now he is working on an idea utilising a new way of creating dubplates. Since he classes them as 'all crazy,' he is calling them Mental 2. This takes up some of his spare time and with the time he has left, he enjoys watching cartoons and playing video games.

Looking longer term into the future, possibly ten years from now, he jokes that he'll be 'driving mi space car!' Realistically, he can see himself 'a teach some yout de business,' but he adds 'knowing mi an knowing how mi flex, age nah really mek a difference…you can inna it long an still at de top.'

Being internationally successful has taken Tony all over the Caribbean, Canada, London and next month sees him touring Japan, but he would really like to go to Switzerland for the first time so he can see the actual mountain called Matterhorn and 'tek some pictures pon de mountain.'

When asked about any current dancehall influences, Tony is honest in that he feels 'currently, mi a set de trend. Now you have people motivated by me.' As such he advises up and coming soundmen to 'have a clean heart towards it. Jus seh you know you can do it. You will do it.'

Tony Matterhorn has definitely made it to the top in his chosen profession and is dedicated to maintaining his position by giving his audience new flavours to sample on a regular basis. His final message to them is 'when bad comes to bad, nuh care wha, de Mentally mad person a jus perform.'

Mentally Ill he may be, but there's an underlying hint of sanity in there somewhere that keeps on getting this bredda his respect.

To make a booking for Tony Matterhorn call one of the following numbers:
Jamaica – 876 819 3976 or 876 700 5507
USA – 917 674 8997 or 305 216 3165


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