From rewriting the hard rock rulebook with his Grammy award-winning trio High On Fire to reverse engineering doom metal with his genre-defining trio Sleep, Matt Pike has channeled his natural talents and chiseled a steely path straight to the heart of modern-day metal’s molten core with his debut solo LP, Pike vs. The Automaton.
From reverent youth to Grammy-winning riff-wielder, Matt Pike has always housed a boundless enthusiasm for the six-string and the stupendous sounds that – in the right hands – the instrument can produce.
“I wanted to play guitar since I was born, basically,” proffers Pike when asked about the formative years of his musical maturation. The iconic guitarist of High On Fire and Sleep seemingly came into the world with inherent talent.
“I was just going bonkers during the pandemic. It was like really, truly miserable. And then all the riots here in Portland and all the political shit. I was trapped in my garage, which was the only place I could go and jam and do anything,” confesses Pike. “I was trapped in there ‘cause I couldn’t go jam with High On Fire, I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t do that, no one could fly. I was going crazy. My friend Jon Reid, who was the original drummer for Lord Dying, had moved to Portland and was babysitting my dog, Crom, and he was drumming for my wife’s band, so he had his drums already set up at my place. I finally said, “Dude, do you want to come over and just start jamming? So, I just started this thing with my friend Jon. I was like, “Dude, fuck it. Let’s start a side band and we’ll just demo this and act like we’re starting it as teenagers, you know?”
Pike vs. The Automaton includes the bizarrely titled track “Alien Slut Mum.” When asked for comment on the clip, Pike cryptically replies, “Four friends enter the woods, for a getaway, little did they know they would never return! Dogmen, Sasquach, Reptilians, or alien slut mum?!?! Where have they gone??”
The Automaton, in Greek mythology, is the big robot that’s the guardian of the Gods, basically. It’s a soulless, big machine named Talos. The big machine that’s working against mankind at this moment. In Jason And The Argonauts, Jason and the Argonauts have to battle this big machine guy that protects the island. Basically, what the album title is saying, metaphorically, is “Pike against the world.”