About Emperor X
The brainchild of cosmic lo-fi Florida-born indie folk artist, Chad R. Matheny, Emperor X began his aural assault in the late '90s with the release of his debut, The Joytakers' Rakes/Stars on the Ceiling, Pleasantly Kneeling. Emperor X would go on to build a sizable grassroots audience in the U.S. and Europe through constant touring, quirky promotions that involved burying physical media in geocache sites, and a prolific string of releases including standouts like 2011's Western Teleport and 2017's Oversleepers International.
Matheny's musical interest began with a Casio SK-1 keyboard he was given at the age of nine. After acquiring a Tascam 4-track recorder in his teens, he began to record songs that showed his quirky mix of surreal, offbeat lyrics, haphazard arrangements, and pop sensibilities, eventually resulting in 1998's The Joytakers' Rakes/Stars on the Ceiling, Pleasantly Kneeling. Over the next several years, he worked as a high school science teacher and pursued a physics degree while recording music on the side. With the release of 2004's Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strip on an Edgeless Platform, he decided to devote himself fully to his music. Legally blind since a 1994 car accident, Matheny relied on the Greyhound bus for his touring needs, crisscrossing the country promoting independent releases like 2005's Central Hug/Friend Army/Fractal Dunes and 2009's The Blythe Archives, Vols. 1-2.
While based in Los Angeles, Matheny released his next album, 2011's critically acclaimed Western Teleport, via the Bar/None label, and announced the coordinates for 41 cassettes containing B-sides and early versions of the album's songs which had been buried at different locations throughout the U.S. In 2012, Matheny relocated to Europe, settling in Berlin. During his first tours of Europe, he found the public transit system of train and buses far preferable to that of the U.S. Because of his circumstances, he is known to tour light with a guitar and a backpack full of guitar pedals, which would be heard on his next release, the 2013 concert set, Nineteen Live Recordings, a collection of several years' worth of unusual live performances. Initially intended as an EP, 2014's The Orlando Sentinel was adjusted mere weeks before its release to include nine more tracks of an experimental electronic dance nature, making it a full-length release.
Around this time, Matheny was diagnosed with cancer and underwent an invasive bout of chemotherapy and surgery. While recovering in Berlin, he began writing the material for his next album, 2017's Oversleepers International, on which he discussed his experience with cancer and the European health care system. ~ James Christopher Monger & Timothy Monger