Ruta Smith

Synthesizers, instrumentals, retro keyboards, and boy bands are just a few of the things that encompass Matthew Kortheuer’s musical past and present. Rural Resonance, Kortheuer’s Charleston-based electronic project, leaves rules to straight edgers and defines the music on its own terms.

Kortheuer’s new EP Comfortable, featuring five fresh tracks, is coming out on May 13. This is his first EP since he began releasing music in 2018. Considering all of his releases thus far have been singles, his new EP is highly anticipated for fans. Looking back on the road to Comfortable, Kortheuer remembers plenty of little moments.

“My first real memory of music was actually going to a Backstreet Boys concert with my mom when I was very young,” he says. “It was definitely an interesting experience looking back on it now.” Kortheuer grew up wanting to be an artist or a graphic designer, which fueled his love for creating.

“As far as my first memory playing or creating music, it was with my brother, Lucas,” Kortheuer says. “He always fascinated me with his guitar talent and interest in music, so I always aspired to play guitar and other instruments like him and his friends.”

While instruments intrigued him, he didn’t find his passion for music until he was introduced to synthesizers. “I could essentially create almost any sound I wanted,” Kortheuer says. “This instantly inspired me to create as many sounds as possible, some of which may have possibly never been heard before.” He quickly mastered the use of digital audio workshops (DAWs) and began creating what he describes as “all sorts of wild and wacky sounds.”

Kortheuer’s music is a mix of DJ and electronic, involving instrumentals and his personality. Each track has a different stream of consciousness. For instance, “Running Away” is fast paced with an EDM vibe, while his newest single “Comfortable” is more slow and introspective.

For Kortheuer, staying true to his particular sound while collaborating with other musicians is important. “One of my favorite memories with creating music was when my buddy, super! (now known as Tomo Dachi), and I released a track last year called ‘Drowning,'” Kortheuer says. “We wrote the song in one session — everything just clicked and came together on the fly.”

Life events, new places and certain artists — such as Flume, Fall Out Boy, Sum 41, Cage the Elephant, and Mac Miller — inspired him to create and enjoy music. Considering Kortheuer does almost everything for Rural Resonance solo, staying inspired and focused is imperative.

While he has found success in creation, Kortheuer still struggles with certain aspects of being a musician and what it means to share his tunes. One of his biggest battles is deciding which setting his music should be played in. “Believe it or not, I’ve never actually performed in a real music venue,” Kortheuer says. However, he is planning to take his music to the stage as soon as it’s safe again.

During quarantine, Kortheuer has been hanging out with his girlfriend and pets, “working on other music projects and concepts, playing video games, and eating way too many snacks like everyone else,” he says.

But he is eager to get back to collaborating with other local artists when he can. “I have a few ideas for the future, none of which are officially set in stone,” Kortheuer says. These plans include adding some lyrics to some of his older songs, collaboration projects with different local artists, and lending his own expertise to help others create their albums.

Rural Resonance is a growing force in our local music scene — and with all of the upcoming plans Kortheuer has in mind, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The world may have been put on pause, but musicians are still creating and inspiring through their music, and Kortheuer is no exception.