Patrick Matamoros is the curator, custodian and owner of Saint Luis, a collection of vintage T-shirts and original apparel that is without equal. His ability to source the finest vintage tour merch, find obscure bootleg gear and produce his own inimitable original designs has made him one of the unsung architects of the aesthetic of hip-hop culture.
What song reminds you the most of your childhood?
When I was a kid, my daddy Rick played piano, and he would would sit me on his lap and play music for me all day long. It was awesome. When we were kids, Peanuts was just about the only holiday cartoons that were around. So I’d always ask my daddy Rick to play the “Linus and Lucy” song, and that’s actually really hard to play on the piano. Even my friends who are professional musicians, if I ask them about that song, they say “oh dude, that’s really hard.” My daddy Rick couldn’t read music, but he could learn how to play a song once he’d listened to it. So that one was hard for him, but he learned it for me.
He loved the album Tiger in the Rain by Michael Franks because of the wordplay. The storytelling of his songs are really simple, but it takes you somewhere. I so clearly remember before my first day of pre-school, him being so excited and calling me over, saying “You’ve got to listen to this song,” and playing me “Tiger in the Rain,” and he broke down that song to me. His lyrics were so conversational and simple, he wasn’t trying to over-write it. The story is that he walked into the National Gallery in London and saw the painting [“Tiger in a Tropical Storm” by Henri Rousseau], and he immediately had the whole song in his head.
Then I stopped living with my Daddy Rick, and went to live with my real dad, but he didn’t have any of the Michael Franks albums that my daddy Rick would listen to - he only had the one that he didn’t listen to. I would look at the tape over and over, trying to will any of the songs I was familiar with onto that tape. My real dad would get so pissed becasue I would constantly ask “Why don’t you have Tiger in the Rain?”
And it’s funny, because what does my entire life become other than trying to find music, and connect to other people to music. If there’s one thing in my life that is my Rosebud, it’s Tiger in the Rain by Michael Franks.
What was the first physical record you remember buying?
That’s super easy - I vividly remember walking to West Covina Mall, to the record shop on the second floor called Music Plus to buy Dana Dane with Fame. I almost didn’t have enough money because it was a double tape, so it was more expensive. No radio stations in LA were playing it, but I had heard the track “Delancey Street” becasue I was breakdancing with my cousins. I absolutely remember having all these fantasies about Delancey Street and what New York was like, solely based on that song. Then the first time I was ever in New York and came over the brooklyn Bridge and saw the sign for Delancey Street, that song just crashed all over me.
But when I got a few years older, the first thing I bought that wasn’t just what my cousins were listening to was Operation Ivy, and I never looked back from that one. I was so upset when I learned they had broken up and I would never get to see them. I was absolutely devastated. When I first discovered them, I bought the EP and I think they had just broken up, but I didn’t know that. Because of course you couldn’t look them up on the internet, so you had to find a record store that even knew what the fuck Operation Ivy was, which was nobody. I eventually found someone at Penny Lane Records in Upland, and that’s where I bought the full album.
What song reminds you the most of home?
That’s a hard one, because what is home any more? Especially after Covid. Since my son was born, music is so different for me. Every song sounded like I had never heard it before. So, home is whatever song I’m listening to at the moment that makes me think of him.
What song reminds you of traveling to a specific place?
I have this TANGO RECORD that sounds like it should be a Nas sample. Hearing it puts me right there in Buenos Aires, listening to live tango. You think you have an idea of what tango is, from seeing it in movies, or hearing old records. But you can’t possibly imagine what tango is until you’ve gone to Buenos Aires and walked into a tango hall, or until you’ve listened to this record.
What is the song that you wish you had written?
“Please Return Your Love To Me” by The Temptations. This is going to be a short answer, but what else is there to say? The song says everything.
What is the best song to play at a house party?
Heavy D & The Boyz - “Nuttin’ But Love.” It blows my mind that I have never heard another DJ play it at a show, or at a house party, or have it in a mix - you never hear it anywhere. And that’s the song that always hits whenever I play it. It’s not even a hard record to get a hold of because it was a huge fucking hit, so I don’t know why I never hear it. Also really weird though, because a 12” single doesn’t exist, so I have to play it off the album. Which is really sad, because if it was a 12” with only that one song, the fidelity of that would be phenomenal. One day, I would like a Record Store Day version of that with an acapella and an instrumental B-Side. That would be amazing.
Describe one of your favorite songs without actually naming it or the artist who made it.
One of the most classic breaks ever, but in French. And not just French, but French-Canadian, trying to sound very Parisian. There’s a very “I don’t care” snarl to the lyrics. They’re almost bored that they have to sing the song. Even the drums sound French! And the snare just strolls through the rhythm of the song, in no hurry to get to the finish. It’s perfect.
You're abducted by aliens and when you wake up on the spaceship, they pass you the aux. What is the song that you're playing to convince them not to destroy Earth?
Well, I don’t think there’s much worth saving, so this is actually the last song I ever get to hear, because they’re going to destroy Earth anyway.
So if I only get to hear one song and then that’s it, it’s going to be one of two: The Clash 12” single version of “The Magnificent Dance” - played through a Bozak speaker, by the way. Or, Operation Ivy - “All I Know is That I Don’t Know.” I think that’s it. Either that or “Sound System.” Maybe because they’re such short songs, they might let me play the full album. That’s what I would really want. Like “No no no guys, just one more song, I promise! Wait ‘til you get to “Take Warning,” then decide if you’re going to destroy the planet.”