Written by Allan Dodd (additional words by Jon Wilde) added to Rock Realms 31st July 2010.
Photos by Laura Billing.
Rock Realms recently added a review of the excellent debut EP by UK band Terakai. In it we mentioned the sad passing of the band's founder guitarist Matt Dodd. After reading the review, Matt's dad Allan sent us a really touching email about his son. We thought we should, with Allan's permission, share the story of Matt with you all.
Terakai lost more than just a member when Matt, my elder son died in March. Matt was Terakai, and he was 'The Last Stand'.
His journey including his work on the Terakai EP began in 2006 whilst he was only 14. He had been learning to play his guitar for a little over 2 years. He was obsessive about his playing, what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go with it. This was because he was autistic, diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was only 3. He started with his band 'Deathwish', which became 'Drive By Massacre' and was the beginning of what was to become Terakai. There were many personnel coming and going, mainly because Matt expected 110% from everyone, as he gave himself. Anyone who came up short went!
His main guitar partner through this embryonic period was Steve Kailus, who contributed considerably to the Divinity Restored composition. There comes a time when 15/16 year old boys' thoughts turn to more mundane pastimes, e.g. girls, drink, cars etc. So Matt and Steve parted company around which time Matt found Tom Grepne. He found a kindred spirit in Tom and set about teaching him the way he wanted him to play. They were more brothers than friends.
The other constant factor in Terakai's progress from the ashes of Deathwish and DBM is Adam Lewin on drums. In spite of several ups and downs over the 4 years, Matt always wanted Adam behind him. He is an exceptional drummer.
Most of the guitars and bass work you hear on "The Last Stand" is Matt, the results of months closeted in his room with his guitars, his PC and numerous other effects and gadgets he used to create the sounds he wanted. The band's new guitarist Cameran is super-talented player, and a really good human being. He and Matt both studied contemporary guitar at the Academy for Contemporary Music in Guildford. Cameran is the only name in Matt's phone book from his time at ACM, and was a natural successor to Matt in the band.
Matt worked through the small hours of the night relentlessly editing and replaying parts of the songs with which he wasn't happy. This went on for 2 years. He taught Tom and the bass player at the time everything he wanted them to play to exactly reproduce the recordings in their live performances. The bassist did not stand up to scrutiny, so Matt dropped him. He pulled his younger brother Chris [aka Kip, or Kipper!] into the band on bass as a stop gap whilst he looked for a full time replacement. Kip was only 15 at the time and might have had a problem with touring because of his extreme youth. As it happened, Kip slotted in and developed so fast with his technique that he has been an integral part of Terakai ever since and Matt stopped looking for a replacement.
Matt has left behind a dozen or more compositions, a lot of them not completed by the day that he died. We have been blown away by the volume of comments and appreciation of him from people all round the world when his death became known. Rather than write him off as the member of Terakai who died, it would be justice done to a remarkable talent to remember him for the wonderful music he created, and his drive and energy that inspired so many others.
Matt Dodd: 31st March 1991 - 9th March 2010
Link to the official Matt Dodd Tribute site:
Link to the 'Matt Dodd Appreciation' page on Facebook: