By day he’s Matthew Daniel Siskin, creative director and all the vagueness that implies. By other times of the day he’s Gambles. No idea what he does at night.
Hailing from New York City, Siskin is, by all accounts, a very successful creative force and there’s a good chance you’ve already stumbled across some of his work. He’s designed sites for Beyoncé and Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, but don’t limit him to a web-designer; “I’m more like a weird creative director who gets involved in lots of different things. We don’t even have a service listed on our website.”
His company is called, designedmemory, and they often dip into changing or creating a brands image, “A lot of really huge brands might not be able to step outside maybe what they’re doing at the moment. Maybe I wish they would, but if they can’t, then that’s not the project for me.”
So there you have part of Matthew Daniel Siskin. Yet, to better understand him you will have to get to know Gambles. Alter ego? Maybe, but I get the feeling that Gambles isn’t a distinct second half of him. Rather, it’s him away from the fluorescent glow of a computer screen arm around the nape of a guitar. A stage name armed with chords and progressions as opposed to codes and photos.
Right now, the soundcloud page is set up under the name “Who is Gambles.” A good question but a search for Gambles will take you to various music outlets that generally all say the same thing. He’s only released one song, he momentarily had a cover of another, he’s from NYC, he will remind you of Bob Dylan at times and his name is Matthew Daniel Siskin. Not much in the way of insight, after all he posted “Trust” about 30 days ago. So it appears, at the moment, there’s more about Siskin as Siskin alive on the internet than Gambles, so for the time being we’ll have to look to that to gain insight into the musical him.
What we do versus who we are. For some they are one in the same. For others, opposites but for most how we make money is simply a small slice of the larger us. With music it appears this is always what Siskin wanted to do, his first love. In an interview with New York Magazine about his more lucrative job he said when he was starting “…I was essentially coding everything myself, and charging next to nothing — just doing it to pay the rent. But it was great, because I could just focus on music and whatever else I was doing.” In another interview with Bloginity he was clearer, “It wasn’t something I had actually wanted to do – I just knew I was good at it, and people responded, so I thought “Ok lets do this for a while.” At the same time I was playing music, so it was a good fit.”
The track “Trust” finds a simple guitar guiding a rasping voice. That’s it. No synths, no wobbly base. Pure pop-up free content. Now, I like a synth as much as the next Neon Gold reader but that’s a whole different aesthetic. “Trust” is no frills and that appears to align directly with Siskin as opposed to another side of him being exposed. Later in the NYM interview when asked about how he dresses Siskin replied, “Clothing-wise, I like super simple and classic. I love things that feel like they could be really old but aren’t trying to be, and new designers who don’t mess with the classic things like a great suit.”
Before the Olson’s came along Siskin was designing to pay the rent. Once they asked him to be involved in their fashion line The Row, he needed help and called upon a business partner. Regarding The Row he said “That was a big turning point where I was like, Okay, let’s get serious.” When he got serious he started designing for some of the biggest names around and was successful and talented enough he was able to be selective about his clientele in a highly competitive market. Perhaps with coverage now rolling in from some of the larger figures in music, Gambles will get serious, we’ll get treated to some other fantastic tracks and a bevy of insight will be just a click away.
If you’re in the New York area on December 9th, he’s playing his first show at at ps1.3:00pm – 6:00pm.