Mat Weaven aka. Tobias Wonderdog is an Australian singer/songwriter who began as a Trumpet player and ventured out of classical into rock. His first demo project as a novice was in a three-piece called 3rd Person which held a sold-out launch at a local venue in Melbourne’s south east. He then fronted a four-piece rock outfit known as Upstream, from 2004-2008. Energetic pop-rock shows and some great demos on the radio gave the band a strong presence on the live scene in Melbourne. They appeared to be on the fringe with many greats at a time when the music industry was grappling with moving libraries online, and the big changes of an emerging digital age. Upstream was often called on to support a fading Ozzy rock scene. With all the hip hop, hardcore and metal taking over at that stage it appeared they were the last in line for Australian rock. Supporting major acts like The Screaming Jets and Airbourne was mixed into their schedule for over two hundred headlining shows. whilst getting involved in charity and youth events locally. They also tested their tunes in Koh Samui Thailand where people were lining up after shows to buy merch and meet the band. Due to the loss of some really special friends to suicide and accidents, it appeared Upstream was the perfect vehicle to vent his anger and frustration. Upstream and 3rd Person songs can be found on YouTube but neither act made a distributed release. Selling demo/ep’s from the car boot in a carpark behind major venues in Melbourne became the main vehicle in spreading the word.
Making a top-quality record release at that time was a huge task and Mat decided that Upstream was to be an element of the journey, a wonderful learning experience. He then ventured out into central Australia on a rail project and worked hard for several years focusing on health and inner wealth at the same time. Gathering more resources and the focus to finish this quest. Mat always knew his calling was to put out some great records but felt it would happen when the time was right. For years all his friends would gather around on weekends enchanted by his songs and spirit. It began to feel he was being pushed into something he knew would take much more time and energy to create. In 2013, he linked up with Damien Young at Pony Music and the legendary drummer and percussionist Mark Kennedy to co-produce an incredibly long-awaited release. They commenced work on the “Land Of Paper Chimneys” record with a potent new group of players that slipped in perfectly and embraced the challenge. It felt like squeezing a lifetime into only a handful of songs but each song appeared like an album in itself. Each song was incredibly unique and different from the next.
With a brazen attitude towards creativity not meeting any particular audience, the songs might appeal to many but are simply to support his own mental health. No boundaries a definite constant theme in his approach. Rather than appealing to world tours and popularity, he seems only interested in the constant productivity of timeless art. Without that he would not feel alive.
Mats childhood inspiration was the band Midnight Oil, and Toby, a miniature fox terrier Jack Russell that lived for twenty-four years. Toby was nicknamed the Wonderdog who’s tales of mischief and adventure became well known around town and the campfire. So, Mat chose to immortalize his character and spirit with the new title. “That dog reminded me that humans are just another living entity that shares the planet, there is magic in all that is living” he states. Mat sings about vulnerability, and that feeling less guarded is a direction we all need to take if we aim to be truly happy. Embracing life as a whole. That means doing the dishes, walking the dog, not just being entrenched in what you are good at. Be in the moment in all life brings.
“I think as people, we lose out on connectivity these days and get too caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves. We should destroy the myth of what we call normal and practice in synergy as well as constructive criticism”.