The band was established in 1992 when Stan, who at the time was a student pursuing study of Advanced Mathematics in Brest (western Brittany, France), met Sammy who was studying electric engineering in the same city, where they both come from. Both were guitarists and together formed a chanson and guitar duo called the Tricards Twins, playing in a number of bars and pubs in Brittany. They developed a repertoire for playing songs from the sixties and seventies, with the Beatles, Neil Young and Simon and Garfunkel figuring prominently among their influences.
In one of their shows, they met bassist Eric and drummer Fanch. Together, they formed Matmatah, named after Matmata, the village in Tunisia in which Stan had lived during his childhood. Soon, they achieved some success, opening for bands such as FFF. Their first single, titled "Les Moutons" (The Sheep), was released in 1996, and within a few months had sold 30,000 copies (eventually selling 800,000).
The Band's first studio album, titled La Ouache, elevated them from local fame to national revelation. The album sold 300,000 copies within six months.
The media frenzy for the band began after they embarked on a marathon of hundreds of concerts over the next two and a half years. During this time they were part of a number of rock festivals, during which fans discovered a new side to Matmatah through their energy on the stage and their covers of various Beatles songs.
It was around the same time that Matmatah were charged with inciting the use of illegal narcotics because of some of their songs' lyrics and were ordered to pay a fine. With their usual sense of humor, the band brought up the issue in the lyrics of their second album. This eagerly awaited album did not prove to be as much of a success. Titled Rebelote (Here We Go Again), it brought the band closer to its Celtic Rock origins, but was less popular. However, the artists maintain that through that album they turned away from the "schoolboy-ish" form of rock and towards the spirit which drives them today.
In 2001, the band released their live album, Lust for a Live, and a DVD humorously entitled Piste Off. After a short rest period during which the band changed drummer they resumed their touring, this time for a number of humanitarian causes.
Their third studio album, Archie Kramer, released in October 2004, has been very successful. Singles such as Casi El Silencio and Au Conditionnel have enjoyed extensive airtime in France. The twelve tracks veer between soft ballads and energetic rock numbers. Their soft folk song, Alzheimer expresses their opposition of American hegemony in the world.
At the end of October 2004, the band went on a comprehensive tour, including parts of Asia.
In 2007 was released their last album La Cerise (The Cherry) which is also the title of the first single.
Matmatah disbanded in August 2008 after a series of farewell gigs.
- Tristan Nihouarn (Stan) - vocals, rhythm guitar, flutes.
- Cédric Floc'h (Sammy) - lead guitar, vocals.
- Eric Digaire (Eric) - bass guitar, vocals, keyboards.
- Benoit Fournier (Scholl) - drums, percussion.
- Jean-François Paillard (Fanch) - drums, percussion.
- Lust for a Live
- 28, Capucines
- ...and Time Goes Friendly
- Bande à Part