Jump to content

Emperor X

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emperor X
Matheny in 2016
Matheny in 2016
Background information
Birth nameChad Randall Matheny[1]
Born (1979-04-08) April 8, 1979 (age 45)
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
OriginJacksonville, Florida, United States
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • Guitar
  • keyboard
  • vocals
Years active1998–present

Chad Randall Matheny, known professionally as Emperor X, is an American singer and songwriter.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1979,[3] Matheny got his start in music when he was given a Casio SK-1 by his grandparents at age nine, and recorded his first album on a Tascam four-track before the age of 20.[4]

Matheny tours across the United States regularly and performs around the world as well, including tours in Mexico, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.[5]

In a self-described attempt to "address the diminishing utility of physical copies of music and the expanding role of marketing in the experience of art",[6] Matheny often hides or buries one-off physical copies and associated visual artwork of b-sides at GPS coordinates and posts them online as a part of a geocaching game to unlock MP3 copies of the audio. For the release of the 2011 Emperor X album Western Teleport, 41 "translucent purple audio cassettes" were buried across North America, many of which remain undiscovered. This received a feature on NPR's "Weekend Edition" program.[7]

In 2014, Matheny was commissioned by 99% Invisible to write a song titled "10,000-Year Earworm to Discourage Settlement Near Nuclear Waste Repositories (Don't Change Color, Kitty)" based on Françoise Bastide and Paolo Fabbri's concept of a millennia-long nuclear waste warning message in the form of a folk song about genetically engineered cats. Matheny wrote it to be "so catchy and annoying that it might be handed down from generation to generation over a span of 10,000 years".[8]

In 2020, Matheny and Christian Holden from The Hotelier started an artist-managed record label cooperative known as Dreams of Field Recordings.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Matheny is a former high school science teacher,[10] and in 2004 he stopped his pursuit of a master's degree in physics in order to dedicate his career to music.[11]

Matheny is a testicular cancer survivor and has low vision, which makes him unable to legally drive.[12][13][14]


Full-length albums[edit]

  • The Joytakers' Rakes/Stars on the Ceiling, Pleasantly Kneeling (1998, self-released)
  • Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strip on an Edgeless Platform (2004, Discos Mariscos)[4]
  • Central Hug/Friendarmy/Fractaldunes (2005, Discos Mariscos)
  • The Blythe Archives Volume One (2008, Burnt Toast Vinyl)
  • The Blythe Archives Volume Two (2009, self-released)
  • Western Teleport (2011, Bar/None Records)
  • Nineteen Live Recordings (2013, Plan-It-X Records, re-released in 2020 on Dreams of Field Recordings)
  • Jetzt Christmas (2013)
  • The Orlando Sentinel (2014, The Bomber Jacket)[15]
  • Oversleepers International (2017, Tiny Engines)
  • The Lakes of Zones B and C (2022)

EPs and singles[edit]

  • Wuss/Strike/River/Preacher/Magnet/God/Unwuss (2006)
  • Dirt Dealership (2007)
  • Defiance (for Elise Sunderhuse) (2010)
  • Brown Recluse/At a Rave with Nicolas Sarkozy (2013)
  • 10,000-Year Earworm to Discourage Resettlement Near Nuclear Waste Repositories (2014)
  • Wasted on the Senate Floor (2016)
  • Sad React (2020, Dreams of Field Recordings)
  • United Earth League of Quarantine Aerobics (2020, Dreams of Field Recordings) – as Chad Matheny
  • Suggested Improvements to Transportation Infrastructure in the Northeast Corridor (2023)

Tour-only releases[edit]

  • Gasheater/Raytracer (2004)
  • East Coast and Freedom From/Freedom To (2004)
  • Everyone in Jacksonville (2006)
  • Australia Tour Tape (2010)
  • Several New Songs in Various Digital Formats (2011)


  1. ^ "ACTION". ASCAP. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  2. ^ "Tiny Engines biography page". Tiny Engines.
  3. ^ "Emperor X: Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strip on an Edgeless Platform". Pitchfork. July 1, 2004. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Ubl, Sam. "Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strip on an Edgeless Platform Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  5. ^ Matheny, Chad. "A poorly-formatted but complete LST of every Emperor X performance ever so far". Emperor X Official Website. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  6. ^ Wasoba, Ryan. "Emperor X On Stock Responses And Performative Marketing". Riverfront Times. Archived from the original on October 29, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  7. ^ "Digging For Tunes With Emperor X". NPR.
  8. ^ "Raycats and earworms: How scientists are using colour-changing cats and nursery rhymes to warn future generations of nuclear danger". CityAM. November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  9. ^ @emperorx (January 28, 2020). "Please meet @DreamsofField, an artist-managed record label cooperative that Christian @moldyfish @thehotelyear and I are setting up as our new label home. dreamsoffield.com" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Deusner, Stephen (December 24, 2011). "The Most Underrated Albums of 2011". Salon. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "Emperor X Biography". Bar None Records.
  12. ^ "Indieheads Podcast interview". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 14, 2021.
  13. ^ Greenspan, Sam. "Emperor X: 'We Are Much More Than The Sum Of The Diseases And Disabilities We Carry'". NPR. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  14. ^ Matheny, Chad (March 6, 2012). "Chad Matheny of Emperor X". Impose (Interview). Interviewed by Sjimon Gompers. Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2023.
  15. ^ Eakin, Marah (June 9, 2014). "Emperor X tries to put Orlando on the map (again) with a new single, EP". The AV Club. Retrieved March 2, 2016.

External links[edit]