A German Jewish refugee whose parents had been killed in the Holocaust, Mathias – real name Hans Alfred Mathias – was welcomed by Huddersfield townspeople where he started an electronics shop on King Street in the town centre in 1957.
Mathias was a highly skilled electronic engineer and soon became known as a builder of bespoke valve amplifiers for reggae sound systems for West Indians in Yorkshire. He also opened a recording studio at the back of the shop, bringing in two acetate cutters and recording/engineering local reggae bands under the direction of Ian Smith, who, as well as touring with his band The Inner Mind, worked with many Jamaican singers. Mathias went on to build amplifiers that were used by many local sound systems and bands and Matamp became famous worldwide for its innovation and quality. Today the company operates from Holmfirth.
‘We first started recording at Mat’s studio down on King Street. It was wonderful. In the shop he sold cigarettes, chocolate and amplifiers, so in the shop window you’d have Craven A, bounty bars and a Matamp,’ says Ian Smith – The Inner Mind.