Imagine speaking to your guy friend that only knows how to keep it straight with a little comedic value. Although you don’t like hearing the hardcore truth, you’re still interested in his opinion. If you can imagine that, then you know what it’s like to speak to Matte Babel, a TV host who traded in his life in sunny and warm California hosting for the freezing cold of New York City to host Fuse News.
The 30-minute program, which airs weeknights at 8pm, launched in February of this year and is dedicated solely to delivering credible music news. The show–led by anchor Babel and his co-anchor Alexa Chung with senior contribution from Fuse correspondents Jack Osbourne, Elaine Moran and Liz Walaszczyk–serves up expert commentary, as well as in-studio special guests, performances and video premieres.
Babel’s original intent wasn’t to become a host, but his career path has proven otherwise. (Plus, his charismatic ability to, well, talk, didn’t hurt.) The once non-experienced host gained unconventionally fast success with his first hosting gig out of college. Since then, his accolades have been growing from hosting Canada’s version of TRL to his new home with Fuse Networks in New York City.
Vixen chatted with music’s mew anchorman about daily routine at Fuse News and his most difficult interview with the Game. — Sharifa Daniels
Photo Credit: Art Streiber
VIBE Vixen: What’s a day like for you at Fuse News?
Matte Babel: It’s kind of like preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Friends and family are coming over, you wanna make sure the food is banging, the house is clean. Mom is stressed out, trying to manage a thousands things at once, someone forgot to get cranberry? Then there is an extra guest you have to accommodate. That’s the sentiment of it in a nutshell. While it’s exciting to be the only real linear music news outlet, we’re a new show and it’s stressful, challenging. There’s always unforeseen obstacles.
Each morning I come in, I read up on all the latest music news, debate which stories are the most relevant, then wait like a college kid for grades to see which stories strike a cord with our Executive Producer Rick Kaplan. Once the script is finalized, I eat, do wardrobe, eat, read up on any new additions to the show, eat, hit the voice over booth then head down to the studio to tape the show. Add in a few artist interviews during the day and activities with the Garden of Dreams Foundation. That’s my day.
What’s been your worst interview?
I had a very difficult interview with The Game. The whole G-Unit saga was going on, and he was sensitive about people poking holes in his credibility. At the time, I was a young journalist, so I went in. I wasn’t rude, but I asked him questions he didn’t want to answer. It was very intense to the point that I thought something could potentially happen, and he’s a big dude. A veteran once told me, ‘If you’re in the middle of an interview and the person obviously doesn’t want to be there, just end it. Grab their hand and say thanks a lot for your time and move on.’ That was in the back of my head, and I actually said, ‘You know what, Game, thanks for your time. I appreciate it.’ It was mad awkward.
Definitely. Besides that advice, what’s a quote you live by?
“If you’re comfortable than you’re not living.”
VV: What do you look for in a lady?
MB: At this point in my life, I look for a friend. I want someone who’s in good shape and attractive,who has a good sense of humor and can be a friend as much as they can be a partner.
Would you rather have a girl with beauty and no brains or brains with no confidence?
Definitely, brains with no confidence. You can always help someone get confidence about themselves. If you’re dumb, you’re dumb.
What’s an ideal time to wait to have sex?
As long as the girl feels comfortable and both parties feel respected, whatever happens, happens. There has to be some kind of mutual respect there. No one wants to feel like they’re not respected. If it takes a girl three months, if it takes a girl a week–if a guy likes you enough, he’ll wait?
What do you wish women knew about men?
The more space we’re given, the better we’ll behave. I was watching Sons of Anarchy and Katey Sagal said, “Men need to be loved, women need to be wanted.” I thought that was an interesting perspective. While I do think men need to be loved, we need space.
What can Fuse viewers look forward to in the near future from the network and you specifically?
I manage rapper Preign with a friend of mine, and we just shot a video for one of the singles with A$AP Rocky, so look out for that video as well as his mixtape Dear America. I’m part of a collective group working on a coconut water called Waiola that launched about eight months ago, and I have a number of shows in development with my production company, so hopefully you’ll hear more about those projects in the future. As for Fuse News, all I can really say is that the powers that be are all about music, which is dope.
Photo Credit: Vanessa Heins