JW: When did you first start playing guitar and writing songs?
Matt: Well, I picked up the guitar a little while after 9/11/01. I was in CT at my boarding school and being away from my home of NY really hit me. Immediately after that I picked up the guitar and wrote my first tune. It was a tune called “A City Cries It’s Tears.” I played it in front of my entire school just a few weeks later and the response blew me away. That’s when I decided I loved this job and seeing the reaction of people, when you deliver a song that hits home. I haven’t stopped since.
JW: What do you use as your inspiration when you write a song?
Matt: The inspiration for my songs comes from all of my real life experiences. I tend to write a lot about break-ups or love and just situations in my life that hit me in a certain way. Inspiration is all around me, I just have to open up and let it in. Everything can be inspiring and I’m learning that more and more everyday. Life is truly amazing and the twists and turns continue to inspire tunes.
JW: You attended Berklee College of Music. Tell us a little about that. Why did you choose Berklee as opposed to other colleges?
Matt: Berklee was a great experience. You are completely surrounded by other musicians 24/7 and that’s what inspires you to play music. Berklee has an amazing reputation and when I decided music would be my career I knew I really needed to open up and learn much more about my craft. Berklee gave me a ton of tools that I will turn to for the rest of my career. Music is a language and I thought it was very important for me to learn this language and Berklee was the best place to do that.
JW: How did you hook-up with MTV and ‘Real World Brooklyn?’
Matt: This opportunity came pretty naturally. I have a friend who knows a music placement supervisor at MTV and they liked my tracks. I was lucky enough to have them placed on a few MTV shows.
JW: What did you gain by collaborating with the group ByChance? What way did the collaboration inspire you and your music?
Matt: ByChance was not a collaboration, but actually my high school band. Those guys were my great friends in high school, and I put a band together of guys who loved music. Shortly after I picked up the guitar, I decided I wanted to have a band, and we had the great support of my entire school. We even gigged most of our breaks in NYC and had an absolute blast. I love being a part of a band and I think music is all about collaborating and finding a way to make music with other musicians, that’s really what it is all about.
JW: I saw that you recorded your album “Dixieland” in Nashville? What was it like to record in Nashville?
Matt: The recording process in Nashville was great! It was the same studio that T-Bone Burnett produced some great records, and he happens to be a hero of mine. It was my first experience in a real studio and the studio musicians were unbelievable. I also gained my endorsement from Taylor Guitars through that session and really learned a ton from the pros at a young age.
JW: I’ve read a few reviews where they compared your style of music to Dave Mathews. In your own words contrast your style to Dave Mathews and give me something that distinguishes you from him.
Matt: Dave Matthews was really the reason I wanted to pick up the guitar. I had seen a ton of shows and I really loved his style. I think him growing up in South Africa really gives him a musical edge and such a unique style. I grabbed all I could from him and started to morph it into my own. My style right now is way less ‘jammy’ and a little more ‘rootsy.’ Dave will always be an inspiration and an influence to me.
JW: You recently gave away 30 tickets to your show at the Fillmore @ Irving Plaza. Tell us about that. How did the show turn out?
Matt: This was a great show, I always wanted to play Irving Plaza. I love giving tickets away to my shows. I just want people to get to see live music, and I know that’s where I really shine. Music is meant to be played live, and anytime I have the opportunity to give away tickets to fans who really want to come to the show, I will. I will do this for the rest of my career.