Thursday, July 11, 2013


(photo by Horse With No Name)

Moving on to life "after the PA", sonwgriter Matt Pond has released what might be his finest album yet, the fully-realized and downright poppy "The Lives Inside the Lines In Your Hand".  Via email, Matt eloquently and poetically discussed the new album and his process.  

You recently dropped the "PA" from your moniker (despite being the driving force and sole constant in the band) - does this represent a break from your past work? 

I think every album is a new definition. And at the same time, all these songs have to somehow work together.

The PA was like a tail I no longer needed. A simple evolution.

I write my music for and as a band. But people move on.

"The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand" is incredibly lushly produced and has some of your most immediate melodies yet.  What determines the production approach for a particular song or set of songs?  Was the intention to make a more "hi-fi" record this time out or did the songs simply lend themselves to this?

Drum sounds tend to dictate the fidelity of recording. We've realized we can go to studio and get great drum sounds and do the rest in a cabin or closet.

I wish I could take responsibility for the entire vision. Yet albums are like lives inside of themselves.

They take turns you'd never imagine. Lost voices, smashed headphones, last minute triumphs and inspiration.

I guess once I believe in the initial concept, the album begins to control me.

It’s obvious from both a songwriting and production standpoint that you put a lot of craft into your work.   What is your songwriting process like?  Do you start with a riff and build from there or do the lyrics come first?  How do you know when a song is “done”?

Songs come to me like dreams.

As life unfolds, I hum words in my mind. Most of these thought-tunes are terrible, self-mocking or sarcastic. But every once in a while the notes and the words match up. And that's when I grab my guitar and start the search.

I don't know if I've ever fully finished a song. There's always more -- or less -- to do.

Letting go is the name of the game. Now if I could apply this letting-go-ness to my regular life, I'd be golden.

You've been releasing albums for 15 have you grown as a songwriter and performer?  Are there things that inform your music now that didn't when you were younger?

I think I've become tougher. And that's everything.

It's strange to live a constantly criticized and reviewed life. The only way to do it is to be above the pettier parts.

And still, I don't want to be aloof or disconnected.

Balance. Every morning, every minute, trying to find balance.

I imagine your songs are like children – it’s tough to choose one above the others. But let’s say you are asked to make a “Sophie’s Choice”; is there one that you are particular proud to have written or one that is particularly special to you?

There's a song called Amazing Life. I wish I'd sung it better on the recording. But I would let all the others go for that one.

I don't know how to be any more honest with my jams.

What are some of your musical touchstones, those things that you heard and loved and go back to?  Who inspires you musically?

A sweet mixture of heartache and solitude. They tend to go hand in hand.

Distraction is the devil. I need to be alone in the woods.

I'll pace the wood floor. I'll feed some deer. And then I'll lose contact with everything and dive down into the music.

You've accomplished a lot in your career thus far - releasing nine albums, touring the world, film scoring - what haven't you done yet as an artist that you hope to do someday? 

Someday I'd like to grow tomatoes and just write words. If you poured a little whiskey on top of that and added the right woman, all my dreams would be realized.

No comments:

Post a Comment