Matt Jaffe EXCLUSIVE
What do you think makes you stand out from other artists and what makes your music stand out?
My music is indebted to older music than most of my peers. I like Hank Williams more than the average millennial. I’m not even sure if I’m a millennial but that’s not the important thing. I just think bent strings on electric guitar are the business. Despite my best efforts, I live in a past life that will keep me at arms reach. But that’s ok. I relish the outside looking in status.
When did you decide that music was going to be the career you continued with for the rest of your life and what made you come to that decision?
I never decided. It’s just snowballed. I got to record music with Jerry Harrison. Then I formed a band. Then I left school. Then we toured with Blues Traveler. These were all big things but none was a decision to pursue music unto itself. Also I don’t know if it’ll be the rest of my life. Chances are it will be. And I’d be thrilled if it is. But it’s impossible to see all ends. And happiness is a moving target.
Other than musicians who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
I’m not even sure musicians are my biggest inspirations. These days filmmakers and novelists stand taller. Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson, Julia Alvarez, John Irving.
Do you believe in luck?Do you have anything that brings you luck or rituals you do before a gig etc?
Coincidence is certainly a thing. More often than we notice and likely more often than we could even admit. But I also know that people ingratiate themselves to coincidence with persistence. I’ve warmed up my voice with the same two songs for the last several years. But it’s not about luck. They just make my voice feel silky. One Magnetic Fields song and one Tom Petty song.
Did you enjoy music at school and were you any good?
High school music was terrific. College music was depressing. I was very good.
Pick a song of yours and tell us the story of how it was written and what the song is about?.
I wrote the song Dancing With Death about my experience with epilepsy. I thought about how I wasn’t taking ample advantage of my trauma which I say with great irony. Our culture loves identifying people by their trauma so I thought I’d take a stab at that. I try to do that less now. The riff was originally for the song Devil Inside of Me but got cannibalized after trying out new songs at a club in SF called Amnesia.
What was the 1st performance you did in front of people and what was your first gig you did and can tell you tell us about it?
My first performances were classical violin recitals. I was probably five the first time I played and I performed with my back to the pews in the church. Then I started playing open mics when I was 11. My parents took me every Monday. We went to the same Thai restaurant every time and I got a chai latte every time. I wasn’t vegetarian yet so I had loads of BBQ Pork and Pad Thai with chicken.
What does music mean to you?
It’s a good thing to do. Some people make banana bread. Some people learn how to pole dance. Some even do falconry. Anything to keep you off the Internet spewing hatred.
Take us through a day when you are writing or recording?
Writing is like water that fills the spaces between other commitments. I do it whenever I don’t have to be doing something else. Recording is by nature a full day commitment and needs to be a singular focus. Writing also needs that but the fact of my life is that it usually can only find two hours at a time as opposed to a studio day of 12 hours.
What would you like to achieve in the next year?
I’d like to release two new albums and tour Europe.
What one thing could you not live without and why?
Running and vegetarian food. They make it all alright.
Take us through a rough timeline of your career so far and what would you consider to be your personal highlights and achievements?
I mentioned some of the highlights. Classical violin. Thai food and open mic. Jerry Harrison producing. Leaving school to open for Blues Traveler. Releasing five albums since 2015.
If you had to write an advert to advertise your act and your music what would it say?
Dance music for voracious readers.
What is your favourite way to listen to music and do you ever listen to your own music?
Not my own unless it’s for listening to mixes. I listen in the car. It’s leagues better than sedentary listening.
Who would you have to play you in a film about your life and career and what would the plot of the film be?
Christian Bale. Wouldn’t the plot be my life story? Just skip childhood. That’s always the crap part of biopics.
If you had to change your image,genre of music and just reinvent yourself, what would you do?
I’d reinvent myself as a synth pop icon with spikier bleached hair.
What has been one thing you have done during your music career that you regret or wish you could go back and change?What would it be and why?
I wish I could produce my first two albums differently. I like the songs but the sound of the albums doesn’t make me happy. But I wouldn’t actually change it. Style comes and goes.
How has Covid 19 affected you ?
Missed a few gigs. That was too bad. But it was an exceptionally good excuse for not seeing certain people.
Can you give us a rundown of all the music related things you have been upto in the past couple of months and what we can expect for the future?
I recorded a new album in July that we’re finalizing. I’m currently on tour doing twenty dates on the east coast. Writing throughout. Writing always.