Sunday, August 16, 2009

The 2009 MATT EBERT Interview Experience!

You know something’s up when you’re interviewed twice on The Realm. Maybe you should take that as your warning to run in the opposite direction. I mean, if Ray likes you enough to sit you down and put you through the paces more than once, you have done something to interest this dazed, confused and gnarly twisted middle-aged man. MATT EBERT, the man from Georgia with the endless grooves, has just found himself in such a position and, to be perfectly frank (even though his name is MATT, not Frank) has acquitted himself famously. Read the results below and, of course, delve even further back into August’s blog to find a review of his latest masterpiece “Snakes And Tornadoes.” Groove on!

RAY - Seems like it was just yesterday that we sat down to talk before. Now you’ve just put a new CD out, “Snakes & Torpedoes.” Is that anything like Rush’s “Snakes & Ladders?” Can MATT EBERT’s concept album, “2113” be far behind? Just kidding…I think.

MATT - Yeah, I came up with the title from a reoccurring dream I kept have about snakes and tornadoes. Some nights I would dream of snakes and some nights I would dream of tornadoes…either way it was unsettling and went on for years. I read that dreams of snakes represented evil and tornadoes represented destructive, uncontrollable forces in your life, which I had plenty of. So I decided that would be a great title for the CD. Then I saw Rush came out with “snakes and arrows” and I said fuck it, I already decided on that title before that record came out…I aint nothing like Rush anyways. But I did worry about that for a minute.

RAY - I just passed thru your home state of Georgia taking the family down to Florida from where we are in Maryland. It was the only state we hit a traffic back-up on I-95 in 922 miles. Can you explain this?

MATT - I don’t think people know how to drive around here. They like to text, read a book , put on their make up or just drive like shit for no reason …..Not real important to get where you’re going. Laid back around here I guess, nobodies in a hurry. I’m on medication because of it.

RAY - Ok, we can go rushing madly headlong into “Snakes….” As usual, your buddy Allan Ray plays a major role in co-writing, co-producing & playing. You guys seem to work well together. Commentary?

MATT - Well, we’ve played together since the 10th grade, (we’re both 29 now). We’ve been a bunch of bands together over the years. We started recording with a reel to reel back in the day. Then we advanced to a 4 track tape recorder. And now we use the computer BUT try to maintain that analogue sound. Mostly accomplished with vintage instruments and less than perfect equipment. Usually when I write a song, I’ll do the drums, bass, and vocals and then tell Allan what I had in mind for a guitar part or what have ya and he does his thing. Sometimes its not what I expected but I almost always dig what he comes up with. Recently, Allan moved in with me, so I look forward to getting a lot more music recorded and playing around with his thousands of instruments.

RAY - Some people do covers & my reaction is “Fucking why, man, why?!?!” They try to re-create a classic original and of course, should realize that the karaoke bar is down the street. The covers you pick are not only unexpected but are then given a full EBERT interpretation. Why do a cover version of a song and what makes a good one?

MATT - Well, I enjoy doing covers. Its allot of fun for some reason. And its good filler if you’re trying to have a full CD. The covers I did for snakes, I felt worked well with the overall theme of the CD and I had already wanted to do some Mary J Blidge and Tina Turner because im such a big fan of both. But in the future I’m gonna get away from doing more than one on a CD, just to present more of my songs and not waste recording time on doing a cover.

RAY - Have any of the artists you’ve covered ever offered a commentary after the fact?

MATT - No, because im so underground im almost to China. I doubt any of the artists have heard my versions but I’m sure they got my royalty checks. I would be very interested to hear their comments though.

RAY - Somehow, the cover versions on “Snakes & Tornadoes” serve to embellish your originals which are just fantastic this time around. Pick 3 of your originals on “Snakes…” and give us the full MATT EBERT commentary, thoughts, etc.

MATT - Ok, the opening track on the cd “time(don’t waste mine)” was written about my ex getting me involved in a love triangle with the dope man. I was working in Jacksonville, Fla at the time and I was so upset and miserable in my motel, I wrote the lyrics in a night and came up with the music at work and hummed it out on my cell phone. In the same month I wrote “Junky woman”, “Make a name for yourself” and “Buns of steel heart of stone”.

The 2nd track “Im hip” me and my roommate at the time, wrote it about all the hipsters around Athens and Atlanta that we hate. He’s in a punk band in ATL, so that’s why its got that sort of sound.

The 9th track, “Kill me” was actually the 1st song I wrote for the CD. I kicked it around for about a year before I finally felt it was complete. I had the 1st verse written for a while before I wrote the 2nd. One day I was at the doctor’s office and I read an article about Hank Williams Sr. When he died they found a piece of paper that he had been writing on. It read “tonight we both are all alone and here’s all I can say, I love you still and always will but that’s the price we have to pay”. I thought it was perfect and would be kind of a tribute to Sr., so I included those lines in the 2nd verse.

RAY - When you write a song, do you ever feel like “Goddamn, this is really something! I nailed this one!”

MATT - Yeah, I usually dig everything I do but after a while I start to pick it apart and don’t wanna even hear them anymore. But I really enjoy listening to “snakes….”

RAY - How on earth do you write something with a groove like “Time (Don’t Waste Mine)?” Did you live a previous life in Motown?

MATT - That’s cool you say that because that kinda the sound im going for. A Motown meets nirvana. I’m a HUGE Motown fan and really a fan of older music from around that era. I try to have an older sounding sound. I hate how perfect and clean new music sounds. Sounds over produced to me and soulless.

RAY - In Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Cry For The Badman,” the late Ronnie Van Zant, at one point, improvises “Way down in Georgia!” between lines. When you hear this, are you proud to be a GA resident or do you ask yourself, “What the hell is he talking about, they were from Florida?” Of course, the same man also wrote a song extolling Alabama, so he possibly was geographically challenged.

MATT - Yeah, I’m very proud to be from Ga. There have been a lot of great musicians from here. Next time you come through, you should check out the Georgia music hall of fame in Macon. It’s pretty interesting. Myself, I don’t see me leaving the south. I’m moving to Atlanta next year and that’s where I’ll probably stay. Unless I get run off or something.

RAY - You’ll give away copies of “Snakes…” and your previous disc to people who ask for them. Why?

MATT - Because I don’t care about making any money off my CD. I just want to be heard. I think if people see that its free, they would be more inclined to check it out. Hell, I like free stuff. As long as I’m still working, the CD will be free. But I’m starting to worry about that lately the way the construction biz is lately.

RAY - What do you make of the whole downloading of music thing? Are you the kind of guy who likes to hold a physical piece of material in your hand (CD, vinyl) or is it mainly getting the tunes out there, however that may be accomplished?

MATT - I personally do not download music. Some of my favorite art is from album covers. I have the Miles Davis “bitches brew”album cover tattooed on my leg. I made it a point to have a lot of groovy art on my cd. I got permission from a couple of really good artist to let me use their work on my cd. I think that helps the overall presentation of the music. If you download the music you don’t get that. And you could miss out on the good deep cuts on a record cause all you wanted was on particular song.

RAY - What’s next for MATT EBERT? Shows, recordings, etc.?

MATT - I would love to do some shows, but it’s a huge pain in the ass to get a bunch of flaky musicians together for no money. Maybe my move to ATL will help. I’m already recording for my next cd. I guess it’s gonna have a similar sound to “snakes…” But I am also working on a jazz album using UFO’s in the bible as a concept. I want to get back more to my jazz influences. The goal is to release something around this time next year.
And play the band deal by ear.

RAY - What is the best piece of advice you could give to a fledgling songwriter musician in 2009?

MATT - HARD WORK. Don’t waste time . Try to get the most out of each day in regards to writing and keeping focused on a project and avoid distractions like getting wasted every night. It only took me a year to put together “snakes..” that’s also working construction 60 + hours a week and mostly out of town. I just stayed on it and made it my main goal. Oh, and find a crazy woman or man to get involved with. You’ll have endless inspiration.

RAY - Any final comments?

MATT - Just, want to let your readers know the CD is free and I feel its my best release so far. It’s a honest record and from the point of view from a depressed construction worker…..salt of the Earth folks.

Folks, I’m not sure what else I can say about a contemporary musical artist whom I simply consider one of the most honest, compelling and just simply damn best around. Trust me, his CD’s are free (that’s right, FREE!) but so damn good that I wouldn’t mind paying full price. And, I’m cheap as hell. But really man, I mean this. So go, won’t you, straight to:

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