Q&A with matt pond PA

posted in: Exclusive InterviewsFeaturesPop

To Matt Pond, the changing of seasons and the appearance of a new album go hand in hand. Is it any surprise then that the music of their albums often contain flowing layers, image-laiden lyrics and organic melodies?

The band’s songwriting style seems to long for something without being too obvious. With songs like “Locate the Pieces,” “Wild Girl” and, off the latest album, “Brooklyn Fawn,” matt pond PA seems to “flirt” with the concept of a catchy pop song without ever actually supporting the norm. Matt’s lyrics are even further detached as the listener understands the meanings almost on a subconscious level. As a whole, the arrangements differ from album to album, changing with the band’s lineup. The aesthetic remains the common thread throughout their discography and their latest release, The Dark Leaves, remains open to the lyrical/melodic integrity of the songs.

With a group of new musicians, matt pond PA is hitting the road this summer for a national tour to promote the release of the new album. OurStage got in touch with Matt in the midst of his travels so that he could share some insight on the latest release, the new band lineup and some of the artistic goals behind his music.

OS: The Dark Leaves is your first full length release in 3 years. This album seems similar to your 2005 release Several Arrows Later than the somewhat rock-based style present on Last Light in 2007. How did the musical goals differ between these 3 albums?

MP: I would hope I have goals. I should have goals, right? Without the purpose of pretension, our albums are always attempts at orchestration. Cellos, electric guitars, tambourines, voices, words, cowbell  every portion is supposed to have it’s place.

This album actually refers back to Emblems. They’re both about trying readjust my mind. But I’m not fussed if anyone thinks what they want to think. I’ll take someone else’s thoughtful interpretation over my clumsy intention any day of the week.

OS: Between your full length releases, you’ve been releasing series of EP’s. How do these compare to the other releases? Is the songwriting and song selection process different?

MP: Somehow EP’s are less stressful. I don’t have to be as cautious  which helps makes them freer than our albums. We left the door open while making our last EP. We let in all the ambient noise  the scratches, the chirps, the hiccups.

I put my favorite songs on these smaller albums because they’re less scrutinized. It’s not always awesome to have the thing you love poked and prodded by rock and roll writers. No.

I need to think less in order to close in on my full potential  the one I’ll never reach¦I shouldn’t forget to take deep breaths, either. Yes.

OS: In regards to instrumentation, the band lineups have had a very diverse history. You mentioned on your Web site that your band members right now are “the sugar in [your] bowl”. What can you say about the current lineup and how it will support your sound moving forward?

MP: I focus more on the person than the playing. I have to be around people I can trust. Sounds and songs start taking shape on tours. Not specific words or notes, but the seeds and the stories. Abstractly, these people napping around me will make up everything for the next album.

OS: You covered Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” a couple years ago for an episode of The OC. How did this come about? Was it a song you had wanted to do first, or was it requested by music supervisors for the show? How did covering this affect your sound?

MP: The OC people found us. They threw the offer out there at the same time I was first learning to appreciate Oasis  they truly do have some great songs. Our old drummer  Dan Crowell  is a bona fide Oasis fan. I would’ve hesitated more had it not been for him. On top of it all, the morning they called up for the song, we’d played a disastrous string of shows. It’s not bad to be wanted.

While I appreciate their aesthetic¦.whoa. Oasis just came on the radio. “Wonderwall.” Weird.

OS: matt pond PA is touring over the next few months. I saw several intimate venues on the schedule. Do you prefer a show like this where the setting is more “up close and personal” ?

MP: I can answer this in three sentences. Intimacy is what you make it. It’s possible to connect or misconnect anywhere. If an audience is behind us, we’re with them.

OS: Your songwriting style is very interesting, taking inspiration from what seems like a lot of sources. Who are the artists that you feel influence your songwriting the most? Are there any significance influences outside of music?

MP: Neil Young gets me going. I believe in him more than I believe in anything outside of myself. If I was a better student, I’m certain I could learn something valuable from him. I’m just too distracted.

I read. Reading keeps me sane. Finished City of Thieves by David Benioff last night. Best book in ages. Almost better than pickles… I really want a pickle.

This northern Illinois road leads to Milwaukee. And after that, Omaha.That’s really all I can think about.

OS: If you could share one bit of advice with aspiring songwriters and artists what would it be? Can you share some keys to your success?

MP: I don’t know if anyone should follow us. We exist in our own animal universe. Very curious poses.

Advice. There’s a balance between believing in yourself and being aware of the ridiculousness of everything. We spin our wheels all around the country to play an hour or so a day. It’s completely beautiful and totally pointless. Everything and nothing, constantly.

Catch matt pond PA at one of their upcoming tour dates and pick up the new album, The Dark Leaves here.