I have been speaking with Matt Mays…
about his latest single, Station Out of Range, and his new album, Twice Upon a Hell of a Time… He reveals the inspirations behind the album and which artists he responds to; when music came into his life and the three albums that mean the most to him.
The Canadian artist looks ahead regarding plans for 2019 and reveals some rising musicians we need to follow; whether he gets time to chill away from music and if he is coming to the U.K. to play – he ends the interview by selecting a classic cut.
Hi, Matt. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m well, bud! It’s been a great week. Still on the sunny side of the grass!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hello. I’m Matt.
Can you tell me about the track, Station Out of Range. Is there a story behind that?
It’s a song about giving up trying to make things in a relationship. The words are about the bummer part of it and the music is about the relief in the freedom you get when life starts again.
Twice Upon a Hell of a Time… is your album. What themes inspired it and what is the tale behind the title?
It’s an album about the loss of love and, at the same time, was a grieving process to help deal with the loss of two very close friends. The title comes from the first electric version of this record called Once Upon a Hell of a Time…. I like the idea of ‘hell of a time’ maybe being a good time or a bad time.
How did music come into your life? What sort of sounds did you grow up around?
I was really lucky to be raised around a great record collection. Everything was very ‘great song’-based. Dylan etc...
Do you already have plans for 2019?
A lot more touring with a mellower acoustic set up. It’ll be nice to put the blazing electrics down for a bit. And always a ton of songwriting and recording.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Levon Helm once invited me to come and play at his house for a midnight ramble in Woodstock. He called me up on stage to rip a guitar solo. He stared me down hard the entire solo smiling and screaming at me the whole time to keep taking it higher. It was nuts. He invited us back to his kitchen table after we smoked 6 joints while he gave us advice and told us some killer stories.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
The answer to that question changes daily. Today’s picks are...
Zuma - Neil Young and Crazy Horse
It’s a perfect album because the human element is the backbone of the record. Like most of Neil’s albums.
Natty Dread - Bob Marley
I stumbled upon this album when I was in junior high school. Bought it because the cover looked cool. The journey it took me on is beyond words. Still takes me there today.
Songs from Northern Britain - Teenage Fanclub
Getting to hear that kind of guitar power behind such sensitive songs blew my mind to pieces.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Social Distortion and Lucky Charms.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
If you start thinking; play until you stop thinking THEN hit the record button.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Keep playing, make more music!
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Playing a little winter tour in the new year to support Twice Upon a Hell of a Time… and hopefully coming back over to the motherland to play soon!
Might you come to the U.K. and play soon?
No plans but hoping for more in 2019!
IN THIS PHOTO: Adam Baldwin/PHOTO CREDIT: Michelle Balderson
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Adam Baldwin. His songs make me cry and dance all at the same time.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Surfing is my first love. I grew up on the briny coast of Nova Scotia so there were lots of waves to ride. It’s taken me around the world to lots of beautiful places over the years.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
It Keeps Me Up by Museum Pieces
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