10 Quick Ones with MATTHEW CARROLL – February 2018

According to a recent press release: “MATTHEW CARROL, the Birmingham, AL singer and songwriter has released his debut album Left To Burn today.  The album is a mix of 90s influenced Alternative Rock and high-energy indie pop.  Carroll brought together some of the best talent in the south east to play on this record and put in the work to make an album he could be proud of.  A full year of writing and demoing songs to find the authentic voice for each song has led him to an album with no filler.  Every song has been carefully crafted, torn down, and reforged until Matthew was happy with them.  A painstaking process that started with over 200 original songs was narrowed down to the 12 tracks that are featured.” We get Matthew to answer to our 10 Quick Ones about new music, his influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only die-hard fans might find?

It’s an alt rock project with a strong focus on pop song writing and a noticeable influence from 90’s pop/rock.  I think there are entire tracks that resonate differently after a few listens.  I think one of the most important balancing acts an album can pull off is having a mix of tunes that are instantly gratifying the first time you hear them and having songs that might take a listen or two but once you get them, you love them with a deeper and more lasting kind of affection.  I tried to really give that some thought when selecting songs for this album.  There are instantly gratifying songs like, “Heart on Fire”, “She Just wants me for my Body”, and “Backup Man”, but songs like “Pilots and Sailors”, “Folding” and “love may take a few times to appreciate. One of my favorite hidden nuggets is in the song “She just wants me for my body”, theres a rhythm and guitar squeal that represent a sexual encounter that comes back a couple times, and I think once you hear it tells the story clearer than the lyrics do alone.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Like everybody, I think it was my friends in high school got me inot music.  I had been singing my whole life in church, but it wasn’t till I was introduced to rock music in high school that I really got “into” music.  And I pretty much immediately started writing and learning to play.  Participating in music has always been part of listening for me.  I’m that guy that never stops singing along.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Weezer, Ben Folds, The Avett Brothers, Ok Go, The Extraordinaires

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Ben Folds-He’s been writing great stuff for so long.  I really think I’d learn from him.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Alt rock with a pop sensibility with some pretty obvious 90’s influences.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Connecting with someone through the music.  When someone else hears a song that you’ve written and it resonates with them in a way that maybe even shines a light on their own situation that they didn’t have before.  It’s the job of the musician to navel gaze and explore the emotions that maybe we tend to leave unexplored in our day to day lives.  So when I find that space where through telling my own set of stories I can connect with someone who is going through something similar enough that it brings them joy just to be understood, That’s my favorite part.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a sing-along?

Man! I have been blessed enough to be working with these guys so long that I see a bit of that answer in all of the guys.  We’ve all been the caretaker, and we’ve all had so many drinks we needed caring for. Haha.  And we all love to play.  So I guess the cool thing about my band is we’ve been around each other long enough to have taken turns and been there when each of us needs the other.  And all those roles you mention are necessary.  You need the caretakers, you need the  someone pushing you to create and you we all need to throw a few back sometimes and not be in charge for a while.  And I trust everyone of my guys to know when they need to be what kind of friend.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Probably writing for TV or movies.  There’s nothing I get more juice out of than creating.  Seeing something come to exist that once only existed In my head is an incredibly special moment to me and writing seems like it could scratch the same itch without me having to learn a real trade like carpentry or something.  I’m just not very handy.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

I wish I knew more sooner.  There were times in the past when I was working with earlier bands of mine that we had music that I was really proud of but I had no idea how to do booking or manage a band.  Or honestly how to push hard for what I want.  These skills came from years of working as a cover musician and learning the ins and outs of putting on shows.  My confidence and drive are a lot more mature now.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Weezer’s Pinkerton – That album is perfect in my mind.  It pushes the boundaries of what Weezer did with the blue album but always in a way that serves the songwriting.  Rivers writes such strong, flawed characters on that album.  It’s vulnerable and beautiful and I aspire to ever create something that masterful.

MATTHEW CARROLL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

10 Quick Ones with MATTHEW CARROLL - February 2018

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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