It’s time, once again, to put the Pop in SportsCracklePop. Today, we speak to singer/songwriter Matt Sucich, whose new album is out this week. He’s also got a show coming up March 26th, at Joe’s Pub in the Village (maybe it’s NoHo?) Tickets are ten bucks and YOU GET A FREE CD!
We discuss musical styles and influences, I steal a great idea from the AV Club and then he crushes my dreams of a personal theme song (every good hero should have one.)
SCP: For someone who is unfamiliar with your music, describe it. Compare it to some other artists.
MS: I like to describe my music as “reverb-a-folk” (TM pending) because it’s acoustic rooted, but Im also passionate about reverb & tremolo drenched electric guitar. You’ll hear a lot of that pairing on the record for sure.
I always have a hard time describing it to others, and I rarely hear one of my songs and say “that sounds like so & so” but the two I get the most are Ray Lamontagne & David Gray. I’ve yet to be insulted by a comparison.
SCP: At what point did you realize you weren’t just a dude with a guitar? In other words, when did you realize that your actually really good at this stuff?
MS: I love this question because I was a dude with a guitar for a long time. Longer than I might have liked. But the fact is I needed the life experience to write the songs I wanted to write, and I needed the stage experience to weed out what worked and didn’t. That’s not to say I’m done learning, I think it’s safe to say the minute you get too comfortable on stage it’s time to change things up a bit. I started playing guitar as a freshman in college when my closest friend bought one and our natural competition got the best of me. Classic “lets start a band” story, except it quickly became relevant that I was the only one that wanted to take it seriously. There were a lot of years in between my blues playing/singing before I learned the power of songwriting, and i quickly gave up the heavy blues riffs to focus on writing.
Short answer: I’ve only been 100% behind my material since about October 2010…and I’m happy to say that now. I just wish someone would have told me 4 years ago that I’d be at this place mentally now.
SCP: Your singing voice is pretty distinctive. Where did that come from? Did you try other styles of singing before you found this one?
MS: I mentioned this briefly in the previous answer, but I thought for sure I’d be a “blues man” when I was 18. Long before I paid attention to lyrics, I didn’t give a song the time of day if it didn’t have a guitar solo. And so at that time I was ONLY listening to Jonny Lang & Eric Clapton, and anything that falls under that umbrella of music. As it happens, and as I’ve heard in a million interviews, you find your voice eventually. I think the key is to one day realize that you’re not going to sound like the people who influence you no matter how hard you try. I learned this lesson over some years of recording at home, and realizing after about 96 takes for a single song, the damn vocal is not going to sound any less like you no matter how hard you try. So you sort of realize your “sound” and the minute you own it, the sky’s the limit.
SCP: Are you always influenced by your favorite artists? Is it possible to be a huge fan of a musician but find nothing in his or her music that you think you’d like to try? And who are your favorite artists and biggest influences?
MS: ALWAYS influenced. I get a lot of writing done on the subway just listening to other people’s music, but that’s a great question about being a fan and not hearing something I’d like to try. As hard as I think about it, the answer looks like a no. Even the stuff I love that is farthest from my style, is something I’d eventually like to accomplish. For example, I’m a huge fan of Buena Vista Social Club and I would LOVE to be able to play that cuban style…in the same breath, I’m a huge appreciator of pop & hip-hop production and I would love to build beats, and I plan on it, soon.
As far as my favorite artists & biggest influences, it’s a long list but my #1 modern artist influence would have to be M. Ward. I’m a huge fan of his writing, his guitar playing and his production and I hope that influence shines on my record. Ive also watched him grow as an artist, as I was learning. So I just feel like it’s been a fun ride, and now it’s my turn to show what I’ve got.
SCP: Where’s your favorite place to play? Anywhere you’d like to perform (venue or city) but haven’t had the chance yet?
MS: My favorite place to play is Caffe Vivaldi in the West Village, NYC. I go to their open mic every Monday, and the vibe is just unbeatable. Amazing people, great talent and just wonderful support. Also, Rockwood Music Hall is a great room in NYC, and I’m sure after my debut at JOES PUB on March 26th, I’ll add them to my list of favorites. (shameless plug, we’re celebrating the record at JOES PUB on March 26th – 11pm with a band. we’ll run through the album, some new stuff and some covers. $10 gets you in and a free CD)
When it comes to places i’d like to perform, everywhere.
SCP: Grab your Ipod and hit shuffle. Tell us the first three songs that come up and, briefly, tell us what you think when you hear them.
MS: THIS IS NOT FIXED, I swear to you these are the first 3 songs that play on shuffle out of 3,686…
1. One Mint Julep – Ray Charles
Makes me think of spring first and foremost, and also how when i was first playing out musically I’d want to walk on stage to this song.
2. See Me Now – Kanye West
This is the bonus track from his latest record, and you (I) can say what you (I) want about the person, but he’s a master. Beyonce kills on it too. Listening to him makes me want to be a hip-hop producer.
3. To Be Young – Ryan Adams
Easily in my top 5 favorite Ryan Adams songs. This song makes me think of when i first starting listening to song writers, he was at the top of my list…and i can rarely listen to it without the “Argument with David Rawlings…” track that precedes it.
SCP: Can you write us a SportsCracklePop theme song?
(ed. note: Matt is joking. Of course he can write us a theme song. I’m sure he’s working on it as we speak.)