5 Quick Questions with Matt Wertz
Interview by Matthew Downes with Matt Wertz
We love finding new music and the luster for that search absolutely never ends. I’ve brought this up before, but the one thing that fascinates me about the music industry is the plethora of talent that’s out there that I’ve personally yet to discover. How the hell have I missed Matt Wertz? In a mad rush to get to know him better we got a few minutes to chat with him yesterday about inspiration, fears and social networking.
ktc loves love “Get To You“. The song touches on musical moments from A-Ha, and Bryan Adams, while the video touches on a bit of Napoleon Dynamite vs. Anchorman. Amazing treatment, where’d all that inspiration come from? What’s the back story on this tune?
MW: Dude! I’m so glad you dig the video! That was the brainchild of my director/friend Jeff Venable. He came to me with that idea and I was all at once excited/nervous. I’ve really tried to avoid ever having to come close to acting in my videos, so taking on the persona of 80’s dance instructor, while not too far from reality, definitely gave me a good scare! I love how the treatment lightens the tune up a bit!
The narrative arc of your career would make for a great book. We work with a lot of young artists at killing the cabinet and our non-profit organization The Project Matters. Tenacity is one word that comes to mind. How have you survived the highs and middles? Any advice for the next generation of artists from your experiences you care to share.
MW: I love how you say ‘middles’ instead of ‘lows’! That’s kinda like ‘every kid gets a trophy at the end of the season, even if they are on the losing team’! I have definitely had all three; highs, middles, and LOWS, and I’d say the only way I’ve been able navigate the lows is having people around me who remind me who I am. Who I am is so much more than just being a musician. If my life and happiness hinged on whether I was making music that was connecting with a ton of people or I was making a ton of money, I’d be a goner. There have been times in my career where it felt like I had more momentum or more ‘heat’, but trying to keep that from going away is a futile battle. When I focus on keeping the momentum; my focus leaves creating and making great art that connects with my own heart and shifts to trying to manipulate my music into providing this outcome of ‘maintaining the hype‘. I think the goal is to stay true to who you are and if people get on board in a big way that’s a bonus.
Your new album Heatwave [Handwritten Records] is in stores 8/27. Having released albums on some of the largest labels in the world to now releasing it under your own imprint, is it more work, more stress or all just the same?
MW: Putting a record out on my own label honestly feels more like home than working with a big label! I was independent for 7 years, releasing 3 LPs and 2 EPs during that time and LOVED it! You have to manage your expectations a bit, since my resources are limited as an indie, but I LOVE putting my creative energy into all aspects of my career; from videos, to album art, to marketing ideas, etc. When you’re with a label, you’ve got a whole office full of people who love doing that too, so there really isn’t as much room to spread out in areas besides writing the music. Some people on major labels don’t even have freedom there, which is sad.
The Matt Wertz “Heatwave” tour starts in September. What city do you most look forward to visiting? Does anything scare you about touring?
MW: Gosh, I love a good road trip, and that’s really how I look at touring. I only wish we had more time in the cities we visit. Cities like Boston, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco are always fun for one reason or another. As far as things that scare me on tour- HECK YEAH! Its scary wondering if people are going to SHOW UP! You just never know! That’s why being the support act is such a great gig! If no one shows up, it ain’t YOUR fault!
Matt is on the road this September and October.
We’re anxious about 9/12 to say the least.
You the reader should follow Matt on twitter (or instagram, or YouTube or Facebook). In a perfect world, do you like the responsibility of social networking, or do you wish to go back to the good old days? What’s your favorite site and why?
That’s a GREAT question. Funny, because I’ve gone back and forth with that a bunch. In the early days; EMAILING was social media! I loved it back then because I felt like my being connected to my fans was abnormal and was ‘above and beyond‘ what most artists did. With the introduction of Myspace, then Facebook, then Twitter, and now Instagram; the NORM and the REQUIREMENT is to be connected and my rebelliousness just pushes back and says ‘I’m not going to do what everyone else is doing!’ Ask me where that’s gotten me. NOWHERE! A friend of mine recently gave me a pep talk that helped to reframe the whole thing by saying ‘You have an attractive personality and you need to let people see who you are’. That’s so much easier to stomach than thinking I’ve got to constantly be selling myself or whatever. So I’ve just really tried to give people a window into my world. It requires an awareness of opportunities to do that, and that’s probably the hardest thing; just REMEMBERING to do it, but I’ve seen a huge benefit from staying connected. And my favorite at the moment is Instagram. It’s totally intoxicating. I need a break.
No breaks for you Matt, not with this schedule…oh and your album Heatwave is out on Tuesday.
Come on Mtv, show this video NOW. Get the single here. Keep your eye on his store for ways to get the album in cd, cassette (for real), vinyl or digital.
TAGS: Bill Davidson, Nettwerk(ers), Things that make you FEEL GREAT, Steve Moakler, Ben Rector, CLMUSE