Optimism, Broken Glasses and School Days: An Interview with Matt Pond PA

If Matt Pond were in your social circle, he’d be that one friend who reassures you that he’s “doing fine” so often that you actually start to worry more than if he’d said nothing in the first place. As a critical darling and fan favorite during his early career, Matt Pond’s band originally from Pennsylvania, aptly called Matt Pond PA started to hit some rough patches, ranging from band restructuring to online vitriol, several albums in.

As Matt tells us in an interview this week, he’s taken this all in stride. “In the new computer world, there’s an ample amount of reaction to everything we all do… Good or bad, I’m not worried about what people think anymore.” As fans from the beginning, we’re pulling for Matt and still appreciate his ability to evoke that certain mood of sadness mixed with optimism like few others.

Continue on to read our full interview and head to Neumos tomorrow to take in the live experience for yourself. Local favorite Rocky Votolato will headline.

Your early records in particular almost served as odes to the beauty and wonder of nature intermixed with cleverly worded statements about human relationships. How has moving to the city affected how you find inspiration for your songs?

I moved to the city 6 or so years ago, moved to Hudson last year and put everything into storage before this tour. I have no idea where I’m going when I get home.

It’s good for me to shift perspectives, to see to physical world in different ways. The gypsy juxtaposition works.

True inspiration comes from inside, in each of all of our own worlds. I sometimes feel like I might be a little overpopulated.

How has the balance of subject matter shifted over the years?

Oddly, I’ve become more optimistic.

Songs, shows, band members, albums. It’s not all made of magic. And yet, I don’t want anything else. I’m wicked happy with what I’ve got.

How does your latest EP continue themes from your previous albums and in which ways does it explore different territory?

The latest EP is about letting go of the past. And perhaps a degree of partying in getting it done. Partying can mean nothing more than one lonely fist in the air. Letting loose, however you do it, is a big mantra of mine.

Sometimes people get confused about what I’m talking about. Sometimes I’m even not sure exactly what I’m trying to convey.

Because my/your/our world is so constantly and quickly changing, meanings tend to multiply and divide. Like crazy.

A lot of your music seems almost perfect for this time of the year, especially in cloudy Seattle. What role does geography and climate play in the moods you try to create in your songs?

Autumn is the heaviest season for me. I feel the relief of summer and still, the weight of phantom school.

Tangent. School shouldn’t be as bad as it is. With the belligerent devaluing of education, it shouldn’t be as bad as it’s going to become.

In the height of my teen isolation, I would go home after class just to watch the gold color of New Hampshire light fade into black. Self-indulgent and d-grade poetry, for sure. Yet, it was the first time I traveled beyond my own mind.

How did you first meet up with Rocky and how’s the current tour going so far?

I met Rocky years ago. We were doing a few shows together. I was too shy to say anything more than a mumble.

Last spring we did something akin to a solo tour. I had the best time I’ve ever had traveling in a van and softly rocking. Rocky and I wrote songs together, argued about religion and consciousness and everything. He’s stuck being my friend for life.

The current run is great. Although it hasn’t been easy with these broken bones. But I’ve never seen a group of people work harder to make something come together. Rocky, April, Chris Hansen, Heather McIntosh, John Courage and Dan Ford. They are the balls.

What should people expect from your show at Neumos on October 15th?

I broke my leg at the beginning of this tour. I didn’t want to quit. At the same time, I didn’t want to put on on a hobbled live show.

Personally, I think I’m playing better and harder than I have in my entire life.

Sure, I’m sitting on a spray-painted gold shower seat. And sure, it’s not always awesome, tripping and scuffling my way across the states. But I feel good, I feel strong. If it’s all internal, I think I really like a good fight.

Anything in particular you’re looking to do with your time in Seattle?

I’m going to buy glasses. What I have now are some scratched up bits of semi-translucent plastic with worn black frames. They treat my nose as if it were a slide and only allow me to see what they want me to see.

Any Seattle musicians or bands that you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?

Telekinesis. Love them. And Rocky Votolato. Have you heard of him? He’s the balls.

What’s next for you and the band?

Since I have the leg thing, I’ve been plotting and writing an album I can properly move to. Someday, I will once again be nailing a dance step or two to the floor.

10/15 Rocky Votolato / Matt Pond PA / Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground @ Neumos :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $14 :: All Ages

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