1) Do you write all of your own music and if so, how do you find the creative process?
First and foremost, I want to thank you for the opportunity to have this interview with me. I also want to say hello to all the readers and supporters of A Glass Of Ice! To answer your question, I do write my own music in terms of lyrics. As far as the instrumentation aspect of my music, I work with different beatmakers on a project to project or song to song basis. To be frank, the beatmaker (aka "producer") will send me a finished beat (aka "instrumental"), if there are any tweaks I want to be made--arrangement, adding or subtracting certain layers of instruments--that gets done but if I like how it sounds at that point, I take over from there. From there I write the lyrics, record and finally engineer the song and prepare it for online release. This might sound weird, but I find the creative process more fulfilling than the finished final song itself. I am a student of my craft and I find the science behind crafting a record to be extraordinarily fascinating. I was always a studio geek, spending long periods, hours at at time in the studio where I essentially developed my skills purely through trial and error. The process of creating triggers my "flow". It's like when a world-class athlete gets into the "zone". It's one of the best feelings on Earth.
2) Was there a defining moment that saw you decide to start making music?
In the beginning, I was 12 or 13 and my energy was all over the place. I got into writing raps quite frankly out of boredom and my friends at school would get a kick out of it. After a few months of writing I bought a cheap $5 microphone from RadioShack I could use to record on my computer. Mind you, this is around 2004. Every month, every year that went by I approached it with more seriousness. I wrote everyday, in class, at home, about anything and everything. I got better equipment and had a little studio in my room. It got to the point where my parents wouldn't let me make music because my grades started to suffer a little bit. Even though it was all fun and games at first, as I got older, I became fascinated with the science behind music. Song structure, the different ways to use wordplay and tell a story, the nuances of different recording techniques and engineering techniques, the way you can manipulate all of these different ideas going every direction to come together and form a song. I became obsessed with studying and learning every little detail. Up and until now, as I mature and get older, I find the challenge of implementing my life experiences and the lessons that I have learned from those experiences to be absolutely fascinating when translated into lyrics and music form. I guess in hindsight that was the defining moment for me. But at the time, it was more of just channeling my untamed energy and becoming lazer-focused on one thing, which was making music.
3) What is your earliest music-related memory?
I can't really pinpoint one memory that sticks out. I have this sort of collage of separate individual memories throughout my early childhood that are extremely vague to me. When I was a child, growing up I was exposed to a lot of different kinds of music. From pop, hip-hop, jazz, funk, soul, disco, classic rock, punk rock, reggae, blues, alternative rock, etc. I was never really into one specific genre, but what intrigued me from an early age was when I would go to family parties and barbecues and at a certain point, a certain song would come on and everybody would just start dancing. I always was intrigued by how one song can trigger the reaction of a lot of people in a negative or positive way. I was curious as to why and how that happens.
4) Who/what would you say influences your music the most?
In terms of what inspires me musically today would have to be history. English and History were my favorite subjects in high-school. I love reading biographies and stories about all the famous philosophers, inventors, warriors, leaders, kings, athletes, musicians, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, all of that. Also reading about certain civilizations from the past and reading about why these people and those cultures were so successful really intrigues me. I truly believe no matter what field or industry you are in, whether you are Albert Einstein, Da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Beethoven, all of them were different but they all had one common thread which was their individual quality of seeing their failures as steps towards reaching their ultimate goals rather than reasons to quit, and that's what inspires me to continue my work. I'm not comparing myself to any of those people, what I'm trying to say is that a human being can achieve the impossible when the attitude is right.
5) How would you describe your sound? Do you create your music with a particular audience in mind?
I guess from a general scope of my music, my style would fall under the Hip-Hop/Rap and R&B/Soul umbrella. I don't really like putting a "label" on my music in terms of style or anything because in reality, my music is for anyone to enjoy and appreciate. Not everybody will and I understand that, but music is a personal thing. I'm personal by opening myself up to the listener, telling him/her about my personal conflicts, mistakes and weaknesses but also showing him/her that acknowledging and accepting your imperfection by embracing and loving yourself is perfection. Music is personal, it's engaging and it's a 2-way street. By making music, I have the opportunity to engage and start the conversation, but it's up to each individual how they respond back. I truly believe a person must love his/herself before they can truly love another. Connectivity through music is extraordinary. You take it in physically through your ears but to digest the music is a spiritual thing.
In terms of musical character and persona, I would describe my musical persona as "James Bond meets Dirty Harry meets Bodhi from Point Break". Not to sound egotistical, but that's just the way I describe it. My music gets witty at times, vulnerable at times, suave at times and all-out crazy at times. The qualities in my songs are all extensions of my personality.
6) What has been the most exciting moment on your journey so far - are you working on anything right now?
I wouldn't say I have a moment where it's considered my most 'exciting'. But what I can say is that there have been certain moments where I would feel my progression as an artist and as a songwriter. It's kind of like that moment where the light bulb just goes off in your imagination, like you feel you have done something right or discovered another answer. Sometimes when I would listen to my songs from many months and years before, I get a sense of perspective and clarity because I can identify the artistic progression and growth.
I've had quite a few of those moments while working on my first "official" debut project called the "Connery EP" that will be coming July 22 and will be released online through my website. It will be available for online streaming as well as the opportunity to get the project along with bonus items such as the EP commentary, short story PDF booklet, and bonus songs by signing up on my email list. 2 songs from the EP are currently out now on my website so you can listen there as well as check out the music videos.
7) Do you have an 'end goal' in mind for your career?
I think the 'end goal' for my career as a songwriter and recording artist would be able to successfully transition out of making music into another venture that can help benefit society on a bigger scale. What that venture will be? I don't know at this very moment in time but what I know is that when the moment does come I will have a direction. Obviously that will be way down the line, but even just to get to that position and have a long successful career in music would be considered an 'end goal'. The challenge of attaining longevity comes down to balancing authenticity and relevancy. Making amazing music for your fans is a factor, obviously. But I can say without a doubt, I am looking forward to the challenge.
8) Finally, what are your interests outside of music?
Like I mentioned earlier, I love reading up on history. Basketball is the only sport I truly love. Growing up in Los Angeles and playing basketball growing up, I'm a die-hard Lakers fan and Kobe Bryant is one of my inspirations. I love Italian food and plan to live in Europe one day. I love retro American muscle cars and science fiction movies. I would love to dabble into voice acting for films one day. Hopefully my music career can open doors to explore those outlets.
I get serious 'summer vibes' from Matthew's smooth sound and voice and consequently this weekend has seen me play 'Forget' on repeat; it's absolutely the kind of catchy track that has me wanting everyone to know about it. I once read that success is a combination of 'hard work and optimism' and if this is true (which I wholeheartedly believe), this recording artist has one hell of a bright future ahead of him. If you'd like to follow his journey, Matthew has an impressive website where you can get an idea of his music's identity, as well as become hyperaware of how 'uncool' you are in comparison - too honest?
Note: This post has been sponsored, however all opinions are entirely my own.