A little while back, I sollicited questions from fans, via this blog, twitter, facebook, etc. (Yes, yes, it’s taken me forever to finally get this up, apologies… But better late than, never, right?) I appreciate the response and the excellent questions that people sent in. I took these questions and grouped them into broader themes that will be presented in 3 parts. Today, I’m posting Matt’s answers to some great questions about song writing. Check in again next week for Matt’s answers to questions about performing and his musical interests. I want to thank Matt for taking the time to answer these questions so thoughtfully.
Do you think of ideas for songs all of the time or only if you’re “writing”? How do you know if a song is done?
Submitted by Amy
Actually, I probably come up with more ideas while I’m not “writing” but just doing regular stuff. I tend to come up with ideas for songs while I’m doing things like driving and mowing the yard. I used to work in a cabinet shop, and I would sometimes write whole songs in my head while sanding cabinet doors… As far as knowing when a song is finished, it will usually let you know.
What’s your favorite song among your own songs?
Submitted by Schibbie
Well, my favorites among my own songs fall into three categories, favorite songs to play live, favorite recordings, and favorite songs lyrically. My favorite songs to play are Out of the Dark, Pick Me Up, A to B, and State Lines. My favorite recordings are O Sunrise, A to B, and You In the End. Lyrically, my favorite songs are Tangled Web, Turn the Page, and Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song. My all time favorite one was a song called “October” that I wrote about four years ago. I could never get it to work out musically, though. I guess it was just more of a poem than a song.
Do you think of your songs more as story-songs or mood-songs?
Submitted by Rereader
It depends on the song, but I would say most of them are somewhere in between. There’s usually a story in them, but not like a Johnny Cash song, and the lyrics often are used to set a mood, but not like they would be in a lot of Wilco or Beck songs.
You have said that “I Always Lose When I Gamble On You” was inspired by a game of Scrabble. Would you be willing to share that story?
Submitted by Liz
While we were on tour together, I was playing Tyrone Wells in a game of “Words With Friends”, which is basically Scrabble on the iPhone. I kept trying to strategically set myself up for some high scoring words, but Tyrone would always have that one letter that I was hoping he wouldn’t have and beat me to the punch. I texted, “I always lose when I gamble on you.” to him. And it sounded like a good song title to me. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever written a song based on what the title is.
When will we get another new song? Any hints about what you’re currently working on?
Submitted by zip2zap
Well, I’m taking the next month or so off to work on writing some songs for the next record, which I will probably start recording early next year. I’ll have another release before that, but you’ll just have to wait and see.
Watch for parts 2 and 3 in the next few weeks.