Sound Off: Interview with MATT PLESS

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New Single: “Ashtray”

The greatest challenge to date your band has met and conquered was?

Learning how to maintain an enigmatic rock star persona in the age of social media where people seem more interested in your favorite tofu dish and who you slept with last weekend than using their imagination to fill in the blanks of what amounts to a hundred mile an hour restless existence merry-go-round of fleeting encounters, a symphony of heartbreak and a handful of moments of creative transcendence in between finding witty and engaging answers to generic interview questions.

Prior to an evening’s performance do the band members have a ritual or exercise or something unique they do before hitting the stage?

I really wish I could give you something really over the top, like how I stand naked in the center of a pentagram and drink the blood of Hank Williams, but I just don’t have the time for all that. Usually, I just pick up my guitar and wing it. That’s usually when the magic happens.

The biggest thrill when playing on stage is?

When I look out in the crowd and see that my lyrics are connecting with someone. Whenever a person is singing along or smiling at me while grooving to the rhythm. That’s where it’s at for me. Makes the whole thing start to make a little more sense. On the other hand, I would have to say that it’s always exciting to be challenged with an empty show where only 5 people or so show up. I get a real kick out of finding at least one person in the audience and spontaneously discovering how to perform my set in a way that leaves them feeling like they have just witnessed something amazing they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Does the band have an opening song by another band they like to have played just prior to going on stage? If so, what song is it?

No, I don’t have any desire to listen to anybody else’s music to get me in the mood to perform. I am always in that headspace. I’ve been performing my entire life. Haven’t we all?

What is the bands favorite fast food eatery when on the road?

For the most part, I try and avoid fast food on tour, but if I had to pick my preferred way of killing myself, I would have to go with Whataburger.     In ‘n Out Burger, or Del Taco.

When you want to buy music how do each of you buy it? Download, CD, Vinyl or ?

I listen to Spotify mostly while traveling in a car. If it came down to physical purchases, I would have to go with vinyl records. I like the whole experience and process of placing the disc on a turntable, listening to the cracks and pops as the needle spins along the grooves and sitting back checking out the album art while I take in the music. I prefer the album over the single. A full-length album seems more powerful to me. Like a canvas as opposed to a notepad. Not to mention, everybody has at least one great song in them, if they choose to seek it out and be open to receiving it. It’s when someone has enough quality music to fill a half hour collection, that’s when I am most prone to really dig into someone’s work.

When performing in a several band line-up do you have a particular place in the line-up of 1,2,3, last that you as a band like to perform?

I would always rather play somewhere in the middle when touring the DIY circuit.

Lots of promoters make the mistake of putting the touring artist on last. If you are a touring band or artists, just because you are from out of state doesn’t mean your music is well known enough to fill up a venue. You want to be sure local folks will stick around to see the out-of-towner perform. Best way to do that, I’ve learned, is to have the touring artist play before a local headliner. That way the audience will be more inclined to stay for the entire show. Theoretically, they won’t want to miss their friend’s local band and will then inadvertently end up seeing the touring artist and hopefully dig their music and come out again next time they see you come through until you can fill an out of town venue as a headliner all by yourself.

If you each could say a few positive words about each other in the band- -what words would you say?

Matt Pless? He’s a lovely bunch of guys.

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