“I’m a product of the 80’s and my musical taste was shaped largely by bands like The Pixies , REM , U2 , Echo and the Bunnymen and other underground bands of that time. It was the era of epic art-rock and smart pop. I ate it up. This record certainly nods to my influences without apology,” says Matthew Perryman Jones . And we “ate up” his new record, “Swallow the Sea.” On the verge of flawless, several songs off of this record have been featured on shows, such as “Grey’s Anatomy ,” “One Tree Hill, “The Hills ,” “Private Practice ,” among the many. This man has been at it a while, and his hit song, “Save You” (co-written with Neilson Hubbard ) just may have saved him. We had a chance to catch Matthew to answer some questions before jetting off to tour with Ingrid Michaelson, which starts this October. Check out their dates HERE . Also, be sure to catch the new music video to “Save You” at the bottom of this interview.
[The following Blue Indian Q & A with Matthew Perryman Jones was done by Luke Goddard.]
Blue Indian: Hi, thanks for chatting with Blue Indian.
Matthew Perryman Jones: My pleasure
BI: Let me begin by saying that you’re probably in the top 5 of my favorite singer/songwriters of all time. And that’s no joke.
MPJ: Wow. Thank you!
BI: What do people call you: Matthew, Matt, what?
MPJ: People I grew up with all call me Matt. Though when I was getting close to 20 I thought Matthew was a little more grown up sounding so I went with that. Then when I started performing I went with my whole name…it just keeps getting bigger and more annoying. My wife calls me babe.
BI: You’re a huge part of this Nashville Movement that’s taking place in the music world. What’s your thoughts on being a part of this growing group of musicians?
MPJ: I feel very privileged to be among such amazing artists. There is always great music happening in this town. Last night I saw Andrew Belle , Madi Diaz , The Silver Seas and Jeremy Lister all in the same night. I’m in a state of perpetual inspiration. The atmosphere in this town (outside of big industry circles) is very supportive. People here just care about good music happening. I love it. It’s like Sesame Street for artists.
BI: Have you ever sold an alarm system to a topless, old lady?
MPJ: Ummm…yes. You’ve done your research.
BI: So from what I know, you’re a married man with children. Is this a major factor that you have to consider when booking a tour?
MPJ: Definitely. As best as I can control it, I try not to be on the road for over a month. Though touring is a big part of sustaining a career, I try to keep it reasonable without losing momentum. I have a very strong and supportive wife who holds the fort down quite well while I’m gone. Though having a little girl who is getting to age where she knows I’m leaving and doesn’t want me to go is getting increasingly more difficult. Skype has become a good friend of the family.
BI: Your music has been featured on popular shows, such as “One Tree Hill,” “The Hills,” “Private Practice,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” among the many. Have you been surprised in the songs some of these shows have chosen to use?
MPJ: Well, I’m always thrilled when a show wants to use my music. I guess every time a song gets placed it’s a surprise. When shows have used a song it has always seemed appropriate. Those guys that work in that arena think a lot about what they’re doing. It’s very cool.
BI: Blue Indian is constantly searching for good music to write about. Who do you recommend?
BI: Based off of the depth of your lyrics, you seem to be a reader. What are 3 of the most influential books you’ve read to date?
MPJ: Hmm…can’t think of a top three. I usually have about 2 or 3 books going at the same time…I’m a bit ADD when it comes to reading (and most things for that matter). I read mostly non-fiction and poetry. I’m interested in thoughts and ideas and words. Favorite authors and poets would be Cornel West , Maya Angelou , Dylan Thomas to name a few off the top of my head. A great book I’ve read recently is “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield . It’s a good ol’ kick in the pants for artists.
BI: Upon writing “Save You,” you must have known immediately that it would be a fan favorite. When you play shows, does “Save You” usually get the biggest reaction?
MPJ: I wrote that song with my friend, Neilson Hubbard . It was one of those songs that just kind of happened. It took us less than an hour to write. I really liked the song. I knew it had a certain emotion in it. However, I didn’t think it was anything that special. It is literally the same 3 chords the whole song. I was not expecting the response it got. It’s definitely turned out to be one of the crowd favorites.
BI: If you could make a wish-list of 3 singer/songwriters or bands to tour with, who would it be?
BI: Who are some of your favorite singer/songwriters and bands you’ve had the privilege to share the stage with?
BI: You seem to really enjoy collaborating with other artists. If you could collaborate with any one particular individual, who would it be?
MPJ: Well, if you mean who I would collaborate with out of those with whom I already work, I would lean toward Katie Herzig . We’ve written a lot together and I really like what we come up with. We have even tossed around the idea of doing a duo side project together. Though we both are busy with our own things. Who knows?
BI: You recently shot the music video to “Save You.” What did you enjoy most about the process of making this video?
MPJ: Well, the hang was fun. I really enjoyed the creative process as we shot. The Director, Becky Fluke , was great about inviting everyone’s ideas and input. Jaimie Alexander , who plays the girl in the video, was a blast to work with. Overall, it was just a lot of fun.
BI: You’re releasing a new song on Brite Revolution. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
MPJ: Yeah, I release a new song every month. It’s a good idea to get new material to fans first. It’s been a challenge getting the material every month but it’s worked out. I think the time schedule actually helps pull the songs out. I’ll have new songs out through February next year. There is also a bunch of great artists on the site offering new material as well–Katie Herzig , Griffin House , Andy Davis , Tyler James , Ten Out of Tenn, Andrew Belle and many more. You subscribe for $4.99 a month and have access to over 50 new releases every month. Folks should definitely check it out.
BI: What can fans of MPJ expect from you in the near future (other than the song on Brite Revolution)?
MPJ: I will be releasing an EP of about 5 songs in the near future. Likely before the end of the year. Currently I’m writing for a new record that I will start recording after the beginning of the year. I’m pretty excited about the new songs that are coming out. Stay tuned. I’ll also be touring with Ingrid Michaelson all of October. You can find dates at my MySpace page.
BI: Hey man, thanks for taking the time to respond to these questions.
MPJ: No problem. Thanks for the support.