Q&A with Matt Pond PA

Formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1998 by singer/songwriter Matt Pond, Matt Pond PA (commonly typeset as matt pond PA, or mppa for short), in 2003, moved to New York. His music has been featured on shows, such as the OC, and others. As his band has sort of evolved over the years, Matt Pond PA continues to wow his fans with new releases every year or so. In fact, since 1998, Matt Pond PA has released 17 CD’s (LP’s, EP’s, etc). Take advantage of his FREE EP, conveniently called “the freeep” by downloading it HERE.In the middle of working on his new release in the studio, Matt Pond took a break to answer some questions.

[The following Blue Indian Q & A was done by Alec Stanley.]

Blue Indian: Hey Matt, thanks for chatting with Blue Indian. The music scene in NYC must be a busy one. Is it hard to get a solid fanbase in such a big city?
Matt Pond PA: I don’t know. I spend most of my time in dark cabins and remote houses. New York is a eye of the hurricane, from which I’m alternately sucked into and flung.
BI: Where are you RIGHT NOW as you answer this question?
MPPA: I’m staring down a pair of NS-10’s in Austin, Texas. Beating myself up and down with mixes.
BI: I’ve always wondered if it would be hard to be in a three-piece band. What are some of the pros and cons of this?
MPPA: We aren’t actually a three-piece. Daniel Crowell, Chris Hansen and I are merely the three contributing members for the upcoming album. To tour, we’ll need plenty more people. I like a nice rowdy crowd to get lost in on stage.
BI: Do you write your lyrics first or the music first?
MPPA: Music comes first in my country. Then lyrics. Somehow songs tell me what I’m supposed to be talking about. Frequencies dictate the subject matter… This is one step away from hearing voices. Pardon.
BI: Being a drummer for a band, I often wonder how much your drummer has input into the song. Does he help with the songwriting process?
Each song is an individual. Every one comes to life in different ways. I’ll take all the input I can get. Sometimes I know know nothing. Sometimes I know everything… which is an absolute lie.  All words are equal in our band.
Are the songs basically ones you’ve written by yourself, or are they collaborations with all three musicians?
MPPA: If we are talking about the core of the apple — I write the songs. Although, Chris and I have been collaborating more and more. He’s even written a bunch of the instrumentals on his own. They truly kick ass. And I get to think outside of my own mind, play a bit and add my two cents. Kind of like a miniature vacation. If I were to give my best meandering answer, I guess each person is the president of their own piece. And yet each citizen has a loud voice.
BI: What is your favorite food for touring? Mine would have to be Ramen.
MPPA: My tongue swells into a mouth balloon from MSG. I had to give up Ramen years ago. Sounds sad and pathetic, but a salad and some soy do the trick for me on tour. I like to keep it light and healthy when I’m cooped and cramped all day.
BI: Would you rather tour, or play a few hometown shows every so often?
MPPA: Tour. I love the way things come together and fall apart by the end of a tour. It’s life and death wrapped up in a few gamy months. Tours find truths through small patches of mold in cheap hotel room showers.
BI: Where is your biggest fanbase?
MPPA: I have a hard time paying attention to fanbases. I like people and I am terrible at math. I can only think of them one at time.
BI: What advice would you give to a band just starting out? To get their name out there.
There’s no one way. The overall
advice would be patience… If someone had just told me to be patient and do what I believe in… I probably would’ve thought that they were an annoying hippie. Sometimes. Sometimes even hippies know what they’re talking about.

BI: Who has been the biggest influence for you musically? And who has motivated you the most as an artist?
I love Neil Young. No one sounds like him. No one will ever sound like him. And he keeps on cranking out music with total humility. Humility is another word I’d add to the advice column. This usually happens organically through the oft-humiliating process of playing shows.
BI: You’re currently working on a new record. Can you comment on what this process has been like?
MPPA: Albums are always grueling. At least for me. I love songs and hate them at the same time. It is best not to hate one’s own songs when working on them this long. That is my final chunklet of advice. Someday, I’ll be a puppeteer or a benevolent dairy farmer or wild cat groomer.
BI: Anything your fans can look forward to from you in the near future besides the new record?
We’re putting out three, three-song singles this fall — called The Threeep. We’ve just finished up a soundtrack to a movie, comes out next year. I’m going on tour as a member of the Wooden Birds in the fall. Then we go on a west coast tour right after. And our album comes out in February… Followed by endless touring. Hopefully. After that, I’m counting on other ideas to weigh on my simple mind. I can’t wait to have a new idea.
Matt, it’s been a pleasure.

Check out Matt Pond PA.
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– Alec Stanley