Matthew Koma Talks "Parachute EP", Movies, and More
Wed, 13 Jun 2012 09:54:43
On the Parachute EP, Matthew Koma really takes flight.
His formal debut is a collection of four songs so intoxicatingly irresistible you might just feel like you're floating on first listen. Zeroing in closer, Koma's lyrics grapple faith and love via his own poignant perspective. It's catchy and thought provoking pop with the right amount of alternative savvy thrown into the mix; it's also the start of something very big for Koma who has the potential to rise to the top—fast.
While in the midst of a tour with Cherrytree Records labelmates LMFAO and Far East Movement, Matthew Koma spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino about the EP, songwriting, and so much more.
Did you approach the EP with one vision from start to finish?
The four tracks on the EP are part of a twelve-song full-length, and it definitely was a continued train of thought both lyrically and production-wise. There absolutely was a vision. Musically, I was trying incorporate my background from playing in a lot of rock bands and listening to Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and bands that had rad, jangling guitars. That's one side of music I really love, and then there's the beat-driven side of things. I really love dirty beats and stuff that sounds lo-fi in a cool, retro way. I'm trying to incorporate that in a lot of the production of the record. Lyrically, I feel like a lot of the songs are stories dealing with faith be it struggling with faith, discovering it, or questioning it. It felt like they were told through different characters and stories on the record. Those first songs are part of that.
Does this catalog a personal journey?
While writing the record, I was going through one of those periods of trying to figure things out. A lot of the album was completed before I had done my deal with the label. It was a strange transition period. I was so hungry for something and trying to figure out exactly what that was. It comes through a lot of the songs and the lyrics. I may be told through different characters and stories, but I think it's a common theme.
Do you approach the songs visually?
I don't know if it's necessarily a conscious thing. I always try to talk about things from an angle that's a sincere place. That's the way I really see it. As long I'm sticking to honesty and speaking from a truth I can stand behind, the rest comes together.
Where did "Parachute" come from?
It's pretty crazy. "Parachute" became the blueprint for the rest of the record. We felt something special, and we knew we could build a foundation on it. It was important in the process of making the album. It's probably the best example of the faith theme. You're taking a walk or jumping somewhere without necessarily knowing where you're going to land or how you're going to land. However, you still have to do it. For me, I'm speaking from a place of my career. I don't know how things are going to turn out, but I know this is what feels right for me. Sometimes, you have to explore new territory and push out of your comfort zone to get to greatness or a place that is the most honest or sincere. Sometimes, it's past the point of being able to recognize what's yours until you discover it. "Parachute" felt true to that sentiment.
Was there a certain significance to "1998"?
That's a song where I felt like I was able to disconnect from myself and talk more about something through the eyes of characters. I experienced that sentiment of thinking, "What would've happened if I went down that road but I didn't? What if things were completely different?" In that particular case, it's about a destructive relationship. If you never got out of it, what would it have been like? Where would it have wound up? There are so many things about it, which are extremely exciting and daring, but maybe it isn't the healthiest thing or what you needed to hold on to. You're looking back and wondering how things could've turned out if you stayed on the path you were on. The relationship is toxic. You're indulging in a fantasy of sorts of what that would've been like.
What artists shaped you?
I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. He and Elvis Costello have always been huge influences as far as songwriting and the craft. Melodically, I've always been into bands like Squeeze. As far as more contemporary artists go, I tend to lean more towards alt-country. I've been obsessed with this band called First Aid Kit out of Stockholm. I think they're great. Springsteen and Costello are the ones I keep coming back to. I find new things about them I love.
Where do you cull inspiration from outside of music?
For the past year or two, I've been in this constant work mode of writing and writing. The well hasn't dried up, but it feels like I'm pulling from a lot of past experiences. I've always traveled since I was young. Meeting different people and hearing stories has always stuck with me as far as inspiration goes. I sit down, and whatever hits me is what comes out. It's never really pre-conceived thing. Every day is a new thought or journey.
If you were to compare the Parachute EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a tough one! Hopefully not Speed 2 [Laughs]. That would be the closest I could get to a comparison. It's a really good question. I have to think about that one.
What are some of your favorites?
Dude, I have the worst favorite movies ever. They're the best to me, but every time I mention them to people I get crazy looks. The movie I used to fall asleep to at night was That Thing You Do! It's such a good movie! Damn, I love that movie.
Have you heard Matthew Koma yet?