Like the way the warm aroma of burning oak can spark memories reminiscent of cold winter months, certain songs bookmark the beauty and mundane nature of our everyday lives. Be it your first cross country road trip with friends, or the certainty of heartache that inevitably finds its way into our existence, songs have a way of getting us through the sweetest, and hardest times, in our lives. This proves true more often than not years later, when a flash flood of memories is stirred by the grace of shuffle on your seemingly sentient iPod.
Matt Pond has written songs that would be perfect selections for your life’s soundtrack since the late 90′s. With the completion of their latest EP Spring Fools, a fall tour is in full swing, and St. Louis has been fortunate enough to earn a stop. This Monday October 24, 2011, Matt Pond PA will be at Cicero’s in the Loop. We had a chance to speak with him about music, movies, this tour, and the joys of getting lost.
Welcome back! Have you had the chance to explore Saint Louis when you’ve come through on past tours?
Unfortunately, so far we’ve only had time to visit the insides of club and the closets of hotel rooms. This upcoming trip will be different. We have a day off and would love some down home suggestions.
When you’re playing a show, your energy is no doubt affected by what songs you choose to play. On this particular tour you allowed your fans to choose your set list. How do you feel that has affected your performance?
No matter what, we have to stack the songs in a way that works. Or in a way that at least I believe works. My beliefs may not match up with the rest of the world. But I try my best to eliminate as much awkward as I can for all of us. With this broken leg, I have to put more thought and more of myself into all of this. I’d like to believe it’s working.
You moved to Brooklyn around 2003. How do you feel it influenced your music, and what changes have you noticed about city then v.s. now?
There’s an energy to New York unlike anything else. There’s also a loneliness. In a strange way, moving to Brooklyn brought back all the new-ness, excitement and apprehension I experienced as a kid. It’s a huge forest of a city. It’s learned to calm down of late. And so have I.
You’ve recently spent some time in Texas recording new material, and also performing with The Wooden Birds. How does the atmosphere of Austin differ from that of New York?
Austin’s slower. Everything takes more time. But you learn to enjoy that time in between the notes.
You’ve had a unique opportunity to collaborate with a variety of different musicians throughout your career. What impact does this continued collaborative spirit have on the way you approach songwriting?
Basically, it makes me a better player. Beyond that, it takes me out of my spiraling thoughts. I try to think like the person playing guitar next to me… writing songs in someone else’s voice is nearly out-of-body.
Being a huge film fan, I’m curious about your experience composing the score for Lebanon, PA. What evolution did you notice in your songwriting process following that experience? Was there a particular score you used as a point of reference?
I love taking a step back and playing into someone else’s vision. It’s almost easier than writing my own music. Chris Hansen and I did it together, and we learned how to talk less in order to get to the heart of song. I hope we take it into our next album. We used Shampoo as the guidepost. Paul Simon killed it on that there film.
What are some of your favorite film scores, and would you like to continue scoring films?
I love the score to Ravenous by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman. Badlands has a great score (One of my favorites! Ed.), Suspiria, Chinatown, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly… Too many to think of. Ravenous… It’s one of those Donner Party/vampire movies that most people choose to avoid, but I’m crazy for it
And of course. For the right film, we’d most definitely be down.
A lot of your album and song titles, etc. share a common theme of seasons or nature. Is there a reason that you gravitate towards this theme?
I grew up in New Hampshire, so most of my younger years were spent running through the woods. I can’t shake it out of myself, and I don’t think I’d ever want to. The good type of loneliness I spoke about earlier. That was one them.
Last question: what have you been listening to? Do you have any specific recommendations for our readers?
Villagers, Cut off Your Hands, and Beach Fossils all have had albums out in the past year or two, and I cannot stop putting them to my ears.
See Matt Pond PA live in person tonight at Cicero’s @ 8 p.m. Tickets available at the door!