From time to time, we get the awesome opportunity to sit and chat with some amazing musicians and hear their stories. Last week I talked to Matt Shultz frontman for indie outfit Cage The Elephant, who will be here in Denver on September 17 opening for MUSE. Check out what he had to say.
Ultra5280: You have a new album on the horizon, how did the name Melophobia come about? The definition translates to "fear of music".
Matt: It's always been there, you know there is a certain external pressure that happens to cater towards cool or to try to craft a sound that is build around one's perspective of what society's perspective might be or what is artistic or what is considered intellectual art or whatever. And so, there is this insurmountable pressure that starts to come out, I think fear is like the enemy winning when it comes to any creative works, fear and pride. It's more or less the fear of music becoming something it didn't turn out to be. There is always that battle of maintaining that innocence of creation when it comes to music. When you start making music that feeling that you get, really when it comes down to it music is a communal thing, its something you communicate. Historically your songs were about your culture. As cliche as it sounds music is a universal language, you can play a blues note and everyone knows. Thats what this record is about, we try to keep it in a learning stage.
Ultra5280: Your second album Thank You, Happy Birthday has been described as harder and much edgier, how much of that sound carried over to Melophobia?
Matt: I would say that, more of what we love about music we try and show on each record. And so I wouldn't say that more of that showed up on this record, but more of what we like to point out as new in this record, and that is what we love. There are some tracks that I would venture to say are heavier, but there also some subtle tracks. So yeah I think it did carry over.
Ultra5280: Discuss the clashing views of serious vs. fun music in Melophobia amongst the band and working through them?
Matt: Well serious vs fun, I think they go hand in hand because you can't departmentalize certain emotions, we are emotional creatures and different times there are different emotions that are triggered by different experiences, but they are all part of the human experience. I don't think the difficulty between emotional stances were serious or fun, but more towards trying to cohesively marry different song escapes. Maybe reflected by different emotions, less about emotions but more about personalities. I don't look at it as emotional differences but the personalities between songs.
Ultra5280: You've talked about "filling holes" in music and the influences of Bowie and Dylan, where else does the band draw inspiration from?
Matt: Anything interesting I guess, my father has always been a huge influence on me. He always stressed uniqueness, the beauty of your own self. We are influenced by films, on this record honestly we didn't listen to a lot of music, because in the past i've always felt really firm to the motto of many literature writers, which is read more way than you would write. I tried to listen to as much diverse music that I possibly could. The human mind is complex, there were times, where my mind would fill blanks with experiences and create sounds I had never heard before.
Ultra5280: You have toured with the likes of Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Pilots and Silversun Pickups, and are about to embark on a tour with Muse, what have you learned from those bands and what advice have you received if any?
Matt: Passion, to be passionate and tour everything you have in to you and what you are doing. Every single person I have across that has been successful is really passionate and they pour everything they have into it. So many people look at the rock and roll cliche and they think that it's all about the girls and the drugs and the partying and all that stuff. Hard work pays off. When you really are around people who have truly made an impact that couldn't be further from the truth. There is a common fiber that runs through the list and that is dedication and passion.
Ultra5280: Speaking of Foo Fighters tell me about the time Dave Grohl filled in on drums?
Matt: It was for sure, we had just gone on tour, it was the second date, and Jared went to the hospital and we are sitting here thinking the tour is over. We were trying to figure out what we were going to do and my phone rings it's an unrecognizable number, but I still answer it and low and behold it's Dave on the other line. He said so heard you guys need a drummer. He came out and played two or three sets, we rehearsed a lot, when I say rehearse I mean sound checked and he pretty much nailed it. It was one of those experiences were we are playing a show and I have to keep reminding myself we are playing a show, because all I want to do is look back at Dave and smile the whole time. He has been not only in one of the most influential bands, but several three or four.So it was an honor to have him playing with us.
Ultra5280: What's in store for the rest of 2013 and what can the fans in Denver expect on September 17?
Matt: I don't know, we really want to give great honest performances. We want people to hear this record, its special to us and we want it to be special to our fans. I am excited to have people hear what we have been doing. We love Denver!