Artist Interview: Matt Blais
Tell us about yourself and your music
I discovered music sitting in the back of my parent’s car. The radio was always on the “oldies” station, so, I grew up listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys etc. It really permeated into my being and as a kid, I could often be found singing, writing or working on my stage show (which at that time was wearing my black pyjamas and singing into a big serving spoon). I’d like to think a lot has changed since then, but really it hasn’t. I still have that old-school sensibility and apply it to the music I make. I believe in honest songs, played with real instruments and an authentic performance that showcases who we really are.
Talk to us more about your latest release
My latest release is a single/video for a song called “Set Me Free”. I wrote it with Ian Moore a little over a year ago. I’d never written a song over Skype before, but wanted to work with him and I couldn’t make it down to LA at that time. So I sat down with a coffee and hope for good internet and even better inspiration. We talked about many things but mostly shared our experiences as musicians, life on the road and the emotional struggles of being an artist. “Set Me Free” was born from that.
What inspired you to write this release?
“Set Me Free” is about looking for new beginnings and fresh creativity – not wanting to be trapped in the same headspace or in the same city. There’s more that keeps us captive than just the physical world. I wanted to explore that. We live in a time where we are rarely alone, but often feel we are. The song is a desperate cry for something better, but without knowing exactly what that is, or how to get there.
Any plans to release a video?
The video for “Set Me Free” was released right at the end of 2016. A friend and I went out to the desert that’s north of Calgary (my hometown). I wanted a vintage vibe, so we brought one camera, some wine and a sense of adventure and just hit record. I wasn’t sure it would turn into anything, we were just wanting to do something creative. After a few hours of editing, I’m really proud of how it turned out.
Any plans to hit the road?
I love touring! More than anything else, I just love hitting the road and being a troubadour. Meeting new people is the very best part of this job. I’m constantly looking for new festivals, showcases, opportunities, etc. to see new places and faces.
All my performance info can be found at: www.mattblaismusic.com
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I try to do as much face-to-face interaction as I can. I play a lot of shows and will travel far and wide to give people a great live music experience. Then, I try to meet as many people as I can. I feel that’s missing in today’s digital world. I’m all about “real moments”. Beyond that, I just try to be authentic. I write my own songs, plan my own photoshoots and videos. I’d never let anyone else tweet for me or run my social media. With me, what you see is what you get. It might not be for everyone, but for art to be real it has to be true to itself.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Delta Spirit is my fav band right now. Ryan Adams writes the soundtrack to my life. Gary Clarke Jr., Max Frost, Rag’n’Bone Man, Kaleo, are all amazing. There’s so much amazing music right now. I also still listen to all the great oldies: Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin.
Tell us about your passions
Other than music, my love is baseball. I hate winter because it feels like that part of me is missing. As of writing this, I know there are only 61 days until the season starts again. In the summer, if I’m not touring too much, I’ll try to play on a few beer league teams. Last year I broke my thumb playing ball though. Let me tell you, it’s really hard to hold a guitar pick with a busted thumb.
What else is happening next in your world?
I’ve finished recording a few more songs. I’m not exactly sure what will happen with them yet. Perhaps, I’ll do a few more and release a whole album, or maybe release them one by one, each with their own video. Again, you can’t rush these things. Right now, I’m just waiting on a little guidance from the universe.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Matt!