Quick Q & A with Matt the Electrician

Matt the Electrician

Sometimes it only takes one song to make one a fan of a musician. For me it was “Osaka in the Rain” by Matt the Electrician. It’s the lyrics, it’s the melody, it’s a certain magical majesty. Once I heard that one song, I sought out more music by Matt the Electrician and discovered that he played with many other musicians from Austin that I respected. He is one of the hardest working musicians in Texas!

To learn more about Matt the Electrician, check out his website. Here’s a fun video to whet your appetite. And a video of “Osaka in the Rain” so you don’t need to search for it.

You grew up in northern California. Tell us what your musical experiences were during your formative years. Any memorable concerts? Radio programs? Iconic figures?
The thing I remember most growing up were the living room jams that my parents would have. Friends would come over, guitars, tambourines, everyone would sing. Old rock n roll songs, and folkier stuff too. That was my main introduction to music, and led me straight to my parents’ record collection, where my brother and I would sit for hours, exploring all of the exotic and unknown records, Taj Mahal, Paul Simon, The Beatles, The Hollies, John Denver, John Stewart, and on and on.
Your bio says that you started performing at age 15. Did you sing your own songs?
Unfortunately, yes I did. I started writing songs at the age of 15. My creative writing teacher at the time, Ms Merril, let me write a song in lieu of a poetry assignment, and I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. Shortly after my first song, I got a weekly gig at a local coffeehouse.
As a young person trying his hand at this singer-songwriter “thang,” did you feel like you fit into the scene or did you feel like an alien or sorts?
As far as I knew, I was the only scene. A couple other friends and my brother too, but we lived in a very small town, and had this residency at Bittersweet Coffee, with no real rules, or anyone else showing us what we were supposed to be doing, or not doing.
So the story goes that you moved to Texas and became an electrician . . . or did that career move happen before the move to Texas?
I had done one day of work as an electrician’s apprentice on the west coast, and when I got to Texas, I figured the mostly indoor work of electricians would be better than working under the 100 degree sun as a framing carpenter.
And the story continues that you worked all day and then went off to any and all music gigs as “Matt the Electrician.” Was this kind of surreal?
It just seemed normal to me, the balance of work and art. I always had jobs as a teenager, starting with my first job as a paperboy at age 12, and just assumed that everyone who wanted to make art had to also work a day job, and you just juggled that however you could figure out.
Your music is sometimes called “neo-folk.” What does that mean to you?
I am actually not sure what that means at all. I think almost all music is folk music, straight up.
Who are the most inspirational artists creating music now?
Devon Sproule, Anais Mitchell, Tim Easton, Bayonne, The Deer, Wilson Marks, I could go on and on. . . .
Your music has appeared in TV shows and in commercials, what is it about your music that speaks to the American public?
I don’t know, I think that part of the industry is so fickle, I just consider myself lucky to get paid for the use of my music from time to time.
Do you have plans for new projects in 2017?
I am in the midst of a 7” Vinyl Project, I am releasing a 7” record every 3–4 months over the course of a year and a half, each one features a different backing band or musical collaborator, and a different visual artist. I have four that have been released so far, with two more coming out in 2017.

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