Hello Matthew, how are you? Welcome to melodic.net!
I'm wonderful, thank you.
You have been in the game for quite a while but you are still a bit unknown to the general public. Tell us a bit about Matthew Perryman Jones. Who are you and what is your story?
Hmm…how do I make a long story not so long?
Well, I discovered a love for making music years ago in high school. I was in a band called This Island Earth. However, I didn't really pursue a career in music until years later around 2000. I figured a new millennia was a good time to go for something new. So I moved to Music City-Nashville, TN. At the time I knew nothing of the music business and really didn't care to. I just wanted to write and play music for whoever would listen. I made my own CDs, booked my own shows, etc. I basically just started out playing whatever venues would have me-from listening rooms to pizzerias. I just kept playing. After about a year bands started asking me to open for them on the road. I did and just kept at it.
One of the bits of advice I got when I moved to this town was to give it 5 years for anything to really "happen" and to be willing to live in a van. I realized very quickly that you have to been in it 120%. I jumped in and for years made little to no money. I slept on couches, lived on the road and just kept writing and playing.
I took a break around 2004. I got married and wanted to spend the first couple years off the road. I also needed some time to rethink what I was doing musically. Some said it wasn't wise to just take a break because I would lose momentum. I understood that but felt it best to take the time off. So I did. For a few years I worked local jobs, hung out with my wife and wrote a lot of songs in my kitchen. Eventually, I decided to make another record. We sold our house, moved into a cheap apartment and I used some of the money from the sale of our house to make a new record.
I went into the studio with Producer Neilson Hubbard and made Throwing Punches in the Dark. I felt I was back home when making that record. It still holds a special place with me. From there things just kind of picked right up. It seemed the break was the best thing for me. The record was receiving some great reviews and people were starting to get interested in the music.
A year or so later I recorded a song called "Save You". A friend who worked radio in Birmingham, AL gave the single to a music licensing agent in LA. She really took to the song and within two weeks I had the song on the season finale of Kyle XY. It was pretty thrilling to have a song on TV. After that the song started gaining a lot of traction and ended up getting multiple placements in shows like Private Practice, Bones and Royal Pains.
Since all that started happening I've released a couple records and a 5 song EP along with several singles. This latest record, Land of the Living, is one that I've been waiting to make for a long time. I think I needed to get certain life experiences under my belt before I could make it. I'm really proud of this record.
You have a new album coming out soon, what can you tell me about that? How is it different from, say, Throwing Punches in the Dark? (Which by the way is a great album!)
Thank you, I'm glad to hear you like Throwing Punches. Land of the Living is different from Throwing Punches in that I think the writing has matured a bit (I hope). I'm really proud of Throwing Punches and I feel this recent record continues in the thread of it's emotionally raw nature. Land of the Living is less of the stripped down indie feel and a little more grand. I wanted a certain intensity to come out on this record that is only hinted at on past records.
How would you say that you have evolved as a musician over the span of your career?
If there's anything I'm conscious of it would be that I think I understand the elements in music a bit better now. I've been fortunate to work with a lot of really musically gifted people who have taught me the value of listening and being comfortable with the spaces in between the notes, if that makes any sense (talking about music always sounds weird and pretentious to me). Overall, I think that I've learned to be more open to letting out what life I've absorbed and navigating it into a song. The more I work on the craft of writing the more it seems I know where to go with what's coming out.
Where do you find inspiration for your songwriting?
I rarely find inspiration. It tends to sneak up on me when I'm working. Songwriting has become more of a discipline for me. I see the work aspect as simply making myself available if/when some magic to show up. The more I work the greater my chances of stumbling onto something worthwhile.
What is the best song you have written so far?
I would lean toward a song on my latest record called "The Angels Were Singing". It's a difficult song about losing my father. I think it's the best in that I think the music and the lyric communicate the emotion and the thought as they should be. I think those are the elements that make a great song.
If you can dream away completely, which act/s would you take with you on a world tour?
Good question. I think I would like to tour with Elbow because they make amazing music and seem like good people.
Tell us a secret that no one knows about you.
In high school I had a pet cat that I named Sexual Chocolate.
What song do you generally sing in the shower?
"Tower of Learning" by Rufus Wainwright. Amazing song.
Is there a song you wish you had written?
"Take It With Me" by Tom Waits. One of the best songs ever written.
Do you read reviews of your albums? If so, how do you handle them? Both good and bad ones.
Sometimes. Ideally I don't want to bother with them. I don't write music for critics and most of them seem pretty bored with music overall. I generally don't trust their opinion. However, if I read a bad review I would be lying if I said it didn't sting a bit. I've had a lot of people tell me through the years that my music helped them through a difficult time in their life...that means more then a glowing review from any professional critic.
What is on the cards for the near future? A lot of touring?
I'm going to start touring here in the states late summer. Hopefully it will continue from there.
Where is your favorite place in the world to play live?
I'm not sure I have a favorite place really. I like playing in New York City because it's got a great energy and I usually feel very intimated which causes me to step it up a bit…I need and welcome those challenges as a performer.
Tell us something crazy that has happened to you on tour. No censoring allowed!
I had finished playing a show at the Doug Fir in Portland, Oregon. As I was pushing a very large bass amp around to the back where the bus was, I had to maneuver myself around two women who were going at it against a dumpster. One was against the dumpster with her shirt up (bare breasted) and pants down (bare assed) as her girlfriend was giving her oral pleasure out in the open…and didn't seem to mind us as at all as we passed back and forth with our gear. Stunning.
Will you be playing shows in Sweden any time soon?
I really hope to get overseas very soon and would absolutely love to play in Sweden! We're working on it. Stay tuned…
Got any final words to our readers?
Thanks for reading along. I hope you've enjoyed it. Vart ligger toaletten?