Photo credit : Mary-Beth Blankenship

Black Deer Festival : Striking Matches – Exclusive GIGsoup Interview

GIGsoup spoke with Nashville based band Striking Matches at the Black Deer festival. Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis are a well established duo and sought after song-writers. Their songs have been featured in the show Nashville. They have opened for artists such Vince Gill and Ashley Monroe.

Welcome to the UK. Tell us what makes a festival special for you?

For us, it’s just an amazing chance to catch up with friends, whether they are playing with other bands or whether they are the other bands, it’s an amazing opportunity for collaboration. You can just hop up on their set and jam on something, which we may just end up doing.

It’s really cool seeing people from Nashville, people that you know in other places, all the way over here. It’s funny, you sometimes can’t find time to hang out at home, but you hang out a few thousand miles away. In a place like this, we’re all together.

Also, just as a fan, it’s also amazing because we get a chance to see free music. Just by playing and being here you get the best seats in the house.

Are any of your friends playing at Black deer?

So the Wondering Hearts are playing, we’re good buddies with them. Sam Palladio is playing, he’s a good friend. Jason Isbell, looking forward to seeing him. It’s pretty stacked, the whole bill is great. There’s somebody everyday that we’re really looking forward to catching up with.

You wrote some songs for the show Nashville. Tell us a little bit of how that came about.

The majority of the songs we had kind of already written pretty much. Some we had even recorded for ourselves before they were on the show. We had nine on the show. There were a few that weren’t really Striking Matches songs, they were songs we’d written either by ourselves or with other people. The show’s staff just found them. We got to play for them live. Once they started to dig into our archive they found songs they could see as part of the show. We liked creating them as we were going along.

‘When the Right One Comes Along’ came from a place that was very special to us. It’s very special to see that people have connected with it so much.  I remember sitting up late at night before we were going to be writing with our friend Georgia for the first time. I was coming up with melodies and ideas. I recorded the music, just to have it down for the next day. I came in and played the guitar for it and it just set us up.  She was in a place where she had recently met her now husband. She was in that headspace. For us it was just coming from a really honest place.

You met at university in Nashville, tell us about your experience as songwriters as you look back.

The first song we wrote together was called ‘Not the one’. We made a little video for it with some guys from university.  It’s out there, somewhere. Still like that one.

It’s hard to believe how many years we’ve been at this because it’s all flown by.  To be able to reach an international audience has been really special. The first time we sang ‘When the Right One Comes Along’ over here, everyone already knew the words. That’s a life changing and career changing moment.  It puts things into perspective. It made us feel what we’re doing here is working.  It’s always a journey and process. We’re grateful.

We’ve had some incredible, unforgettable successes yet it still feels like we wake up in the morning a new band and we’re still figuring things out. It truly does feel like a journey.  You have ups and then sometimes you get low. There are just difficult things you have to overcome and then those successes make it all worth it.

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You’ve been working on a new collection of songs. Is there a theme that holds them together?

I think the theme is growth as a band. We were experimenting with new sounds.  From our last record to this, you change as people. It’s been a couple of years; we’re in a different place, so a lot of this music is representative of that.

There’s one song ‘Shameless’ – it feels like a time in both our country and as people, that it’s very important to know who you are and not be ashamed of who you are. Those messages are what we’re talking about.

The song ‘Retrograde’ is about when everything is a bit weird and a little off. We made a short video – we got to dance. It was just a fun vibe. We’ve not done anything like that before.

What’s inspiring you at the moment?

We’ve been lucky lately; we’ve been able to hang around a lot of great musicians. The Wondering Hearts were over in Nashville, they’re just really great people. They’re amazing singers. We wrote a really cool song with them.

Sometimes it is life things. I lost my Grandmother this past year. We all loved her. It’s those things. The more you live and the more you experience, it’s amazing and changes your perspective.

Listening to other music too. Going out and seeking out other artists, finding out what they’re doing.  Being inspired by others.  Love the new Paramore record. It almost slide by a lot of people, because they were changing their sound. We were doing a similar thing. It’s cool to see them stepping into new territory. Shawn Mendes just put out some great new stuff.  The Wondering Hearts record is great. We’ve taken some inspiration from Talking Heads and people like that.

Quick Fire Questions

BBQ or Brunch – Brunch, brunch

Passion or Patience – Pastries…Definitely!

Kylie Jenner or Kylie Minogue – Kylie Minogue

Fire truck or fire pit – Fire pit, you can make ‘smores’

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