Exclusive GIGsoup Interview – Matt York

Boston’s Matt York writes the kind of songs that feel like they’ve been a part of your life forever. With a comfortingly familiar, rootsy sound steeped in Alt Country and the kind of loose-but-sincere 80s indie rock that The Replacements made famous, he’s been picking up plaudits for his albums and playing live all over the USA.

His new single, the sweet and gently anthemic Permanent Crush, is out now and is here on Soundcloud. We caught up with Matt for a chat about his journey so far.

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Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest single Permanent Crush

I generally write songs about bad love and breakups. The reality of my own situation though is I have a wonderful wife who has been my “permanent crush” for many years. I wrote it her and our love for each other. 

You’re from Boston, MA – could you give us an insider’s take on the area? What are 5 cool things/places to check out there?

Boston has changed a lot through the years. Music-wise, some of great rooms are no longer open. However, the Middle East Café in Cambridge remains a great room to see both local and touring acts. It has four rooms of music. The Lizard Lounge, which is located just outside Harvard Square, is also a great place to check out live music and the restaurant above it is great. I really love Harvard Square. It’s touristy but there’s also some really cool places to check out. Jamaica Plain (which is where I recorded this album) is a more diverse part of Boston that has some great spots for live music, great restaurants and scenic Jamaica Pond. Also, everybody should go to Fenway Park once in their life.

I hear some Country elements in your writing, and some classic rock too – who are your biggest influences and why? 

When I was younger, I was really influenced by Lou Reed and the Pixies. When I hit my twenties, I really fell hard for Willie Nelson and Steve Earle. My songwriting is fused by those artists and genres and a lot of others. We had  local Indie Rock station here in Boston that transitioned to a country station a while back. Both formats had/have local music shows and I was joking with somebody that I might be the only person that had his songs played on both formats. 

What’s been your proudest moment so far, musically?

I’m fortunate to have played some really iconic clubs like CBGB and The Bitter End in NYC, TT the Bears and The Rat in Boston  and The Hole in the Wall in Austin Texas to name a few. I really enjoy playing on stages where so many of my musical heroes have played in the past. Really though, my favorite part of doing music is writing a song I like. I love trying to connect the different parts, work to find  to right phrase or melody to improve a song. Generally, by the time I’ve performed a song live for the first time, I’ve played it a million times at home and worked through all the parts so that by the time I put it out, it’s basically done. Putting in that work is what I enjoy doing the most.

What’s next for you this year? Fill us in on your plans. 

I’m putting out the full album here very soon. So far this year, I’ve traveled throughout the Northeast part of the United States. I recently returned from doing some dates in Nashville, Austin, Louisiana and Indiana. Later this year, I’m hoping to perform some other parts of the country that I haven’t been to yet once the album is out.

Photo credit: Coleman Rogers

Find Matt York at facebook.com/mattyorkboston, twitter.com/mattyorkboston and instagram.com/mattyorkboston now.