In our next artist spotlight, we chat to Matt Jaffe about his music and inspirations.
S] What inspires your music?
I used to get most of my inspiration from other writing, whether it was in songs, novels or films. I used my own songs as a way of analysing other people’s work. Now I try to mainly write about people I know, including myself. I think good ideas are embedded in everything, so I try to be indiscriminate in what I write down. Even if it seems like a terrible idea the next day, I’m always glad I wrote it down. I’m most inspired to pick up my guitar and write when I’ve been listening to an artist I love. When I hear someone transcending the space – time continuum with rock n roll, I feel an urgency to try and do the same.
S] What motivates you outside of music, think people and places?
Cliche as it sounds, natural landscapes are very helpful. Sometimes an idea that’s been struggling to percolate in my bedroom, where I usually write, comes to life the minute I step outside. I live near a terrific mountain and a terrific body of water. They really help urge me on. I wish I lived near a desert too, but I just get my desert inspiration from Anthony Mann Westerns. Perhaps someday I’ll get to be there in real life. I think everyone offers me something to think about. Counterintuitively, the people I pass on the street provide very long lasting inspiration. Maybe their stories and thoughts are so shrouded in mystery that their mystique encourages me to write. But then again, the people I know are mysterious to me too. If anyone’s not mysterious, I’m probably not thinking very hard.
S] What has been a defining moment in your career?
Working with producer Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads stands tall as a very important moment. That was some years ago, but when he offered his support for my songwriting, I was able to take my ambitions seriously, grow artistically and take great strides logistically, from forming my first band to recording in a professional studio. Jerry’s friendship and mentorship have forged the framework for my attempt to make it in the music business. I’m so grateful for his taking an interest. I’m not sure where I’d be without it.
S] What message do you have for your fans reading?
I would like to encourage fans to go back and listen to the music that inspired me. If they like what my band and I are doing, they should listen to the stuff that inspires us. There is an incredible, rich history of homegrown, handmade music that has been virtually obliterated by the influx of EDM and computer-driven sound. Listen to Hank Williams. Listen to Joe Strummer. Listen to X. Listen to Bob Dylan. They do much better versions of what I’m trying to do, anyway! If nothing else, I hope to only shed light on the world of salvation that has pushed me.