Combining elements of folk, punk, pop and rock, Matt Pless can lyrically turn a phrase with the best of them and has been compared to some of the pre-eminent songwriters of our time.
Tell us about the history of the band?
I am not a band, I am a solo artist who sometimes plays with a band. If you wanna know my history as a performer and songwriter, I would say that I started out writing songs when I was 8 years old. Every Friday my teacher would let me sing them in front of the class. I learned to play guitar in high school by not listening to anything my guitar teacher told me to do and starting a punk band with a couple of friends. I began my career as a solo artist after discovering Bright Eyes and Bob Dylan when my band fell apart. It was at that point when I sold my soul to the devil and saved the music industry…
How would you describe your music?
My music is a combination of many styles. Some come across as folk, or folk punk, others more rock ‘n roll, blues, or psychedelic. My motto is, if a song looks good naked, you can dress it up any way you want. Basically, I write acoustic tunes with catchy melodies and clever lyrics that cover topics ranging from the socio-political, to the abstract and whimsical, to the everyday struggles of the human experience. But at its core, I just want to write great songs that hopefully will inspire and entertain people beyond my lifetime with music that will make you tap your foot and lyrics that will tap your mind.
What are you influences/musical heroes?
I guess I would throw Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Green Day, Mary Prankster, Eminem, Conor Oberst, Biggie Smalls, John Prine as influences. There are endless others as well. I’m generally influenced by whatever is going on around me at whatever time a song happens to come about. Life is my biggest influence. I don’t have any musical heroes because heroes usually don’t live up to expectations. Be your own hero.
What record are you currently listening to?
I am not currently listening to anything in particular. Playlists on Spotify, 60’s and 50’s soul and pop music.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
My favorite song to play live is usually the newest song I’ve written, which is currently an unrecorded song called “Nero”. It’s a catchy number about relaxing on the edge of the end of the world. It will be released on my next album.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
My dream tour? Opening for Green Day or Bob Dylan would be cool. Though touring with Bob Dylan might be a little boring. I doubt he would be up for hitting the bars with you, but still, I would love to experience opening for such an influential figure. Doing a Taylor Swift tour sounds like a good time. I’m pretty sure we would fall in love and I would inspire her next heartbreak album.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
There have been really too many to sift through, but one time I was driving through Omaha Nebraska and got hit by a school bus that was going 40+ an hour. I didn’t see the stop sign and almost got nailed on the driver’s side of my car. I hit the gas at the last second and the school bus hit the back passenger side and spun the car around. The kids on the bus were taking pictures of me with their phones and one of them yelled for me to “ditch the weed” as the police pulled up. I ended up having to stay at a hippie commune that night where all this drama was going down among the people living there regarding who slept with whose girlfriend and I woke up to a 7-hippie, front-lawn fist fight in which someone got their head smashed into peace sign formed on the front porch out of colored rocks. There was blood and Jerry Garcia everywhere. The cops rolled up and I grabbed a rental car and drove to California to finish the rest of the shows. After four days in CA, I ended up having to hitch a ride to Colorado with a meth addict. He picked me up in LA at midnight and we drove 100 mph straight to Denver, only stopping for gas 2 times. We somehow arrived in one piece the following afternoon. I took him to a diner where he got kicked out for getting high in the bathroom. I finished his pancakes and never saw him again.
What are you current thoughts on the music industry?
It needs more people like me right now.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own band?
If you want to be an artist, never get too comfortable. When life seems too consistent, do something to shake it up. Stagnation is the death of inspiration. Stand naked in the rain, look the storm straight in the eye and become a lightning rod.
What are your future plans?
Take the torch passed down from the Woody Guthrie, light a joint and set the world on fire.