This week on the podcast, I caught up with artist Matt Stell.
We talked about his new EP Better Than That
, the songwriting
process, his favorite bands, and so much more. See some highlights from the conversation below, and click here
to listen to the full episode.
– I have heard you say you are a big Drive-By Truckers fan. What kind of influence did the band have on you?
Stell – I discovered the Truckers in college. For lack of a better way to say it, I was always kinda intimidated by music that wasn’t Country music, because a lot of songs didn’t really connect with me. But I really became obsessed with lyrics after hearing those guys write about themes and characters that I identified with. There is a song off of the album Souther Rock Opera called “Zip City” that changed my life. It’s a long song, and doesn’t really have a chorus, but the character is talking about being seventeen and having one thing on your mind. The last line of that song is “I got 350 heads on a 305 engine. I get ten miles to the gallon. I ain’t got no good intentions” and I remember thinking “I know this guy!” When your from where I am from, there is so much captured in those lyrics.
TNB – Barry Weiss who runs you label RECORDS is kinda an industry icon. What’s his vibe?
Stell – He is extroverted, energetic, competent, confident, etc. He saw something in me that nobody else saw or was willing to take a chance on. It’s hard to understate how big of deal that is, for a guy to cold call my manager Ash (Bowers) and say “hey we see this independent song called ‘Prayed For You’, and we would like to make a deal.” He worked with everyone from NSYNC to Backstreet Boys to Britney Spears. Now the RECORDS side of things is mainly Hip Hop but he reached out wanting to take a chance on a Country record. He is a visionary and I think the model he has built is something people are starting to do because they are seeing it work.
TNB – Do you ever listen back to any of your music and notice any little imperfections or things that you wish you could fix?
Stell – I’ll give you a great example. In “Prayed For You”, the way I say “faith” in the chorus bothers me every time I hear it. It almost sounds like I am saying “feth”. When I sing it live, I make sure to put more emphasis on the “a”, so “faith” and “James” have more of a rhyme sound. I wish I sang it like that initially, but hey it’s rock n roll.