'Counting The Costa Success!'
'Songs We Sing' is a winding collection, running the stylistic and historic gamut of pop music; hues of ragtime, folk, psychedelia, country, and classical music are cast liberally across the album. 'Songs We Sing' recalls a time when America was under the spell of such UK imports as Donovan and Van Morrison. The man responsible for this throwback to simpler times is 23 year-old Matt Costa.
Matt Costa’s skill with a guitar is immediately apparent, especially in a live setting. He has supported a variety of bands including Built To Spill, Gomez and Pinback. Whether it be solo, armed only with an acoustic guitar, or backed by a collection of musicians, his relaxed performance draws you in and you are left with no choice but to listen to the stories he has to tell.
Costa’s flexibility and willingness to embrace almost any situation, musical or otherwise, keeps 'Songs We Sing' fresh and free from categorization. It’s an unexpected effort from a young man in the unlikely suburban surroundings of Huntington Beach: a city whose reputation is built on surfers and skaters, not brown-eyed bards with compelling voices.
Chatting recently with Matt, I first wondered how he had gotten involved with his producer on this album, No Doubt's Tom Dumont? "I met Tom through the skate/ surf company RVCA. The owner Pat supports local artists and gave my recordings to Tom. We started recording demos and just kept doing it till we had a ton of songs. We picked our favorites and made 'Songs We Sing'."
Where did the album title Songs We Sing originate? "I always go to my friend’s house, sit around, and play songs. We sing songs all night. I wrote the song, 'Songs We Sing' about my friends who have no money, travel, and live like couch gypsies. Every night someone different is traveling through, it’s very Kerouac."
And, continuing on with the theme of this album, where does all the cover artwork come from? "Jason Gnewiko is the artist who designed the album artwork. He was in the Promise Ring, a band that I grew up liking. He did all the artwork for their records. I asked him to listen to my record and see what comes out. I couldn’t be more pleased."
Along the way, independent artists always have to take risks, so what has been the biggest risk that you have undertaken thus far? "I could only give you a heartbroken answer. I guess that’s pretty explanatory."
Is it true that you were on your way to becoming a pro skater at one stage?! "Yea I was really into skateboarding and thought I would have a career, but I shattered my leg. It took me a year to walk again.'
Tell me more about the first song that you ever wrote at the age of 19 and the experience you had when you played it for other people "The first song I wrote and liked was 'Desires Only Fling'. I was really nervous to play it so I walked around with a taped recording of it to show people.'
What cheesy '80s song would you love to cover if asked ... and why?! "The 'Ghostbusters' theme. Only because of Bill Murray!"
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other KNOWN musicians to aid you in the project (and no one from your band!), who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "Neil Young, Neil Young, and Neil Young, ... and the song would be called 'Kick Ass!'"
Finally, I like Penguins, ... do you?! "Yea, most Steinbeck is published by Penguin Books!"
Many thanx for doing this interview with us today and we wish you all the best for the future "Thanks ... Take Care."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Matt's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: In which of Matt's songs does he sing this lyric: "Something's in me coffee ... Must be the water in it."?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 31st with your answer and the subject title 'MATT COSTA SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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