Music journalism is an interesting world to be apart of. It's very Almost Famous-like, experiencing the highest highs and lowest lows in the up-close position you're in. Thrilling and dynamic, getting to speak to a musician you admire so much will be a rush that will never subside.
Getting to conversate with Matt Corby in the midst of his Telluric tour was one of those times.
We were buzzing with anticipation and eagerness to get some one-on-one time with Matt; the man that created the music that has guided us to discover so much about ourselves.
... but as soon as the time came, a reschedule was in order. "He's tired and on the road, we understand. Tomorrow will do."
The next day was a new day, and the day we were so very much looking forward to!
... and another reschedule. "It's fine... We'll make it work... We hope."
Okay, so the NEXT day arrives, and we felt great about it. Today is the day.
... but Matt's team ended up broken down on the side of the road somewhere. It just... wasn't going to work. But, above all else, we as music journalists do one thing: never give up. This paid off in the end, as we finally got connected with Matt after all the turmoil subsided. Who knew dialogue could be so beautiful from the back alley of a venue?
It was as magical as we anticipated, picking his brain about the subtle intricacies of Telluric and the inner workings of his mind. His light heartedness and introspective responses made us feel right at home, just as his music does.
What color do you feel like today, Matt?
Grey, kind of neutral... Well blended.
How did you know music was the answer?
Ah, I don’t know. I still don't know if it is. I think it’s a good way to create community and human connection. It’s a cool thing to be involved with.
So what was it like first picking up a pen and writing music?
Really weird and kind of awkward actually. As a younger person, there’s life situations and drama and your still digesting what is it you want and need... But then you write your own song filled with emotion and you’re like, 'what the fuck?' You're a blank canvas at that point and you're like, 'what kind of music do I want to write?' Sometimes it turns out really pure. The first song I ever recorded was when I was around 14.
What did you listen to growing up? Can we hear that in your music?
My dad like really loved ACDC, what would be considered 'classic' and 'good' at that time. I'm probably biased because he’s my dad. You know, I was born in the 90’s so it was kind of like "pop" at the time, which I loved. I mean, I love Lauryn Hill and really good singers; a real sense of 'jazz gospel.' That true, true gospel sound. When I got to America as a teenager, I got a chance to experience the culture myself and was kind of like 'what the fuck, this is amazing music!' Orchestral tunes and folk rock...
Brilliant, brilliant shit.
Congratulations on Telluric, by the way. It's an absolute masterpiece. What was happening in your life at the time of making the album that inspired the melodies, lyrics, etc., and how did it affect the final product?
I had the time to figure out how my life was like in my head. It was kind of a crutch for me to understand the human condition in a more objective way and why sometimes what we do can create a reaction at time or an opposite reaction. Thats kind of the goal of the record --
who do you actually think you are, what do you do on the planet and what kind of contribution to nature or anything, (and not just the world, but also to you,) do you make?
What did you find was your biggest challenge?
You’re your biggest challenge. I’m probably not the greatest person in just the way my mind works. You know, I really want it to be good so I put a lot of pressure on myself. I just don’t want to do stuff that’s shit and I don’t want to be in people’s faces about it, regardless of whether it’s good or not.
I just want to make good music that makes people
feel good about being alive.
This is a very conscious album. We’ve listened to it quite a bit and its subtle intricacies and insightful lyrics really hit a sweet spot that sound to us like you’ve practiced meditation -- Is that apart of your lifestyle and how has it affected your music?
Yeah! I am incredibly interested in passages in life and incredibly baffled in the many ways of the development of the mind and exploring consciousness. And yeah I do practice meditation in some ways, but I wish I could do it a lot more. I don't do it that much but that’s why they call it 'practice,' in order to dissect it all. I wish I had more time to properly do that, but consciousness is an important theme.
Do you spend time in nature a lot? I know “telluric” means “Of the Earth, as a planet.”
Yeah. That’s why I’m here. I do a lot of camping. I actually become completely aware when I'm in nature. My truest form. You know, I jump around like a kid again. And that’s the thing about the elements -- there’s no judgement there. It's beautiful.
Do you handle all the stress of the industry well? What has life on the road taught you?
To roll with the punches. There's a ton of people involved. Everyone’s playing a very crucial part in the process of putting on a show each night. To the manager or the band or even our bus driver, it helps you consider how everything works. We all have to play together so we can’t have bad energy on stage or anywhere else for that matter. Which is how it should be!
How do you feel about the relationship between audial and visual art? The cover of the record speaks volumes.
The way that the drawn cover came about was Gary Burden, just an absolute legend. He’s been around for so many decades (*working with people like The Doors, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Joni Mitchell) and he has had so much transformation in every sense. When the record was made, he asked me for inspiration to start the artwork and I just told him to look up the word 'Telluric.' He looked it up on the spot, we had a little conversation and then he was like ‘I’ve got an idea!’ It was like a quick and easy collaboration, one word and it was like, 'I trust you.' It’s really nice to have people like Gary.
*On the cover art, Gary said, “This cover art conveys a person experiencing, literally diving into, a theory of the telluric world. A force that, in theory, we are all effected by, all day, every day. The realistic feet are literally being drawn into the world of this seventeenth century painting and wading across the mythic fields of Earthbound cosmic energy connected directly to the mythic deep Universe".
So Matt, how do you want to be remembered?
Oh, I don't know... I want to make the world worth. I think that’s something I can try to make work. I don't really know what I’m capable of and what kind of music I am going to make in the future, and I guess it’s not really up to me. It doesn’t really matter, as long as I can fuck shit up real bad.