Escaping The “Party” With Matt Myers Of Houndmouth

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Friday of Forecastle weekend, My Old Kentucky Blog made a pit stop on the way to Waterfront Park to catch up with Matt Myers of Houndmouth.

It only seemed right to kick off the festival weekend at Jimmy Can’t Dance, a small jazz club and bar in downtown Louisville, for Houndmouth’s album listening party. With a jam-packed weekend ahead of them, the New Albany, Indiana natives still managed to surprise fans with an exclusive listening party and opportune facetime with the band.

Slated for an August 3 release, the new album Golden Age spun on the house turntable while fans, friends, family and tourmates gathered for a hear-it-first listen and Houndmouth-inspired cocktails. The event also had a celebratory feel, as the band was finally close to home after multiple 2-3 week tours all a part of the album promotion cycle.

Depending on personal preference, concept albums can be hit or miss. I personally am fond of them, as they force you to listen to an album in its entirety to get “the big picture.” Each song can be considered a piece of glass that makes up a colorful mosaic or a chapter in a book that tells your favorite story. And they sound best when spun on your Dad’s old Pioneer turntable or blasted from your car windows on a long drive.

Working with producers Jonathan Rado of Foxygen and Shawn Everett, past credits including Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color and The War On Drugs’ A Deeper Understanding, it’s no surprise Houndmouth’s Golden Age went from a planned few week recording process to an unexpected eight month creative venture. You simply work with producers like Rado and Everett to do the undone and push boundaries. And the Golden Age concept that was born is unique in its own right.

Towards the end of the shindig, guitarist and lead vocalist Matt Myers and I escaped the party in true Houndmouth fashion to talk hometown shows, the new album and weird party stories you can’t seem to forget–no matter how hard you try.

Interview conducted by Natalie Glidewell after the jump…

MOKB: It’s been a busy week with recent tour dates, your Headliners charity show, today’s listening party, and a Forecastle main stage performance tomorrow. How does it feel to be home?

Matt: It feels good to be home, but I’m not home yet. I’m home, but I’m not home.

MOKB: What’s the best part of playing hometown shows?

Matt: Not too much *laughs* it’s nice, it’s just that there’s expectations, y’know? You want to do a good job and I find that when you have expectations for yourself, you don’t do as well. I’m just trying to get rid of expectations, but Forecastle is a pretty good festival.

MOKB: It’s the first festival you’ve played, right?

Matt: Yeah so I’m biased, but I can confidently, objectively say that it’s a very good festival.

MOKB: How did Waiting For The Night: A Charity Show come about and what made you choose the charities involved?

Matt: Well, we had so much stuff going on for Forecastle week, and we were like how can we pile more shit on for the weekend? The three charities were Salvation Army in New Albany, St. Jude’s Hospital, and the Preemptive Love Coalition. We were going to throw an animal charity in there too, but I feel like people need a lot more love now. I’m a person so I’m biased towards people.

MOKB: We’re here at Jimmy Can’t Dance in (sort of) your hometown listening to Golden Age. What inspired the Golden Age concept and sound? How did you guys bring that to life during the recording process?

Matt: Growing up without cell phones and then getting a cell phone, having both worlds makes millennials hyper-aware of what technology is. We started writing about that a lot, and then it just kind of became a concept record about technology. As far as it sounds, we met this guy Jonathan Rado from Foxygen and Shawn Everett, who’s also a legend. We met them separately, and then decided to just get together one day. We all got together and just started making music and it just didn’t stop. It took a long time to make the record.

MOKB: About how long?

Matt: I guess 8 months or so. We thought we’d get done in like a couple weeks, but it turned into like 8 months.

MOKB: A lot of TLC was put into it then.

Matt: You could say that, yeah. It was mostly just like vomiting sound everywhere, you know?

MOKB: I read that you guys would tape bells to the end of a truck and record it, and did weird stuff like that and incorporated it into the record?

Matt: Yeah we made a big long tape loop of a drum track, and then we took the tape off of the loop and tied it to a truck and drove it on the desert. When we brought the tape back and put it back through the machine, it sounded way more messed up.

MOKB: What do you hope friends, family, the music community and ultimately Houndmouth fans take away from the new record?

Matt: I sent the record to my Dad and I didn’t hear from him for like a month, and then I went to pick him up from the airport one day and I was like “Hey what did you think about the record?” He was like “It’s interesting.” That was kind of nice because I’d never disappointed my parents very much growing up, I was always kind of a good kid. It kind of felt good and rebellious to disappoint them with this record.

MOKB: We miss you up in Indianapolis – your last stop being an MOKB Presents show at Garfield Park two years ago (Dodge and JB say hi!). In what ways have you grown as a band and as musicans in the last few years?

Matt: It’s grown, like we have more people.

MOKB: Yeah you’re touring with a few saxophone players right?

Matt: Yeah, so literally it’s grown quite a bit. We didn’t put any saxophone on the record, so the sax players have started playing other things. I wrote a lot of songs on my phone with Garageband or whatever so I couldn’t per se, like, play the songs when we had to start playing them live. I had to figure out rhythms and how to sing while I’m playing, it’s been super interesting.

MOKB: This Party, a relatable anthem about how parties often suck, kicks off the album. What’s the worst or craziest thing you’ve experienced at a party?

Matt: I remember at a hot tub party in high school. My buddy from the Knobs, which is where all the rich kids live, his parents had a hot tub so we’d always go there. Yeah, and at one point a guy had sex with a White Castle sandwich. Have you ever had White Castle?

MOKB: Never again, not after knowing that.

Houndmouth performs at Nickel Plate District Amphitheatre on August 24 shortly after the release of their new record Golden Age, which comes out on August 3. While the Golden Age sound is unlike anything Houndmouth has done in the past, it translates into an incredible live show.

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