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Originally from Los Angeles, and currently located in Berlin, Matt Voodoo is on tour spreading his psychobilly and blues around. He has served in several bands, such as Mad Sin and Bamboula, and has recently started his solo project under his own name.
Toonari Post had the chance to attend one of Matt Voodoo’s solo live shows in Vienna, Austria, during his European tour. A single guy with a guitar (acoustic for most songs), Matt Voodoo is able to transfer his intense energy to the attendees.
Playing a set composed of his own songs as well as of covers, he engages with the audience and mixes the moods of the show in a continuum that goes from melancholy to happy. Completely involved in the show, he succeeds in creating a vibrant energy exchange with those attending the performance. This new act is only at the beginning of its path, and soon Matt Voodoo will be accompanied by a band during the live performances of his solo project.
Toonari Post had the chance to have a chat with him after the show.
Toonari Post (TP): You have a really powerful energy, and you choose to express that mainly through an acoustic guitar, which can be a strange combination. Why is that?
Matt Voodoo (MV): I know, it’s a strange combination [laughs]. Well, actually I am putting a band together, so there is a band version of this. I’ve been in a lot of bands, I’ve started a lot of projects. This is now the beginning of my solo project, under my name, and I am looking for a band for it. I have a band, but it is spread across the globe. I’m recording an album right now, it’s gonna be half acoustic, half with a band.
TP: Where do you position your music?
MV: I love Psychobilly; the thing that got me into playing guitar was Punk Rock, but then also the Blues. I love American music, traditional roots, Americana, that’s what I like.
TP: Do you think there is the correct amount of space for free music expression nowadays?
MV: There are so many factors to that discussion. Right now we are in a time where in music you can do anything you want. But we are also in a time of music overload, with MySpace, Facebook, etc.
For a brief period of time it was really cool, big labels didn’t have the say, and you had access to it. Now, also with recording technologies, you can have any guy in a garage writing a song about his dog… and I fully support that song about his dog, I was a music teacher before, I support art. But it’s kind of information overload. So, from an artistic point of view, you’re free to do whatever you want, but in a weird way it is coming full circle to the labels, because there is so much stuff that people tend to go back to the radio.
I guess the short answer to the question is ‘I have no clue’ [laughs]. I hope people like what I’m doing. I think the world is opening up a little bit, it’s getting a smaller world musically. It’s harder to find something special though. It’s more accessible, but at the same time you have to go through a lot of crap to get to it. So there is no single answer to that question.
The possibilities are infinite. There is no such thing as right and wrong in music, that’s what I love about it, and that’s what I hate about it.
TP: There are a lot of things constructed around music, for a lot of artists, like how they dress, behave and so on.
MV: That is just the major media. I come from Hollywood, I was born in Los Angeles, I was raised in a suburb that made a mad man, it drove me crazy. I grew up in the film industry, because of my father, he is a producer. I was around that a lot, went to school in Hollywood, my first job was actually working on films. I’ve been in that, and it is all fake. As a result I do not pay attention to that. I am kind of immune. Not immune, but I ignore it.
TP: So you don’t think this is jeopardizing music.
MV: I mean, we are in one of the best times for music, and one of the worst times for music. The cards are all on the table, the problem is processing it. It’s not a matter of what is out there. The answer is there’s no answer to that, it’s good and horrible at the same time, it depends on which perspective you look at it from.
TP: You tour both the US and Europe. Do you find any difference?
MV: Yes. It doesn’t even head down to Europe, every country is different. For example, Finland. I just played there with my band, and whoa! In Finland I would have people trying to pull me off the stage. Then I’ll go somewhere else and there’s a different reaction.
From a touring musician point of view, if you’re touring in Europe, you’re most likely gonna get paid. If you’re touring the US, you’re most likely not gonna get paid. It’s like you have to hunt the guys down. In the US there is no guarantee, here there is guarantee. Money is not the only thing to me, but I eat.
If I don’t play shows I starve. That’s not an exaggeration. I have gone two days in a row without eating, or having to collect bottles on the streets, and this is even in my big rock ’n’ roll bla bla bla. It’s much more mature in Europe. That doesn’t mean it is better or worse.
TP: So, the project for the future; is the band for your solo project?
MV: Yes, what you hear now in my solo project is going to be in a band. Keep an eye on it, ‘cause this is only the beginning.
You can have a taste of Matt Voodoo’s music here.
Image Courtesy of Matt Voodoo