Interview with Matt Pond of matt pond PA

by Jack Diablo
For their latest album, Philadelphia indie band matt pond PA forwent the trappings of recording in a studio and opted instead for a quiet cabin in the woods of Bearsville, NY. They emerged with The Dark Leaves and a bevy of additional material. The album drops in April but before that, mpaa will appear at this year’s Harvest of Hope Fest. EU spoke with the band’s guitarist / vocalist and namesake Matt Pond about the new album and the wonders of the Ancient City.
EU: You have a new album coming out in April. Can we expect anything different from your previous work?
Matt Pond: I would hope so. I think that we did this one completely ourselves so we had a lot of time to work on it. I would say that it is probably dreamier than our last album, but that’s just me.

EU: The Dark Leaves was recorded in a cabin in the woods. Why did you feel the need to leave the studio for this album and how did the change of scenery affect the result?
MP: Studios are expensive and when you’re done, you’re supposed to be done. That happened on our last album and I didn’t want it to happen again. You have more limitations in terms of gear and quality of sound but you have more time and it’s on your own time. It’s good to feel like you have control over what you’re doing rather than watching a clock and seeing money and time slipping away.

EU: You recorded more than just the new album out there. What else came out of that those sessions?
MP: We did an EP, which has nine songs so it really isn’t an EP. Something between an EP and an LP. What would that be? Some other letter? Then we did three singles with a few songs that are nowhere else. How many is that? It’s a lot of songs. Then we probably have half of a new album recorded. And we also recorded a soundtrack but I don’t know if that movie is coming out.

EU: The songs on this album are pretty painful but the album title implies some hope after it’s said and done. What exactly are you trying to convey with this record?
MP: I won’t speak for anyone else, I’ll only speak for myself and say that everything is constantly disappointing and then not disappointing, and positive and negative. Also, maybe I have a mental illness that needs to be treated or something but I feel that you put out records and it’s fun but it’s also stressful like everything else. People think that it’s like the greatest thing to do to drive around and play shows but there’s not a lot of money out there with this recession thing and it’s hard to make it work. You have to find ways that end up really compromising your life. But if you want to do it, which is what I want to do… [conversation interrupted]

EU: Did you play Harvest of Hope last year?
MP: No, but we played in St. Augustine. Actually, one of my favorite shows of all time was in St. Augustine when we were more starting out. I got the worst sunburn of my life and didn’t remember playing the show. I guess we played well? The last thing I remember is this kind of litany of people describing ways to combat the sunburn. “Oh, you should take a bath in milk,” or “you should rub oatmeal all over yourself.” I ended up passing out from people talking to me, played the show and woke up the next morning.

EU: But you are playing HoH this year so is this cause something you feel particularly strong about?
MP: I’m into the festival. There’s other bands that are playing that I’m psyched about. I really love the Fruit Bats. But St. Augustine is like – I don’t know. The last time we played, it was fine but the problem was afterwards, we were hanging out having a really good time and then had to drive overnight to our next show. It’s like there’s always something promising about that place. It doesn’t feel like the rest of Florida, no offense to the rest of Florida. I kind of like Florida because there’s just nothing like it in the rest of the country. You know you’re in Florida, you know?

EU: What do you have planned in the near future?
MP: The record comes out, we tour, tour, tour. I’m still playing when I can with this other band, the Wooden Birds which I love a lot. We recorded all this stuff in the cabin and it seemed like we weren’t doing anything, just recording and working on songs. Now we’re actually starting to really practice and we’re about to do a bunch of things. I guess I need to be physically doing something to feel like I’m doing something which I’m about to do. It’s a good feeling.