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INTERVIEW: Matt Ellis

Hi Matt, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Great thanks. Looking forward to sharing some new music with you.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single, “They Don’t Make Em Like They Used To”?

This new one is actually a duet with Paul Chesne. It’s a mid-tempo Americana track soaked in Pedal Steel and Telecaster with a light hearted lyric about a truth both Chesne and I relate to.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The losses we’ve experienced in music through recent years were the basic inspiration for the track. I mean who’s there to fill the void left by Prince, B.B. King, David Bowie and Merle Haggard?

How was the filming experience?

We were lucky to work with an incredible crew that managed to shoot the whole clip in one day. The concept came from a close friend, J.D. Narro, who shot the cover art. We had a tiny budget for this big idea, but this crew rallied and we pulled it off somehow. Huge props to Daniel Elkayam, who shot, directed and edited most of the clip and Production Designer, Jodi Ginnever, who turned my garage into that incredible set.

How was the recording and writing process?

The first sign of the song came from writing sessions for my 6th album. I couldn’t move past the idea and knew something was there, but it was starting to sound a little negative. I played what I had to Paul and asked him to help me finish the lyrics. I was pretty sure his wit would help steer it back on track to something more lighthearted.

Around the same time I was looking at recording options for my next album and my drummer, Fernando Sanchez,  had recently set up a studio at his house, specifically to record drums and bass. “They Don’t Make ‘Em…” became my recording Guinea Pig and I ran with it. The drums and bass sounded great, so we grabbed Nick Luca (who’s played on and engineered parts of my last two records) to track electric guitars, pedal steel and vocals in a friends guest house. Acoustics were then tracked at another friends studio in Venice (Wolf at the door) and we were set. I had wanted to work with Nathan Sabatino for a while, so I jumped at the opportunity for him to mix. I’m so pleased with the result, this is the crew I hope to have on my next full length.

What was it like to work with Paul Chesne and how did that relationship develop?

We’ve been friends pretty much since I relocated from Australia back in 2005. We’re both based in the Venice area and often perform at the same shows.

How much did he get to influence the song?

The song wouldn’t be what it is without him. I had most of the structure down then he added to verses and created that outro. “It’s in the comments on the boob-tube” as he says.

What made you want to seek a classic sound for this track?

First off, that’s probably the highest compliment you could pay us! We both like to let songs speak for themselves and try to stay away from sounds that are going to date the song.

Does the new single mean we can expect more new material – how’s that coming along?

Paul and I are always writing. Not sure if anymore Ellis/Chesne tracks are on the horizon, but I’m currently recording my 6th album.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

I’m looking at getting the first single out by Spring 2017, so all shall be revealed then!

Any plans to hit the road?

I’m currently trying to focus on recording, but if the right opportunity came along, my bags can be packed in no time.

What else is happening next in Matt Ellis’ world?

I’m always open to working with other artists when I can. I’ve been lucky to produce two other great singer/songwriters EP’s and would love to do more of that. Besides that, I’m just trying to write and record as much as possible these days.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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