Pic by Collin Richie

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

I’ve been great! How about yourself? Working on some awesome new music and getting settled in Atlanta. 

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “The Loneliest Man In The World”?

Sure, it’s the third single and the last song on our latest album Everest. 

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

I think it was originally inspired by the struggle my wife was having with grad school, and perhaps mixed with my struggles as a musician. 

Our Everest Collaborator Vincent Cellucci, my wife and myself all infused this song with our own struggles with depression. 

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The production company Screaming Shih-Tzu Productions, a crew of 3, and we took a long weekend, went to Pensacola Beach, rented a house, and got up at the butt crack of dawn each day working until almost noon filming non-stop. They painstakingly made the cart instrument and the monster and we had a drone for all the overhead shots. 

The single comes off your new album Everest – why taking so long on releasing this material?

When we were doing the indiegogo to fund Everest the Screaming Shih Tzu Production company agreed to help us with our crowdfunding video and in return we would hire them to do a music video for one of the songs. We allowed them to pick the song and come up with the concept. It just took that long for us all to get everything together, get our schedules aligned and for everything to be done. We want everything we do to be of high quality and sometimes that takes time. 

How did time serve as an advantage for the album?

Well, being an independent band we don’t have any deadlines to meet but we also don’t have a large budget. So to get the quality product we feel comfortable sharing, it takes time. But I think that the extra time helps breathe fresh air into the project and keeps me and everyone else involved from getting burnt out. Like air to a fire.

What’s the story behind the title?

“The Loneliest Man In The World” is straight ripped from the lyrics – It’s the sentiment of feeling at the ending coda of the song. 

The album “Everest” was named for several reasons:

1) this was my most challenging album to date was much like my own Everest for me to climb.

2) my favorite band is The Beatles and at one time their last album Abbey Road was going to be called “Everest”, after the cigarettes that George smoked but they were going to go to the foot of Everest and shoot the album cover but their schedules and time conflicts led them to walk outside to make that iconic photo and name it Abbey road instead – So I took the name. 

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process was easy at first, I had all these demos I had written that all were more upbeat and dancy but became more difficult as I tried to alter them to make them a little more weird, and trying to do different structure and chords than I would naturally do. Then lyrically it was VERY HARD, I kept getting stuck and saying the same thing in every song and was very displeased. I then decided I had to find someone to collaborate with, so taking cues from Brian Wilson, I contacted a local poet that I had met at an art event and asked him if he’d want to be involved. As soon as we started writing together everything came together so fast! For recording we recorded the drums, bass and rhythm guitar live at the famous Studio in The Country in Bogalusa, LA in hopes to capture the energy of a live band, The synths and electronic drums with someone I’ve always wanted to work with, Ronnie Martin of Joy Electric/Said Fantasy/Foxglove Hunt. He recorded his parts in Ohio and sent them to me through the mail, and then the lead guitars, vocals, percussion, and all other overdubs were finished in Orlando, LA and Baton Rouge, LA. 

Was the production always meant to be this full-packed?

I have trouble always over producing things. I really wanted this album to be more sparse but the further we got into it , I saw it needed more layers to tell the story it was mean to tell. 

How did all these people come on board?

The luxury of running this band as a collective is that I can have anyone I want play on any given album or song. I typically try to figure out what the tone and vision is for each project and try to figure out who would best service that. In this case I felt the songs were more dancy, more pop, I felt like this album was leaning toward 80’s synth pop meets 90s garage rock. The drummer was my buddy Andrew Linton that I had played live with for 4 years but never recorded with, the bass player was Ben White, the original bass player for Pacifico we hadn’t worked together in about 12 years, the lead guitarist was my right hand man CJ Mask, he has played lead and been engineer for the last 2 Pacifico albums, and synths was Ronnie Martin, an old friend that is a synthesizer master, we have always wanted to work together but hadn’t found the right project. So glad we finally have. Everyone of these beautiful people helped add the right ingredients to make this album amazing! 

Was the approach for this record then any different?

Most definitely. I still recorded it in a patchwork production style doing it in pieces with people all over in different studios but focusing on new songs, new chord changes, different arrangements, and definitely trying to make the lyrics more poetic were all very new and different for us. 

What aspect of depression did you get to explore on this record?

Every song on Everest certainly deals with some real issue in life though “The Loneliest Man In The World” is really the only song on this album that tackles depression. We likened depression, as well as tying in the struggles of being an entertainer to being stranded on a deserted island, the isolation, the loneliness, feeling defeated. Even when deciding to change your fate by swimming away we show how hard the waves can be, beating us down trying to lull us back to the island.

What made you to tackle on this dark themes?

I had for MONTHS been singing, “I am the loneliest man” and when trying to think about what the song was about I knew it should be about depression. I want to write about experiences that we all go through and with 1 in 10 people having depression I think it’s important to bring that to light, let people know they aren’t alone. I myself loved Nirvana for that very reason. 

Did you have second thoughts on touch on this topics?

I rarely will second-guess songs because they usually come to me so suddenly and honestly. And I want to be transparent and real so the only songs I might second-guess are those that are not open, honest, real or transparent.

Watch here

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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