INTERVIEW: Dante Matas

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

Hi, thanks for having me! I’ve been mostly good. Had a bit of a crazy summer full of unexpected challenges and changes but music has been keeping me sane. Just came back from a nice end of summer cottage time with some friends so I’m feeling ready for whatever comes next.

 Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Talking To Yourself”?

“Talking To Yourself” is actually a song I started writing many years ago on a family vacation to Croatia that I left without lyrics for the longest time. As soon I had the idea to have the narrator of the song talk to themselves the lyrics just flowed out. One thing that I’m really proud of in the song is the collage of motivational quotes during the bridge. I wanted to convey the sense that a lot of people had important things to say but didn’t really care about what anyone else was saying. Considering that motivational quotes are so extremely optimistic there is no reason why a whole bunch of them speaking over each other should sound eerie and unnerving but somehow that is exactly what happens.

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

No particular event inspired me but I had been thinking a lot about how songwriters often use the pronoun “you” in their lyrics while actually referring to themselves in second person. Often there are songs about consoling others that are really more about the songwriter saying what they wish someone would say to them. I think people talk like that in everyday conversation as well, not just songwriters writing music. So I wanted to try to make it obvious that the “you” in this song is really the same character as the “I”. That idea to blur the lines between the speaker and listener was what really inspired the song.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I will be releasing a professionally shot live performance of “Talking To Yourself” with my band in October. We filmed it at the Root Down in Toronto along with another song called “A Colourful Headache” from my last record. I’m stoked for people to see the videos because we often rearrange the songs live and I think it will give people another way to experience the music. The recordings I do are usually 90% me playing different instruments so I think it’s about time to show off the rest of the band. These will be our first professionally shot videos so I’m very excited to release them next month!

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was running very smoothly up until we were about to record my guitarist Omar’s part when suddenly the studio we were in started flooding and we had to lift all the amps and keyboards and equipment up onto stools before the water got up almost to our knees. It was a very strange feeling going from creative mode to crisis mode in a matter a seconds. That night sort of derailed the momentum we had going for a little while as the studio was then out of commission for a few months. Eventually we picked it back up but ended up having to redo most of it anyway because I spontaneously decided the last chorus should be in a different key to the rest of the song. Recording is always an eventful time for me.

 What role does Toronto play in your music?

Well I think we have a really amazing music scene here in Toronto. There are so many great venues to play at for people at all stages of their musical careers and so many fantastic acts to put on shows with. I love going to see shows and festivals as well. There is a really wide-ranging musical community here that is only getting bigger but somehow it all still feels homegrown and inviting. People are always happy to collaborate and work together on projects so I think it’s an awesome place to be a musician.

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

You can always expect new material from me but “Talking To Yourself” will probably just remain a non-album single. I love albums but I think right now the in the musical landscape, at least for musicians in my position, it doesn’t really makes sense to release them. I really like the idea of releasing singles and EPs for a while. It allows me to release music more frequently and to experiment with mixing different genres and styles. Currently I’m working on new music that I expect to put out constantly throughout 2020.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

For new music, probably January or February of next year and then every few months after that. For live videos, October of this year!

 What other aspects of human emotion will you keep diving into this new material?

 I mean there is an endless amount of human emotion to go through. A lot of my songs are about communication or miscommunication amongst people so I’ll probably keep exploring that. I find lyrics to be one of the hardest parts about making music because, at least for me, there is no way to rush them and still get something good. I find that if I don’t get 90% of the words done in the first draft, it can take months to finish a set of lyrics properly. I don’t mind that on one hand, because there is a sense of inevitability to it, but sometimes I’m really in the mood to record some vocals and I don’t have any completed lyrics to sing! I need to have lyrics that resonate emotionally with me otherwise the conviction behind my voice just falls apart. So ultimately I don’t know what other aspects of human emotion I will keep diving into just yet, but I do know that it’s inevitable that it will happen eventually.

Any plans to hit the road?

Possibly next year. I’d like to tour the states and Europe with my band some time soon!

What else is happening next in Dante Matas’ world?

I’m always working on new music and playing live with my band. We are playing at The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto on Sept 28th and those are always fun gigs because we get to play a few longer sets which is nice. Can’t wait to put out those live videos and release more music!

Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/dante-matas/talking-to-yourself

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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