Photo Credit: Julio Bedoya

INTERVIEW: NYC’s Matt Gibbons

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

You know, I’ve been great. Since COVID-19 hit in March I’ve spent probably 300% more time with loved ones and eaten 300% more donuts. In my house, that’s how we deal with stress. We feed each other. It’s like a comic version of heaven. If we had little wings and white fluffy couches, the image would be complete. The donuts are gonna kill me though. I hope they have good coffee in heaven.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “We Should Be United”? 

Sure. I was sitting watching the DNC on TV, and I knew I had this song and that I had already tried to promote it in 2018. Yet, there I was, hearing that the Democratic Party of the U.S. had adopted the same theme that’s in the song…I’m promoting it way harder now. To me, unity doesn’t mean everyone becomes the same. It means, as we are, with an extra good measure of tolerance, we work together. I really wish for the U.S. to celebrate its diversity, even if that means acknowledging seemingly small accomplishments at first. I use “seemingly” very intentionally here. I mean we are a nation of 300 million people, and most of us get along. That is not small. We are doing well.

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

Not one event. Many, many. I used to write songs with a childhood friend, and she was black and a girl. And from an external point of view, she was about as “other” as it can get for two kids. Yet our friendship over making songs was heaven. And then one day, decades later, I’m wondering why I’m not in heaven more often. It takes courage to get there. 

I’m concerned about people in the United States. I think that habits of thinking and feeling about people who seem “different“ can turn into intolerance or even racism. Negative thoughts and feelings just occur in every person, on all kinds of subjects. I think that’s a fact of life. Yet we Americans already have a lot of wisdom to guide us out of this predicament. You can hear it in this great old song called “Accentuate the Positive.”  It says, “You’ve got to emphasize the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess around with Mr. in-between.” Ideally, instead of focusing on what makes us different, our American union will get stronger when we focus on what we have in common, which can help us better understand each other.

I’m really concerned about peoples’ emotional states when they talk about politics too. Watching people wanting to kill other people or annihilate the other’s point of view is scary. I really think understanding is the way to go. All sides have to be heard, yet if there’s no understanding, then there’s only a house divided. If you can, try to see the heart of the other and bear with him. That’s a lot about what this song is about too.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video? 

Unbelievably easy! Lol! I suppose the hardest part was earning the money to pay for it. I work a full-time job. I want to do it again, and be in the video myself next time.

How was the recording and writing process? 

Writing it was extremely easy. It came out quick in 2013 and it stuck. The rap was the same, five years later, but it was notably energizing! My buddy, Tony, said, “You should rap,” and I knew I was scared to, which meant he was right. When I recorded the song with Cliff Hackford in Myrtle Beach, the rap was the easiest vocal part to do! I travelled down a second time to sing it again and to add harmony, but that rap came out the way you hear it now in one take, on the first trip. Working with Cliff is great.

What role does NYC play in your music? 

NYC banged me around a lot, and it was also very good to me. There is so much beauty in the city. I mean, have you ever stepped inside the entrance of Saint John the Divine cathedral? Or have you ever eaten at The Boat House in Central Park in the fall? Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a crowd dancing at the Apollo Theater? It’s all gone into my character and into my lyrics as well. I recorded a song called “You’re a Lover” once—that has a verse about meeting my love on the A train. Two other Matt Gibbons songs called “I’m a Little Bit Punk” and “Moonfish” feature New York City as well (they’re on iTunes). I was an NYC tour guide and I got to play one for an English TV show called “Saturday Night Takeaway.” Season 12 finale, I think. It was a lot of fun!

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

YupWell.

Any tentative release date or title in mind? 

Late October. Watch Facebook @MattGibbonsMusic. I want to release a song I’ve already recorded called “The Secret” to all major streaming platforms. Get people in a deep, thoughtful mood.

What else is happening next in Matt Gibbons’ world? 

I really want to play live again and grow my fan base. I can’t wait until it’s safe! I also plan to post recorded performances on Facebook @MattGibbonsmusic and on my YouTube channel @MatthewGibbons. There are also a number of songs cooking, but which aren’t done yet. I hope to turn up the oven and cook ‘em up right.

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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