Interviews:: Matt Pryor of the New Amsterdams


Matt Pryor and the New Ams are back with a new record - The Foot of My Rival (review here) - so what better time to chat with the rocker.

HH:: You've had a busy few years - two records, the re-release of the EP and the Terrible Two's work. Is this a direct result of finding a comfort level with your situation as a solo artist and in life in general or just simply finally having the time to sit down and write more at home?
MP:: Well, I'm kinda trying to get out of the habit of touring unless I absolutely have to. I'm a stay-at-home dad with three kids so leaving town is really difficult. But, I have all this energy and this need to do something productive. Recording is something I can do at home while the kids are asleep. So... that's what I do.

HH:: You've been touring and writing for the better part of 12 years. How much has the music industry changed in your mind, and do you find it easier or harder to exist as a musician in today's market? And do you find it hard to want to get into the van, leaving your family and playing shows?
MP:: I think that the industry has changed in the sense that it's a lot easier to start a band and get your name out, but the flip side of that is that there are so many other people doing that the public has to sift through a lot more stuff to find something really good. It makes you have to up the ante and try and do something great which is always a positive thing. So, to answer your question, it's both easier and harder and neither. It kinda balances itself out. Also, I hate touring. I love performing, but the other 22 and 1/2 hours are hard for me. When I was 18 it was like an adventure but at 30 that side of it really feels like a "job".

HH:: The new record is a really good combination of sparse acoustic, and surprisingly full arrangements. I know most artist who go into a solo project really like the control and pace of writing alone, but the instrumentation really adds to a lot of emotion and tone to the songs on the record. How much influence does the band have on the songs and your writing process?
MP:: It depends on the song. Most of these songs were things that I knew the better part of the arrangement and then let the guys add what they want and then we edit it down from there. It takes a long time but it's worth it I think.

HH:: You seem to have found a nice home at Curb Appeal records. How does it feel to be back on a small label, with the time to support your project fully?
MP:: I really enjoy it. I had a long and fruitful relationship with Vagrant and ultimately I asked to leave and they let me go which most labels would not have done. I want to put out my own records and this is the right place for me to do that right now.

HH:: One thing I noticed when you played here in Vancouver was you and the band seemed to be having a great time, laughing, joking (the Guitarkansas antics come to mind) and I wonder how it feels to be back making music that makes you happy? And more importantly, will you be heading back here anytime soon?
MP:: I don't remember what the Guitarkansas antics were (ED note: the were laughing about some head nodding, and it evolved into a discussion about GG Allen and GE Smith - funny stuff). I do remember we were really really late getting to that show. I really enjoy playing with these guys. We try to keep it fresh with new arrangements of songs and stuff which really helps. I don't know when we'll make it back to Vancouver. Hopefully spring, I do love it up there.

HH:: One last question - where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still writing music?
MP:: I plan to still be writing and recording music in 5 years. The five year plan includes more traveling at that point because my kids will all be a little older. You can't really take an 8 month old into a smoky rock club.

MP3:: Silverlake (downloadable from myspace with a few other tracks)


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