Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Dante Matas, who discusses his new Midnight Sun EP, detailing its creative process, influences and goals.
About the EP:
Midnight Sun is about conflicts and resolutions between people. Itâ€™s about fully embracing one side of human emotion while trying to understand itâ€™s opposite from that perspective. In other words, the songs that sound hopeless come from a place thatâ€™s hopeful and vice versa.
Review Fix: HowÂ didÂ youÂ get started in music?
Dante Matas: I started learning piano when I was around 7. I had only ever heard classical music until I was 12 and I would write these little instrumental songs without really any knowledge of how music worked. It was a lot of fun. I picked up the guitar when I was 12 and starting writing songs with chords and lyrics that were more influenced by rock and pop music from a bunch of different eras (mostly 60s, 70s, 90s, but Iâ€™ve grown to love them all). That was also a lot of fun.
Review Fix: What makes you unique?
Matas: I think I try really hard to not be unique in any way just to be different and maybe it works. But for a more real answer: I have no idea. I play a lot of instruments and spend years writing songs and recording them over and over to get them right. I think a lot of people do that though so Iâ€™m really just copying them. Sometimes songwriters avoid complexity for fear that it might confuse the listener. I definitely do not do that. In my mind, things can be catchy and can come across as simple even if in reality there is a lot going on. Sometimes that makes songs special. Maybe that makes me unique? I have no clue.
Review Fix: What groups inspire you?
Matas: I like Radiohead, The Beatles, Fleet Foxes, Prince, The Magnetic Fields, Tame Impala, Abba, Elliott Smith, Judee Sill, Simon and Garfunkel, Wilco, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, Debussy. I mean, this list could go on forever actually.
For lyrics, in particular, I like Leonard Cohen, Fiona Apple, Tom Waits, and Bob Dylan.
Review Fix: What makes this EP special?
Matas: Itâ€™s a collection of songs that were all written at completely different times but they somehow all fit together. The oldest song is something I had been working on for almost 5 years and the most recent song was written and recorded about a month before I sent it into mastering! I guess that means the EP covers a lot of changes in my life and the world around me. Each song says a little bit about a lot of different things. Itâ€™s also special to me in particular just because itâ€™s the first time ever that I am relatively satisfied with how the recordings do justice to the songs!
Review Fix: HowÂ was the standout song in the EP written?
Matas: The song â€œMidnight Sunâ€ was written in one day, which is very rare for me. Well, everything except the title. It was meant to reflect on a moment in an imagined future where you are reminiscing about the past. It was going to be called â€œFuture Nostalgiaâ€ but I was walking home one day and I saw band posters all over this wall with that exact title (I think it was for The Sheepdogs?). So I scrapped that idea and left it for a while. Then one day I was randomly listening to Louis Prima and in this one song he just starts speak-singing and he says something about hanging a bucket of goldfish legs on a skyhook in the midnight sun. I thought that was so cool and it made me realize that a midnight sun is a real thing and that it somehow perfectly encapsulated what I was already saying in the song. So I changed the title. Thatâ€™s literally how it happened.
Review Fix: What was it like to work with Igor Vrabac?
Matas: Igor was great, he primarily does film scores and is classically trained so he really understands the drama of music and helps bring that out in my songs. I basically brought him what I thought were the finished songs but we ended up remixing them together and taking out a bunch of unnecessary parts. He really helped me learn how to not overthink things too much with recordings, and also to commit to the decisions you make.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Matas: Right now I am playing live more often than I ever have, and Iâ€™m putting together a band to play the new material I have been working on. My plan is to finish recording an entire LP by the end of the summer. Itâ€™s a bit ambitious considering it took me a year and a half to finish Midnight Sun and thatâ€™s only 5 songs, but for some reason I think itâ€™s going to happen. The new stuff is very different, but itâ€™ll still sound like me. Iâ€™m really excited about it!
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Matas: Pretty much looking to book some tours, record some music, make some music videos, maybe learn how to scuba dive, and conquer any debilitating self-doubt that might get in the way. Iâ€™m sure it will all work out!