The Norman Transcript

Sound Advice by Doug Hill

June 24, 2013

Indie rock hero Matt Pond playing Opolis Sunday

Matt Pond performing at Opolis Sunday

By Doug Hill

“I put everything I can into our live shows,” Matt Pond said. “We’ll have a full five piece band for the Opolis show and we push the songs a little more forward when we play them live.”

The New Hampshire native’s tunes lend themselves to being vibrant. Pond is a prolific writer and just released his 10th LP since 1998 titled “The Lives Inside the Lines of Your Hand.” He’s also put out 9 EPs during those 15 years.

“I’m trying to write another album always,” he said.

Pond plays an emotionally vulnerable upbeat pop music that’s been tapped for use on TV show soundtracks such as “The O.C.” and “Chuck” and the film “Lebanon, PA.” He scored a sale of composition “Snow Day” that was used in a Starbucks commercial.

If or when “indie rock” is included in Webster’s Dictionary it should read “See Matt Pond.” His sound has the genre’s defining qualities of crafty sensitivity, lyrical focus on relationships and slight nods to grandpappy rock 'n' roll.

“We get excited playing live and we have these amplifiers, why not turn them up,” he said.

Pond’s learned over the years that every club sounds different, monitors are an uncontrollable frustration and odd human behavior is unpredictable.

“On our last tour for some reason, someone in LA set off a smoke machine that was so strong we couldn’t see each other on stage,” Pond said. “It’s like a constant ‘Spinal Tap’ sometimes and all we could do is laugh. I love doing this though and feel lucky that people want to see us so I’ve learned to accept things the way they are.”   

“We start our intense practice sessions next week and then leave for Texas where the tour starts. Opolis is the fourth show,” he said.

Their show dates extend over three weeks.

“That’s not too long on the road,” he said. “It’s usually after 3 weeks that people start getting crazy and melting down.”

Pond doesn’t stay still even when he’s off tour. Associated closely with Philadelphia, Pa., as home base, the thirty-something has also resided in Brooklyn, N.Y., and St. Augustine, Fla., during his career.

“Transience has been giving me creative inspiration lately,” Pond said. “How you start life in places and then that life ends and you move to another place. It’s a constant string of goodbyes.”

He described a painful coping process with not having constancy and that it’s something he wants to leave in the past. Farewells inform his love life.

“I don’t want my writing to be dark and can pull it back from that, but I definitely want more stability in my life,” he said.

Accumulating objects wherever he stays is inevitable and record collections are lost with each break-up.

“It’s good in a way because then I’m forced to buy new music,” he said. “At least it makes for a strong album when I’m writing through the frustration.”

Pond’s guitars and amps are frequently left in storage.

“I’m frustrated with my song writing process right now and I know instability is causing the gears to grind against each other,” he said.

A few years ago Pond fractured his leg while on tour. He’d been playfully wrestling around after a gig.

“It had been a good show and I was excited but I don’t wrestle as much anymore,” he said. “There’s too much metal in my leg for that. It was only the third show in a really long tour and then I broke my leg.”

He had surgery and then a few days later they played in Brooklyn. Pond played in pain but he reckons the tour was worth it. He learned something about his personal resolve and motivations. It was a “Why Man Creates” moment for him.

“It proved that this is something I really enjoy doing,” he said. “I want to work really hard to play shows and it was intense but I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.”

Pond is a long distance runner and the painful experience also cut into another of his life’s passions. But he didn’t let the injury curtail that activity for long either.

“If everything else is wrong you can just go for a run and put things out of your mind,” he said.

Hear this marathon of strength, love and vulnerability in Pond’s songs Sunday evening.

If You Go

What: Matt Pond Band and Matrimony in concert

Where: Opolis, 113 N. Crawford Ave.

When: 8 p.m. June 30

Cost: $10    

Matt Pond's creative drive causes him to always be working on a new album of songs.

 

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Sound Advice by Doug Hill