MT. JOY – Track by Track

Es klingt wie ein Märchen: eigentlich als kreative Spielwiese für die Bedroom-Recordings des Sänger und Songwriters Matt Quinn gedacht, startet das Bandprojekt Mt. Joy schon mit der Debüt-Single Astrovan durch, verzeichnet gefeierte Auftritte bei großen Festivals, touren im Vorprogramm von The Shins, Whitney oder The Head and The Heart und auch ihr selbstbetiteltes Debütalbum verzeichnet über 54 Millionen Streams! Dieses lebt von der Vielseitigkeit der Band, die sich mit jedem Genre anzufreunden scheinen kann – wobei man diese Unentschlossenheit im Punkt „eigener Sound“ auch als Negativpunkt anmerken kann. Und genau daran hat die Band nun bei ihrem Zweitwerk Rearrange Us gearbeitet und sich einem eingängigen, wie erdigen Folk-Pop-Anstrich verpasst, der an ähnlich geartete Bands wie The Lumineers oder Mumford & Sons erinnert. Produziert wurde das Album von niemand geringerem als Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, Modest Mouse). Zum heutigen Release hat die Band für uns ausführlich Rede und Antwort gestanden und ein Track by Track verfasst, in dem sie jeden Song noch mal durchleuchten!

1. Bug Eyes

This was a song that was rattling around my head for a while, and always felt thematically like the album opener. For me personally (and I know for all of us to some extent), the road this band has travelled has really challenged my personal life and often leaves me asking myself if I am okay or if I’ve just developed some deep cognitive dissonance that allows me to live this way under the guise of “following my dreams.” Sam and I went to Montana and worked on songs for a few days and the isolation up there led to this idea that we have sort of gone out on the range in life and it’s pretty isolating, but I’m learning to be at peace with it.

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2. Rearrange Us

This was a song I wrote towards the end of recording the first album. It was just me and an acoustic guitar. It didn’t make the record cause it just never quite had the arrangement it needed. One afternoon while we were recording, Jackie started playing those chords on piano with a beat from Sotiris. The interval was the same as rearrange us, I started fitting the lyrics in and everyone just kinda startedv jamming around until they found the riffs that ended up in the song. It was really cool to see the song come alive like that. Liz Vice added some killer harmonies. Tucker killed the production. It’s probably the most collaborative song on the record. We’re really proud of this one for that reason.

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3. Have Faith

This was a song I would sing in the shower — it just kind of came to my head one day, watching the decay of our society and feeling too much of the negativity the government and media sell. It never had any instrumentation. Sam found a key for it on guitar and laid the chords under it. He added that really sweet minor turn and then we knew it would be a cool vignette to put into a record. We were lucky to have Liz Vice in the studio that day. She has one of the most beautiful voices on the planet. She started singing on this and it came alive.

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4. My Vibe

The original title of this song was “My Vibe Your Vibe.” Sotiris showed me an idea he had created that was super bouncy and had the chords changing on the 2nd beat of each measure instead of the downbeat. I was simultaneously working on a very similar chord structure that changed over the downbeat. We decided it would be cool to combine the two ideas throughout the song hence “My Vibe Your Vibe.” I think that foundation creates a fun, wacky tune. The song is about letting go and living in the moment, and trying to let new people in your life if you think they can make you happy.

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5. Let Loose

This was another song that came from the fusion of two separate ideas. Sam and I sewed ideas from separate songs we had and it created one of my favorite songs on the record. It’s about wanting someone to put their foot down and not let love get away. I think the juxtaposition of lyrics and the jam make this a special tune, and one we can take a lot of places live.

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6. Every Holiday

Every Holiday is a song I wrote in my garage the day after Christmas. I was just feeling the weight of a failing relationship and what feels like a society that’s caving in on itself. The holidays just juxtapose sadness in a beautiful way. There’s a blue feeling that comes with the holidays; the recognition of loss, unspoken competition/familial pressure, and just the frozen gray landscape of a Philly winter. There’s plenty of joy, but I just was feeling a heaviness in my life and music has always been the outlet for that. I took what I had of the song and showed it to my friend Adam Melchor and he added his beauty to it including the piano part and some gorgeous harmonies. The song just sort of came alive from there. We actually worked on the song in a really magical writing space full of amazing art in our friend Willie’s grandparents’ house. We decided there that the song would be best just recorded live just the two of us, so we did that in Portland with Tucker. Tucker had the idea to add horns and they did an incredible job. It’s maybe the song I’m most proud of as a writer on the record.

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7. Come With Me

This is just a fun classic rock and roll type song we had been messing around with for a while. At first, it was too straight forward, and we wanted to mess it up a little bit. Sotiris found this cool half time vibe for the second verse that worked really well. Jackie added some wacky piano stuff, Adam Melchor lent some backing vocals to the end section and we all kinda added different flavors/utilized Tucker and his studio to make it weird. It’s another really fun one to play live.

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8. Death

This was a song I wrote about going through the motions in life and isolating myself when I get down. Sometimes during this process it’s felt like the music thing was the only part of my life that was actually working. It can be hard to re-engage and really be present when I’m off tour. I’m not suicidal, but I think we’re constantly being reminded of our mortality and at times I’m at least aware of the peace that comes with death. I was hoping this song would remind people and myself that there are so many family members/friends here on earth that want to help us find our peace, and there really is so much beauty here, especially when you let people help you.

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9. Acrobats

Acrobats started with my intro guitar and turned into our most collective band effort on the record. It was a song we’d had for a while and played with but could never find an arrangement that felt right. We shelved it for a while and when we revisited it, we found an arrangement where Sotiris’ unique drumming took it to another level and Matt’s vocals acted more like another instrument. It’s a slight departure from our typical sound but it is still feels very genuinely us.

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10. Witness

This was a song I had been writing mostly on the road during the first album cycle. I really wanted my relationship that I’d been in for many years to work, but being on the road I always wanted someone to see some of the things that were happening. It felt lonely to succeed in a vacuum. The relationship didn’t work out. But this to me will always be a song that was created just looking out a van window and thinking about my life. The second half of the song was sort of stitched in after watching a band member go through a bad experience. It just seemed like a perfect dark twist to a song that wanted to go somewhere dark. The real power of loving someone is that no matter how much they hurt you your love for them is still inside your body and there’s really no way to change that. So, “I’m ready to love you still” was a line I had wanted to stick into a song, and it fit so well here.

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11. Us

I sat down with my guitar the day I got broken up with, and this just poured out in about 20 minutes. I realized pretty early on that it walks itself right into the opening guitar line in Become.

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12. Become

This is a song about being on the road and feeling like you’re living your life in outer space. It originally went into a jam that we turned into the song Strangers.

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13. Strangers

This was a song that was originally a jam. Sam and I took a little bit of acid and were jamming out some ideas. We called Jackie over. She opted for red wine and was just playing around when she played the melody that opens the song. We stopped her and were both like “THAT” … I ended up molding it into its own song, and it became a break up anthem about trying to find excitement in the unknown while cherishing what you had.

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Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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