EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Fowler Debuts Video for "Blankets"
Floridian folkie Matthew Fowler is debuting the video for his new single, "Blankets," at AcousticGuitar.com.
We caught up with the 19-year-old at his home in Orlando, to discuss his new album, Beginning (Missing Piece).
The first line in "Blankets" is "I can’t wait to leave this place." Does that mean Orlando, Florida, specifically? What was it like growing up there?
I kind of hated growing up in Orlando. I always wished I was somewhere more exciting, maybe a big city somewhere. But getting older, I've grown to love the town. I have great friends here, my family is here, and I know all the little nooks and crannies. But that it also makes me more aware of what else is out there. When I sing "I can't wait to leave this place...", I'm coming from the literal sense of just leaving Orlando and exploring the country. At the time of writing the song, I hadn't really done any touring and I just physically couldn't wait to get out there and play in different cities. But it was also more of a commentary of where I was in music at the time. "Beginning" is my first album, my first recordings, my first attempt to make a go at it. So I couldn't wait to move on from the stagnation I found from not having any music available for people to actually listen to, apart from hearing me live. I felt that the progress I was making was negligible because, in my mind, I wasn't "official" yet. So that line, and really the rest of the song, deals with that relief and excitement about finally getting out there and going for it!
You recorded the album in the kitchen of your parents' home. Were they always supportive of your decision to become a musician?
A:Honestly, I got really lucky. My parents are extremely supportive. I think it's because I never made music a casual thing, I was always pretty serious about playing and performing, and they could see that. I mean, in the throws of recording and having equipment and coffee cups everywhere, I put them through a lot more then they bargained for. And my parents do spend some time worrying about me and what this is going to be like in the long run, but I know they just want the best for me. Now, more then ever, they are really excited about the progress I've made and are 100% behind me; for which I'm extremely thankful. And yes, I'm totally scoring some mom points for this.
What kind of guitar do you play in the video?
The guitar I play in the video is a Yamaha FX335. It's the same guitar I recorded with on the album, and the same guitar I play out with live. It was the first guitar I ever got, my parents bought it for me for my 14th birthday. I've just played it so long that I know exactly how to get the sounds I want out of it.
Stylistically, who are your biggest influences.
My favorite musician is Glen Hansard. I think his approach to music is extraordinary, just extremely expressive and passionate. That's something I have definitely been influenced by, and something I've tried to emulate in my own style as often as I can. That generation of singer/songwriters was what I listened to when I was really getting into music and playing. Glen Hansard, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, and Ryan Adams led to Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Drake, which led to everything else in-between. There are so many opportunities to hear new music these days that it's hard not to soak up ideas from all across the board, not even necessarily in the same genre.
Overall, how would describe the process of making your first record?
Making Beginning was the first experience I had with recording. It was essentially recorded live with borrowed equipment and is extremely homemade, very impromptu, and one of the most gratifying experiences I've had. It was definitely a labor of love, and I basically taught myself quite a bit about mixing and recording by trial and error - take after take. But I'm really glad I did it that way because I had complete control over its successes and failures; something that was very important to me. I'm a big proponent of putting into something as much as you want to get out of it.
See more The Week in Acoustic Guitar: February 10 – February 16 articles.