MATTHEW DE VER made his entry on the blog and in no time, stole the Song of Month top spot in May with single ‘The Gift and The Wound’. NEW LEASE MUSIC had a little chat with him about the meaning behind the boom bap-inspired single, his plans for the rest of this year – and his thoughts on the music industry today.
NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How’s life treating you?
MDV: My pleasure. Happy to do it. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a bunch of new songwriters that are challenging and inspiring me to go deeper into the craft of songwriting. It’s been super rewarding to flex that muscle after writing on my own for the past chunk of years. Life is good, I’ve been feeling clear and focused lately and I have a brand new music video coming out very soon….
NLM: You released your debut single’ The Gift and The Wound’ plus visuals In February. What was the public reception on both productions?
MDV: It’s been great so far. Slowly finding like-minded listeners and building step by step towards the release of my upcoming album: Surface Tension (a tincture for integrating shadow). I’m learning a lot from all the feedback and taking notes for future releases. My music doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre box so when people get the vibe it’s a great feeling. I spent so long without any social media presence that it’s strange and surreal to be engaging with folks online. The creation of the music and the sharing of the music are very different facets of the work and I want to show up and be present for both. I’m doing my best to let the love in.
NLM: What was your inspiration for writing the single?
MDV: ‘The Gift & The Wound’ is inspired by growing up in Madison, WI. Specifically, I wanted to capture what it felt like driving around with my friends in high school, partying, getting into trouble & the feelings of first loves. There’s a warmth there with a subtle hint of mystery and grief beneath the surface. It’s a prelude to darker and deeper themes that I explore in the album. Over the course of the album, I explore a period of time after my dad’s death and when my mom was struggling with alcoholism. My aim was to make something beautiful out of an incredibly challenging time in my life.
NLM: How was the filming process for the video?
MDV: Filming the video was a lot of fun. I was going for a lo-fi, nostalgic, home movie vibe so we shot the entire video using only an iPad and natural light. All the locations were spots in Madison, WI where I spent a lot of time growing up and that held resonance and meaning for me. It was cool to revisit them as an adult and see them in the context of healing and moving forward. When it was finished, there was a nice balance of elements (water, fire, earth, air) that I wasn’t consciously expecting when we started filming.
NLM: So how would you describe your sound to potential fans?
MDV: That’s a tough question! It’s groove based music with a an emphasis on lyricism & emotional depth. There are elements of jazz, funk, psychedelic pop and hip-hop. I had a powerful insight a few years ago about music being a carrier of intention and meaning. I felt like I had to make a conscious choice about where my music was coming from and what the essence would be. So, for me, it’s healing music, spiritual music, heart music. Hopefully some of that comes through to the listener.
NLM: If you had to collaborate with ONE mainstream artist, who would it be?
MDV: I would love to collaborate with Erykah Badu. Aside from being a big fan of her music for many years, I respect how she carries herself and how she’s navigated her career. From the outside, she seems to have a great balance of integrity without taking herself too seriously. It would be an honor to co-write, produce or perform something with her. I think we could geek out on some new-age healing shit too.
NLM: If you had three wishes to change the music industry today, what would they be?
MDV: 1) Higher resolution digital audio for streaming and download. The technology is available right now for us to enjoy much higher quality digital audio.
2) Fair streaming royalties for artists. I do think we’re going to get there eventually….
3) I’d like to hear more artists taking the risk to speak authentically through their music. When someone has a clear perspective and a unique take on life it really stands out to me.
NLM: So what are your plans for this year?
MDV: I’ve got a nice flow going on right now with releasing music and working on new material. The next step is putting together a live show with all the great musicians who worked on this album. It’s looking like mid July will be when we start gigging. Aside from my own music, I’m producing and co-writing with and for other artists.
NLM: How can potential fans make contact with you?
MDV: The best way is through my website & socials:
NLM: Finally, if music didn’t exist, what profession would you do?
MDV: I think I would be doing some form of visual art. When I was younger I did a lot of drawing, painting & metal sculpture, which I really enjoyed. In high school I even thought about going to college for visual art, but life took me in another direction. Like music, it allowed me to enter that meditative state of creation. Whatever else I did would have to include that experience of creating. Being in my body and out of my head.