NAC preview: Matt Mays, at 40, ready to get ‘weirder’

NAC Presents Matt Mays: Howl at the Night tour

with Skye Wallace

eight:30 p.m. Nov. three, Babs Asper Theatre, National Arts Centre

Canadian rocker Matt Mays is making his means throughout the nation on the primary theatre tour of his two-decade-plus profession. Dubbed Howl at the Night, the journey brings him and a full band to 18 cities, ending with two exhibits in hometown Halifax, and together with his first look at the National Arts Centre.

In this edited interview, the singer-songwriter-guitarist talks in regards to the tour, how his new single, Let There Be Love, got here out of his battle with anxiousness, and the liberating impact of turning 40.

Q: It’s typically a problem for artists to make the soar from taking part in golf equipment to theatres. What’s your secret? 

A: I feel it’s simply because I’ve been round so lengthy. This is my 20th fall tour. The first tour was 1999, touring throughout Canada with the Guthries. I’ve bought a very robust relationship with individuals who come to the exhibits, and it’s good they’re nonetheless popping out in spite of everything these years. We’ve had some actually particular occasions in all these cities we’ve been taking part in in for 20 years now. It’s nice that folks have stayed with me for therefore lengthy, they usually nonetheless come out … particularly Ottawa. It was our first city that actually began exhibiting up after Halifax. I’m grateful for that. 

Q: Do you get nervous when everyone seems to be sitting there quietly? 

A: Yeah, the silence is bizarre. The entire pin drop factor, it positively freaks me out nevertheless it additionally offers an opportunity for folks to pay attention to a number of the lyrics I’ve labored actually arduous on. When you’re in a membership, individuals are often a bit hosed, or speaking and it’s so loud. Don’t get me incorrect, I don’t need folks to assume it’s going to be a brilliant mellow quiet present as a result of we plan to go berserk in direction of the top as normal. It’s going to be loud and loopy and also you may not hear the lyrics. But it’s good that the songs that I need to come throughout, it’s lots simpler for me to try this when it’s quieter and folks can’t transfer to get up. I’ve sort of bought them there. 

Q: Are you bringing a band? 

A: Yeah, it’s the total eight-piece band. I’m taking part in the primary track solo, and we’re constructing the present, including a musician for every of the primary eight songs. Then the eight of us are going to play the remainder of it collectively, simply to crescendo the present. 

Q: Wow, that’s an enormous band. Why so many gamers? 

A: There’s a variety of elements in my tunes, and a variety of bands today use backing tracks, simply hit play on one thing. But I don’t need to try this. We’re all tremendous shut and we’ve all toured lots collectively this 12 months, and it’s one thing I’ve all the time wished to do the place no half is ignored, whether or not it’s some percussion or background vocals. It simply feels proper. 

Q: You simply launched a cool new track, Let There Be Love. What impressed it? 

A: A number of issues, together with buddies of mine who’re amazingly gifted and doing very well of their lives on the skin, however struggling and having a tough time determining life, as am I, and lots of people round me. As I journey, I discover I simply type of begin leaning on issues which are truly actual, like friendship and love, and particularly self-love, which is a troublesome one. Like lots of people, I endure from some fairly heavy-duty anxiousness, which is, I do know, ironic as a result of I’m the singer in a band. But I take care of that lots and I’m getting assist for it. 

Q: There are literally two variations of the track, one electrical and one acoustic, like your final album, Once Upon a Hell of a Time, and its acoustic counterpart. What’s the attraction of doubling your workload? 

A: I take into consideration music lots, and I’ve all the time been confused why a track has to find yourself a method and that has to be it for everyone. I feel the method of writing it and placing it down in time, that has to be an actual relationship, one on one, however after that, it may be executed 1,000,000 other ways, if it’s executed from the center. 

Q: Why launch the track now? Why not wait and put it on an album? 

A: I felt it was a superb time, I didn’t need to wait. I do know there’s a zillion love songs on the market, however this one, to me, has its personal sort of area of interest as a result of it’s about all of the totally different varieties of affection, not simply love between two folks. It’s in regards to the omnipresent love that we must always maintain nurturing and maintain the pilot gentle happening. 

Q: Sounds like a reminder that folks may use proper now. 

A: Yeah, we have now to remind ourselves to love ourselves and different folks as an alternative of our telephones. I deleted any account that made me really feel jealous or envious or anxious generally, and it modified my life. I didn’t even know I had anxiousness till I used to be 35. I fear about younger individuals who can’t even establish it but. Call it anxiousness, nervousness, worry, no matter you need to name it, it’s a particular feeling and it’s OK to have it. 

Q: Is an album within the works, too? 

A: Yeah, we’ll be getting within the studio this winter and get a document completed. I’ve bought a bunch of songs that I need to get out. I’ve been working 9-5 in two studios in Toronto so I’ve bought a variety of materials and the band is primed. I really feel tremendous liberated as an artist today. I’m simply going to launch a bunch of music and get bizarre, and go for it. 

Q: You turned 40 this 12 months. Is it doable you’ve grown up? 

A: (Laughs) Yeah, one thing sort of solidifies. To me, a variety of my heroes actually mellowed out after 40 however I simply need to get weirder, take extra probabilities in music. I feel perhaps it’s simply the occasions or no matter, however I really feel my eccentricities are beginning to present themselves extra. There’s no dampers on any of it. I’m not afraid to say no or sure. It’s actually a pleasant feeling, discovering myself somewhat deeper. 

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