Concert Crap: The story behind your band name is pretty cool, you came up with it because these island that are sometimes visible and sometimes aren’t. How does that story work it’s way into your music?
Matt Blankenship JR.: It’s about being open to change! The reset button isn’t always a bad thing. I’m trying to do something new every time I write a song. A name like “The Sometimes Island” keeps me within a theme, which is music that should be played by a pool, or make you feel like it’s summer. Perhaps in the future I’ll do a winter island record? I want to constantly reinvent myself, and the name means exactly that.
CC: You have a new EP coming out next month called Bad People which is your first release under The Sometimes Island. How are you feeling about that?
MB: Excited, and a little proud — which is kind of a first for me. I’ve been such a perfectionist all my life, and that pretty much has guaranteed that before, I’m always a little disappointed with my music. This EP is by no means perfect, but I really like it. It’s got a sound to it, it sticks in your head. I’m super excited to see how everyone else hears it!
CC: I read that you played all the instruments and produced the whole EP on your own. How does the writing process work for you?
MB: I write songs in my head and record them on voice notes. I try to stay away from writing with instruments for as long as possible, to keep the idea pure. My phone is full of humming beatboxes that probably only make sense to me. When I hear them, I get back in the headspace of the song and can hear it in it’s entirety. The rest is just translating the idea into a reality. Once the song is living in the real world, I don’t get precious with it, experiment with tons of instruments, and embrace the doors that making mistakes open.
CC: “Cant Move On” is the latest song to be released from the EP. What’s the story behind the song?
MB: Oh man. It’s a breakup song. It’s based on two of my very good friends. When you’re indirectly involved and hear both sides of the story, you begin to notice something about acrimonious breakups: they’re never your fault. It’s later on that you get some perspective, but still you may never totally understand why it happened. At least that’s what this song says. It’s a snapshot of a time, it’s sort of sad — so obviously I wrote it as this happy, catchy pop song. Juxtaposition always feels good.
CC: You have a lot of experience performing as the frontman of other bands. Is doing The Sometimes Island more pressure on you because your by yourself or is it easier?
MB: It’s much harder. The positives are really nice — there’s an incredible musical freedom in working alone, and I never have to compromise. On the other hand, I really miss the feeling of being in a band! The teamwork, the group mind, the inside jokes…it’s easier to stay well-rounded in a band. Responsibilities can be delegated and more can be accomplished in a day. The Sometimes Island is harder to do, but I’ve always felt the difficult things were the ones most worth doing, and I can literally hear the results.
CC: What have you been listening to lately?
MB: Khruangbin are an amazing up and coming band with roots in Thai 60’s music, reimagining funky oldies. I’m in love. If I’m high energy, I’ll put La Femme on and reminisce about mosh pits. If I’m cooking or cleaning, I love to light incense and listen to an endless mix of African funk or Motown. Also, I like rest my ears from making music all the time and put on podcasts like The Great Debates or Freakonomics Radio.
All questions answered by Matt Blankenship JR.
Post and interview by Madeline Cronin
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