For over a decade, Matthew Logan Vasquez has been kicking ass and taking names with the likes of Delta Spirit and Middle Brother (who, by the way, will be reuniting at Newport Folk Festival this summer.) After all those years and miles, MLV has finally dropped a solo album on us during a break from Delta and after the birth of his first child.
Don’t let that fool you though, this is no one-man show and you won’t find MLV’s latest an album full of slow-paced tear jerkers. For Solicitor Returns, Vasquez has taken the reigns on just about every aspect of the process and the result is just as buzzy and energetic as anything he’s ever done.
We got a chance to run a few questions by the man himself before his show at the truly intimate Cafe 939 this Saturday (4/30/16). Read on as we talk the ups and downs of doing your own thing, kids flipping your shit upside down, who you should be listening to right now, and what parts of your body will get melted when you get out to this tour. We have a hunch that last one won’t disappoint.
MS: We’ve been fans of your music for a decade—both Delta Spirit and Middle Brother—and it sounds like you’d been collecting bits and pieces for Solicitor Returns throughout the years with those bands. How did you determine which songs you’d save for your own album?
MLV: Middle Brother took the left over songs from Delta Spirit’s “HISTORY FROM BELOW”. Delta Spirit has always picked through a library for music that I write. Last record I wrote 45 new songs before the band felt we had a cohesive album.
MS: What was the impetus for finally getting all the right pieces in place and putting out an album (and an EP) of solo work?
MLV: After 10 years of collaboration I needed another creative outlet. I have a vision for the music I want to make and it doesn’t always align with the band. I need music to be more raw. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what I’ve done with Delta Spirit. My tastes just lean more RocknRoll.
MS: From playing every instrument to putting out your own vinyl to making your own video, there doesn’t appear to be any part of the process that you’re not willing to get your hands dirty on to make sure SR is exactly what you want it to be. That seems to be the world a lot of musicians live in these days. What’s the biggest advantage to running your own show and what’s the biggest disadvantage?
MLV: The advantages: You make more money and your fan base becomes more like family. When I’m on tour my wife Marthe ships them. 🙂
The disadvantages: When I first started the whole mail order thing. It was super hard to be organized. Now Marthe’s got a system that’s working!
MS: Last year saw the entrance of the littlest (and mightiest?) Vasquez into the picture. For me, being a father has flipped the script on the way I look at a lot of things in the world. How has being a father changed the way you approach making music / touring—or the world for that matter?
MLV: Fatherhood has certainly flipped some things around for me. I can’t tour for 2 months straight any more. Now I’m looking into breaking up the tours into a few legs. That way I don’t miss all the little changes he’s going through. Marthe is so supportive, if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t handle being away. She’s an incredible mom.
MS: The Delta Spirit albums and the Middle Brother album are full of passion and energy, but listening in your headphones is no where close to what live shows are traditionally like for both of those bands. Solicitor Returns is full of those same qualities and at SXSW you came out with a bikini shirt on, gave us all a little peek-a-boob, and melted a whole lot of faces. Can audiences expect the energy to be as high throughout the remainder of the MLV solo tour, even at smaller venues?
MLV: Things are only getting crazier at these shows. The set consists of my favorite DS & MB songs plus all the new music. The band is sounding more like PJCS Punk/Jam/country/soul. Come on down and get your everything melted.
MS: After way too long we’re finally going to get to see Middle Brother re-unite at Newport Folk Fest this summer. Your performance in 2011 is hailed by many folks I know as their all-time favorite at the festival. Could playing that set possibly have been as special for you guys as it was for all of us on the other side of the railing?
MLV: If I recall I spent some time on the other side of the rail during the set two stepping with my friend’s mom. Every time I play with those guys it’s hard not to have fun.
MS: One last question: I’m always interested in what my favorite artists are listening to. What’s on your playlist right now?
MLV: Paul Kelly is an Australian songwriter that I’ve grown really fond of. His lyrics are simple, and his topics are powerful. Some of it is a little cheesy, but once you get that you’ll find the same spiritual weight of someone like Dylan or Woody.
MS: O.K. I lied, one more: Can I get “Fuck yah!”?
MLV: Fuck yah!
As of the time of writing, tickets are (incredibly) still available for this Saturday’s show. Get your mother-truckin’ butts out to Cafe 939 or you’ll most certainly be sorry.