bill bodkin gets taken ‘hire’…
It’s not everyday you get to open for a band you listened to on the radio as a kid. It’s not everyday you get signed to their label. It’s not everyday that the label supports you and backs you just like that band you grew up admiring.
But this week in New Jersey, that’s exactly what Matt Hires is doing. The pop artist, currently signed to Atlantic Records’ F Stop Music, is performing at The Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, New Jersey, with pop music juggernauts Matchbox Twenty. The fun and unique Hires brings a brand of ‘honest songwriting’ to the stage and with his infectious pop sound; it’ll only be a matter of minutes before this artist will be carving out a place for himself on the modern pop radio.
Pop-Break recently caught up with the artist recently to speak about his career, working with MB20 and the future.
Pop-Break: You’re on the road with Matchbox Twenty — were you a fan of there’s growing up?
Matt Hires: Definitely. I would listen to their songs on the radio when I was growing up — on the first night of the tour I found myself singing along to all their songs.
PB: Was it a surreal moment when they announced you’d be touring with them? I mean this is a band that you’ve been listening to for years.
MH: I was so excited when I found out. I had always heard that Rob Thomas was the nicest dude; I met him the other day and you know what — he totally is.
PB: Is this the biggest tour you’ve ever been on?
MH: These are some of the biggest shows I’ve been on [locally], but I did some touring with Paolo Nutini in Scotland … those were big shows too.
PB: You just released an EP — is this an appetizer, a table setter for a full length or just something you just wanted to put out there?
MH: There’s a new, full-length record coming out on May 7. All of the songs on the EP will be on the new record. This is just kind of a sampler for the new album, where you can start listening and get a feel for what the new album is going to be about.
PB: You’re on Atlantic Records — how has having such a major label backing you up helped your career?
MH: I’ve been on F Stop Music, which is part of Atlantic Records, for the past five years now. It’s been great to have their support. It’s not often that labels give their artists the chance to make several albums and develop as an artist.
PB: What separates you from every other artist out there?
MH: I think what separates me is that I write honest, unique songs — it’s not easy writing something that’s honest and sounds unique at the same time.
PB: If someone wanted to capture the true essence of you as an artist — what song from you canon would you direct people to?
MH: I like to think any of my songs would be a good start. [If I had to pick one] it would be “Restless Heart” [which was released in 2012]. [To me] it sounds like the sound of falling in love.
PB: You’ve been compared to a lot of artists, how would you describe your sound?
MH: I started out in the singer/songwriter genre and was influenced by guys like Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. Then I realized in my heart that I wanted my music [to go in a different direction] and I wanted to write really good pop songs and become a pop artist.
PB: How does this new record stand out from the rest of your catalog?
MH: The new record feels like I’ve matured as a songwriter. The first album and this new record were done with Eric Ross out in California. When we made the first record we had literally just met but with this album we’ve been friends for about four years. We’ve become close friends so it made the recording process much smoother. It’s like we’re an old married couple in the studio; we’re on the same page.
PB: What are your plans for the rest of 2013?
MH: Nothing is set in stone yet. There’s going to be tons of shows and much more touring.
PB: In the same vein, where do you want your career to be at by Christmas of this year?
MH: I want to be happy by Christmas. I want as many people as possible to get the new record; play in front of as many people as possible. But mostly I just want people to come out and see the show.