has a vibrant music scene which is interwoven into the hearts of its community. The organic grassroots nature and cross pollenation of its musicians and artists are vital to keeping it growing. We were lucky enough to sit down with Matt C. White from Dead Seconds last week and chat about his upcoming projects and what he’s been involved with. He also tells us great places to grab a drink, listen to live music or dig for records.
Matt, please tell us a bit about yourself and what projects you’re involved in currently.
I started out playing guitar when I was 10 in North Carolina and got in to playing a lot of blues and fingerstyle stuff. That’s really my bread and butter and sort of my first step into creating music. I’ve always been making music in one project or another, but it wasn’t till I moved to New York that I really started to focus on trying to explore all the ways it could potentially be created. I’ve been in NYC for the better part of 7 years and have had the opportunity to meet a lot of really great musicians that have really helped develop my musical style and interests. Currently I play guitar and sing in Dead Seconds, play drums and sing in a heavy psych-rock trio called Grandpa Jack. I also play drums in a group with Chuck Ellsworth (check him out! awesome singer songwriter) called The Coo. I make peaceful trippy guitarscapes / world music with a project I call Realizer, and then also released kinda folky bluesy songs under my own name Matt C. White. There’s other little things but we’ll just stick with that :).
What do you aim to achieve with your music in Dead Seconds?
For me its really just about getting all the musical kicks I can. Dead Seconds is my loud distorted guitar musical kick. I don’t really have any aspirations with it other than that. Get out a little frustration, play some loud guitar, make some strange noises, yell over it all, etc. Dead Seconds was the first thing I started when I got here and is probably the most accurate reflection of how I feel. Probably the most unbridled.
Our first record was called the “The Grain” and I’ve been working on the follow up for the better part of two years! Its called “The Ground” and we are planning to release it around October. Because it’s been such a long time coming, I’ve really had some time to layer and really create exactly what I want to with it. Again, Dead Seconds for me is all about just the most uninhibited self expression through guitar and vocals that I can muster. “The Ground” while similar to the grain in ways, will definitely be a bit more atmospheric and a little more strange. I think doing more Realizer stuff lately has influenced the sort of soundscapes and movement “The Ground” has developed.
Who would you say is your biggest influence as a musician? You’re a multi-instrumentalist. Did one person inspire you to play everything?
Hmm thats tough. I would say, as cliche as it is, Hendrix made we want to play guitar. More than that he made me want to make sounds with my guitar, ya know? It is and it isn’t just chords or just blues or just musical phrases. Its also just sound. Any sound you can squeeze out of the instrument.
Nowadays I really admire Buddy Miles (also of hendrix and band of gypsys) just for his singing and drumming chops. So much soul both in his hands and voice. He definitely made me want to feel that when I play drums.
Which current bands in the Brooklyn, NY scene are you following right now and do they have different styles from one another?
NETHERLANDS! They make some of the heaviest, strangest sounding music Ive heard in a while. One of those bands that really has an unique sound and you know when you hear them. Heavy Traffic is another local band Grandpa Jack has played with a couple times that I really like. It’s also heavy / fuzzy / trippy, but a completely different sound. Netherlands is a bit more modern with some of the weirdest guitar tones I’ve ever heard PLUS synth bass. Heavy Traffic has more of a classic vibe but they both deliver the goods!
Where’s the best place to pick up a new vinyl in Brooklyn?
I like “Rotten Island” in Bushwick. It helps that they are like two blocks away from where I live, but its a really cool small shop with a lot to offer and really good prices. Definitely some hidden gems in there.
So now that you’ve done a bit of digging, where’s the best place to grab a drink?
My favorite haunt is definitely “Birdys“. Again, its right around the corner from where I live so after a late band practice or something its a great place to unwind. Nice staff, outdoor seating, pinball, occasional vinyl DJ, cheap beer and shot specials, regrettable decisions…all the things you could want in a neighborhood bar!
Finally, what’s the best piece of gear you can’t do without?
I think my biggest workhorse would be my Audio technica at4033 condensor mic. I use it so much and for so many different recordings. It just has an amazing clarity and fullness whether I’m tracking vocals for Matt C. White or recording acoustic guitar for Realizer etc. One of the best investments Ive ever made for sure (and its only like $400 new or something).