The more distance I get on the decade, the more I realize that there was more than one 80s. Mine was all about black lipstick, synthpop and long bangs. But there was the 80s of hairbands, the “Walking on Sunshine” 80s, the 80s of popped collars and polos with tiny alligators on. And then there was the 80s in which a generation of older rockers mixed the drum machines of their sleek young contemporaries with the big guitars of their own heydays, and spiced the mix with a heavy dose of nostalgia – think “Boys of Summer” and “Higher Love” as two standouts. This is the 80s that Matt Wertz taps on his new ten-track album Heatwave. What began with a homemade drum groove on Matt’s front porch in Nashville sprang into a varied ten-song album that is equal parts a nostalgic trip to the always-already nostalgic 80s, and a testament to the artistic ambition Wertz has developed seven recordings into his career. What began with a homemade drum groove on his Nashville front porch sprung into Matt’s most ambitious project to date.
“Get to You,” the opening track on Heatwave, was written during the initial porch session with producer Brandon Hood, confidently dipping its toes in the electric blue waters of the 80s. The drum groove brings to mind the classic loop beats of that era and immediately establishes the album’s fluid, dynamic tone. Heatwave bridges a lifetime of musical history. Wertz uses the melodies of his Missouri childhood as a springboard into an exciting new realm of modern musical possibilities, interpreting his influences in a striking, singular way. As Wertz himself would say, these are the songs he’d want stuck in his head. And that’s a good thing for everyone.
You can catch Matt on September 21 at The Bluebird Theater in Denver (one of 12?s’ favorite places to catch a gig in the 303). Give a listen and read on.
1. What is your hometown?
Liberty, Missouri, USA
2. With what fictional character do you most identify?
3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.
Owen Wilson, please.
4. What work of art speaks to your soul?
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt van Rijn among many.
5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?
I’m in the middle of Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry. Just finished The Prince of Tides. And Unbroken was one of the better stories I’ve ever heard- that will make an incredible movie.
6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?
Teagan & Sara’s Heartthrob and Lord Huron’s Lonesome Dreams. KILLIN IT.
7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?
My buddy Stevie’s home videos.
8. Cat person or dog person?
9. What is more important, truth or kindness?
TRUTH, even though I hate it a lot of times.
10. How do you define sin?
Living incongruently to the Truth.
11. How do you define virtue?
hmmm. let’s say: surrendering self to the Truth.
12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?
now THAT was fun!
Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?