All this week, Behind the Setlist is previewing Volume, a music festival in Spokane, Washington that features 100 artists in 10 different venues across two days. Our Spokane team will be on the ground May 31 and June 1. Until then? We are listening to as many artists as we can, previewing those who turn our ears.
Pro Tip: Check out the official Volume Spotify playlist for a taste of every band.
Matt Mitchell Music Co. @ River City Brewing on May 31
Behind the Setlist spoke with Matt Mitchell over email. The conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Matt Mitchell Music Co has such a full and varied sound with its blending of Americana and folk elements. What are your inspirations/influences?
I go through album phases. I find something I like and typically listen to it a little too much for a period of time. Lately I’ve been really enjoying Anders Osborn, TK & The Holy Know Nothings, Bahamas, Andrew Bird, Mandolin Orange, Field Report and Dr. Dog… If I had to pick some more long term influences I would definitely mention the classics: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Levon Helm (both in the Band and his solo work), the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Paul Simon…
“Day Breaker” has summery, easy sounds with a Dylanesque feel. Any insight into where that song came from?
I wrote the first part of that song right before a trip to Alaska when Trego played a couple gigs up there… I finished the lyrics on the last day of the trip while hiking through a rainstorm. The song is easily interpretable for each listener, but it touches on feelings of despondency and struggle, contrasted with a defiant tone of triumph and elation.
What’s your favorite song to play live right now?
“August” would probably take that title. It’s a melancholy tune I wrote about the world we’re all changing and the impending consequences. I feel like it makes a statement without telling the listener how to feel. Plus the instrumentation on the tune is beautiful. I’m lucky to play with such talented musicians.
What goes into the making of a great setlist?
Reading your audience and the energy of the room is essential. I’m also a big fan of transitioning between songs without a break in the action. Nothing is worse than awkward silence between songs.
If a Spokanite stumbles across Matt Mitchell Music Co. at Volume, what kind of show will they see?
They’ll experience an energetic mix of talented musicians playing an original brand of folk-flavored rock n’ roll. This show will be especially fun because I’ve gathered some new faces along with some tried and true musicians (members of Trego). I’m particularly excited about world-renown guitar giant Tyker Aler sitting in on this set (not to be confused with Tyler Aker). This guy is truly the real deal and I’m honored to have him sit in at Volume.
Any plans for an EP or LP?
My first solo EP is due to be released in July! I’ll be doing an EP release run with the EP engineer/producer (and spiritual mentor) Bart Budwig. Following that I’ll be promoting the new record up in Alaska when I play Salmonfest come August.