Few musicians have accomplished what Matt Weidauer has been able to do musically in the past few years. Each of his songs are polished folk gems which sound mature well beyond his years. His lyrical themes range from riding trains to family illnesses to God. His music carries an extremely sincere, honest, and warm tone. Matt is a Utah valley native who grew up in Cedar Hills. His is starting work now on an EP with a full length album to follow. We recently caught up with Matt to talk about what inspires his music, how he got to where he is now, and his mild obsession of Iron Madien. We plays at Muse Music Cafe Thursday, November 21st at 8pm.
How did you first get interested in music and/or playing music?
When I was in 7th grade I became infatuated with punk music (like so many of us!) I bought “Face to Face: Live.” That album made me fall in love with music. I originally wanted to play the drums but decided on learning the guitar. From watching live punk videos I knew I wanted to be on stage. Certain bands laid a musical foundation for me like the get up kids and face to face.
What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
I really enjoy writing lyrics. Most of my guitar parts are fairly simple minus a few little diddy’s. So I love finally finding that line in the song that kind of connects the chain and makes it become my own. I love it.
What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?
As well as lyrics getting me excited, at times lyrics get me very discouraged. Some times it is sort of like trying to leach something from my bones without being able to find it. Another aspect is striving for originality. It is difficult finding a distinct sound. It is a matter of refining it down and having it become my own. This is very hard sometimes.
In what ways does living in Provo, or other places you have lived effect music you create or your music taste?
I don’t think living around Provo has effected my style of music. I have always played the style I wanted to regardless of my surroundings. Although for the time I lived in Hawaii I found the island style music slowly began to creep into my playing. But the islands are less musically diverse than the mainland. So I don’t think Provo has necessarily effected my music.
What band or musician do you love? Is the music you listen to similar or different from your own?
Right now I’m listening to a lot of M. Ward, Johnny Cash, , Calexico, and Matt Pond P.A. Most of the music I listen to is similar to my style. But I also have a passion for and other power metal bands. In fact I am working on converting some Maiden songs into . But I primarily listen to indie music.
What happens during the song writing process for you?
Most of the time I begin with a tune on the guitar first. Some times I have a good idea lyrically or a good topic, then I would add guitar. But mostly I begin with the guitar and then the lyrics. The two tie together as the song progresses. Usually I write music in my car at night. Often times I use the things I am seeing around me to spark ideas for lyrics.
What are the main themes of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
My songs usually are about actual events in my life. I have a few that are fiction. I always try to incorporate God into my music. Some of my lyrics are embellished a bit by western themes but most of them are true. I don’t think my themes will ever change. It is easy for me to talk about God because he is the one who is making all of this possible. And I’m sure I will have many more experiences to write about.
How has your music evolved since you first started songwriting?
When I was 12 I began learning punk/ska songs. Those changed into emo songs. Those turned into metal songs. And those became folk songs. That is kind of how I have musically “matured” over the years. The first song I ever wrote was in 8th grade and it was very similar to “” or something like they would play. Now my songs are more personal, less emo, and more western and folky. I really feel like this is my home in music.
Do you have a favorite song to perform?
My favorite song to perform is called “A Just and Perfect Man.” It is the story of Job from the Bible told as if I were him. In a way his words become my own and it is a way for me to express the way I feel. I really love playing this song. I wrote it when I was 17 years old and it hasn’t changed since then.
What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e., Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever’s available? What made you choose the instruments you have now?)
I do not suffer from brand loyalty. I play on a Guild GF-60 . I love the sound and playability. If I could afford it I would probably buy a Gibson or a Taylor. For now the Guild is working great. I used to own an Epiphone Hummingbird that I loved. Years ago I owned an old beat up Fender acoustic. That is what I wrote a lot of my old songs on.
You play with a backing band. Who are the members and what are their contributions?
Sydney Rigby plays violin and the late Derek Lowry played harmonica for me. My brother, Jason Weidauer, also is occasionally playing bass with me. They have added so much to the songs to give them more of a unique and distinct sound. In time I plan on having more of an assortment of friends playing different instruments for me. Derek Lowry’s recent passing will be a great loss to our music and our lives.
What do you hope to be your ultimate direction as a musician?
Right now I’m just grateful people like my music. Of course I would love to go some where with it but for the time I am very content playing local venues that I love with the people that I love. I imagine I will never stop playing music whether I go some where or not.
What advice do you have for people who want to write and perform their own music?
Just write the music you want to write. Don’t write the music that influential people are telling you to write. Write what you feel. Be original but not off the wall. Have fun and love it.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a CD?
I have a facebook fan page. Most of the songs are older recordings and live material. There are also live videos on youtube. www.virb.com/mattweidauer
Any last words?
Thanks everyone who has supported me since I began playing music. Thanks friends and family. Thanks muse music. Music is the greatest.