Matt Mays Looks Ahead To New Record

Photo by Melanie Swerdan
Photo by Melanie Swerdan

Matt Mays will finally see the light of day – or more precisely, the lights of the stage – when he performs at Casino New Brunswick on New Year’s Eve alongside headliners Big Wreck and California’s Josh Royse.

The Halifax rocker has wilfully exiled himself from the live scene over the last few months but with good reason. It turns out he has been toiling away in the recording studio, touching up what will eventually become his sixth studio record.

Coyote, Mays’ 2012 studio album, returned the Nova Scotian to the spotlight earlier this year with a Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year. The victory was especially sweet, given the fact that almost five years had passed between the release of Coyote and 2008’s Terminal Romance.

Mays focus on completing a new studio record isn’t as much about keeping the momentum of Coyote moving forward as much as the musician simply feeling inspired to get back to the studio.

Coyote was the hardest and longest I had worked on an album and so it was encouraging to see the response that the album was given,” Mays says. “With these new songs, it really was a matter of feeling inspired to work on a new record. I spent last winter in California in a great recording studio, banging out a bunch of songs every day.”

Noting that his upcoming studio effort came together faster than Coyote, Mays says that he has learned to let his intuition guide him when it comes to the recording of new albums.

“I felt like I learned a lot during the making of Coyote. By the time that album was being released, I felt as though I could have made another record right away.”

Although he spearheaded much of the instrumentation on the recording of his new material, Mays’ drummer Damian Moynihan, Wintersleep drummer Loel Campbell and guitarist Adam Baldwin joined the songwriter in California. By the time their recording sessions wrapped up, Mays had almost two-dozen songs committed to tape. Upon returning to Halifax, he and the members that comprise his backup band recorded another pair of tracks which Mays says fits well with the material recorded in California.

“What is good about working with the guys in my band is the fact that we don’t necessarily bring finished songs to the rehearsal space. We have a good dynamic amongst us, with everybody putting their own touch upon the songs,” Mays says.

With his upcoming album, Mays did not see the need to reinvent the wheel. In fact, he sees his next studio record as being a continuance of where Coyote left off.

“I think the upcoming album picks up where Coyote left off but it is still different enough that it can stand on its own. I feel that if you are going to try to sell a full record these days, you want to consider covering a lot of territory.”

Asked whether he sees the album format as holding continued relevance in the age of iTunes and music streaming services such as Rdio and Spotify, Mays says that he believes the full-length album will always hold a significant amount of weight in his books.

“I am still very interested in making albums and believe that people still enjoy putting a record on and listening to it from the start through the end,” he says. “You don’t really get to immerse yourself in a band’s sound when you are only listening to one song. The actual sound of the band gets overlooked in those cases.

“I think music fans take a certain amount of comfort in putting on a full-length record from someone like The National and know that they are in for an hour or more of great music.”

The release date for Matt Mays next studio album is still to be determined.

What: Matt Mays with Big Wreck and Josh Royse
When: Wednesday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $69.99 (plus service charges and taxes). Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone 1-866-943-8849 and online at www.casinonb.ca