"Expect to lose money, but don't let it deter you. If you are just starting out, don't expect some big pay day. You will pay out more than you take in."
And today's interview is with a group of friends who have kept the dream of the '90s emo-pop-rock scene is alive in Logan, West Virginia. Listen to their brand new release "Cycle" below (with a special B-Side "Tea" - Live at Earth Tone Audio) as you get to know the band with our interview. This... is Meet Me in the Matinee.
How did the band start playing music together?
Meet Me in the Matinee started in fall 2008 in a garage by our drummer Nathan Bush and guitarist/vocalist Caleb Luther. In the spring of 2009, they started working on demos and in the fall, the original bassist Chris Workman and keyboard player Josh Brown joined them. We started mainly because we liked the same types of music and just came from different musical avenues. Caleb took guitar classes in high school, Nathan was in Logan High School’s marching band, and Josh was just a self-taught pianist and bass player. We just wanted to play music and chase a dream. We’ve been in the same band now for close to 10 years.
Where does the name Meet Me in the Matinee come from?
Well, long story short, Caleb's cousin in high school had the band name, and Caleb had a different name. They looked at each other and decided to trade names with each other. It's been the same ever since.
How has your sound changed over time (if at all)?
In hindsight, we have never really had a demo CD or an album that sound the same. We always try to evolve. Right now, we’re writing more ‘80s pop-rock songs, slower jam-based numbers, and more piano-based ballads. We never like to stay in one genre or tone. We like to push ourselves. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
Where do you play in and around West Virginia?
We play all over the place and pretty much anywhere. We just like to play. We're the only band to play every single Rocktoberfest in Logan since 2009, we've played Live on the Levee back in 2015, Morgantown Sound at WVU, many of the local bars and clubs in the surrounding areas. We just like to take our music to anyone that will listen.
What’s been the highlight of your musical journey?
We absolutely loved playing Live on the Levee in 2015. We almost didn't get to because of a storm that blew through, which almost shut down the whole show that night. Fortunately, it was a quick storm, and we got to play. People seemed to really enjoy it, and we had a lot of fun.
What’s it like making music in West Virginia?
It's like everything else in life. It has its highs and lows. Sometimes it can be good when you have a big turnout to a show and people are really responsive. Then there's times where just a few people show up. It all depends on what else is going on in the town. Having said that, it's not a bad place to make music at all. There's plenty to look at and get inspiration from.
Do you feel held back by being in West Virginia? Or does it feel like a musically-supportive place?
I think our music scene needs a kick in the pants, sort of speak. By that I mean we need people to see that we have a more diverse scene than just Americana bands. We have punk, ska, alternative, pop, and classic rock bands, but you very rarely hear about them. That's more on the economic side of booking music. Americana bands draw more people than a little indie-rock band. The major venues are the same way though: why book a band like Cursive, which will draw 1000 people, when you can book Jason Aldean and get 9,000? I understand that is how business works, but it would just be nice to have a change sometimes.
Huntington has its alt-country/Americana scene, Charleston its eclectic scene. But what about your hometown of Logan?
Logan honestly has four bands that have been here for a long time. We have alt-country, horror punk, a metal band, and us. That's really it. So Logan shows are special because they don't happen often. A show may take place twice a year except for a festival called Rocktoberfest that we help organize. That fest is free to the public and brings in all different acts of the surrounding areas to Logan, and there is usually a great turn out for it.
Why stay in Logan when you could ingratiate yourself into another rock scene around the state?
Logan is home. Now we play Charleston and Huntington, perhaps more than anywhere else, but there's something special about a home show. It's special because your family may not get to see you play very often and your friends can come out. Our home is Logan but we don't think of us as just a Logan band. We love to play to anyone that will listen and enough to maybe get what we are attempting to do when it comes to music.
What, in your opinion, needs to happen in the West Virginia music scene for it to move forward?
We need more people pushing more genres of music to the general public. Bands, themselves, can only do so much. We all need to help each other along if we want our music scene to continue to grow and prosper.
What’s the band/act’s advice to anyone starting to make music?
If you're passionate enough, want to do it enough, stay at it. Don't let negativity ruin your chemistry inside the band. Inner drama destroys bands. Be creative together and write things together to sway that kind of negativity. Play what you want to play, don't let anyone tell you what kind of music to play. And be yourself! If people don't get your music from the beginning, don't let it get you down. The ones that will get it, will. The ones who don't, that's okay too! If there's an audience out there for your music, it will be found. You just have to want it bad enough and are willing to make it happen.
And don't be afraid to ask for pointers from other bands that have been doing it for a long time. We did that, and we still do. We never push anyone away from advice.
Meet Me in the Matinee’s new release is "Cycle." Keep up with the band on social media as they prepare to release a new record by the end of 2017. Hear more #WVmusic on A Change of Tune, airing Saturday nights at 10 on West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Connect with A Change of Tune on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And for more #WVmusic chats, make sure to go to wvpublic.org/wvmusic and subscribe to our RSS / podcast feeds.
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