Ten Questions with Matt White

3 05 2010

Matt White is a composer/guitarist based in our great city of Richmond, VA. He leads the band Fight the Big Bull, and they are just about ready to release their new collaboration with trumpeter Steven Bernstein All is Gladness in the Kingdom out May 11 on Cleanfeed Records. To honor this occasion, Matt has been kind enough to answer these questions, and next week you can look for the same questions answered by Steven Bernstein! Matt and I had worked together previously in the booking group Patchwork Collective, bringing some of the best improvisers to Richmond (including Ken Vandermark, Jandek, Tony Malaby, Tim Berne etc.), and giving them a new audience. That allowed us to form our own projects (who of course share many members) and put Richmond on the map. We’re still working on that last part…always! We also have a fantasy guitar duo playing nothing but 90’s music.

Be sure to join FTBB’s facebook group and keep up with them on their site and on myspace.

They’ve got some great collaborations in the works, including one with singer/musician David Karsten Daniels out in June on Fatcat Records!

1: What got you into creative/improvised music making, and what keeps you there?

My buddy’s mixtape that had Phish, the Allman Bros and Brooklyn Funkessentials on it….. from there Medeski Martin and Wood. They kind of opened up the whole world of improvised music to me.

I’m not sure what keeps me here other than an internal necessity to make music and for whatever reason my interests trend towards creative/improvised things.

2: Breakthrough album(s) and Why?

Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchetra. Carla Bley is the best.

Steven Bernstein’s Diaspora Hollywood. Beautiful arranging, incredibly focused but very loose and organic. Enjoyable mentally physically and emotionally.

The Band’s Rock of Ages. So many things at work here. Allen Toussaint arranges music for The Band featuring Snooky Young and Howard Johnson among others.

Ken Vandermark’s Elements of Surprise. KV’s bold embrace of line over harmony was/is inspiring as well as the piano/guitar-less format. Ken also embraces history and tradition in a deep way that is very apparent in all of his recordings.

3: How do other art disciplines affect your work?

I’m inspired by excellence, work ethic, boundary pushing, creative organizing,  and individual voices everywhere – art disciplines and otherwise.

4: Favorite Film(s)?

I don’t really watch movies? Is that ok? I’m entertained so easily by movies on big screens its almost embarrassing. I loved Rockers.

5: Favorite Film Score(s)?

Don’t really do a lot of checking out film scores out but I did get really into Max Steiner’s King Kong score. I also enjoyed the score from Shutter Island which was really a 20th century classical music mixtape by Robbie Robertson which is kinda wild. I checked out a lot of James Bond scores because Steven Bernstein is way into those and also a lot of the early early Hollywood composers (Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, Franz Waxman) for the same reason.

6: Favorite Fiction Reading?

I only read Jules Verne.

7: Favorite Non-Fiction Reading?

Unfortunately, I only really read nerdy music books…

(in nor particular order)

The Rest is Noise

Reggae Music (first editions known as Bass Culture)

Early Jazz

Steve Lacy Conversations

The Jazzology Press New Orleans books

Space is the Place

Dr. John’s autobiography Under a Hoodoo Moon

I also just read Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer and that was awesome.

8: Favorite Guilty Pleasure Music?

Lil’ Mama, …but I don’t feel that guilty about it.

9: Favorite Under Rated Musician(s)?

Karl Blau

Carla Bley

Pinson Chanselle

10: Recommended Artist(s)/Shout Outs?

I recommend folks come to Richmond and check out the kinda unbelievable scene here. I also recommend everyone check out early Carla Bley records… try Tropic Appetites, so far ahead of its time.




2 responses

3 05 2010
Ten Questions with Matt White | Avant Music News

[…] Glowing Realm: Matt White is a composer/guitarist based in our great city of Richmond, VA. He leads the band […]

5 05 2010

Good read….That pic of Matt is Crazy.

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