Matt Holubowski Interview Reeperbahn Festival Special
Den Abschluss beim Reeperbahn Festival Special macht der Songwriter Matt Holubowski.
Etwas zerzaust, aus Montreal, also Kanada und irgendwie werde ich den Vergleich mit Dan Mangan nicht los. Wahrscheinlich weil sie beide mit ihrer Musik so eigenbrödlerisch wirken. Matt Holubowski stand mir in diesem Mail Interview Rede und Antwort und indem er die Fragen tapfer beantwortet hatte, steht der Gig beim Reeperbahn Festival nun ganz oben auf meiner Must-See Liste.
Please just introduce yourself in three sentences.
I’m a songwriter based out of Montreal (which is a boring first sentence, but it’s the bedrock of it all) with two albums out and lots more coming. I spent the better part of my early 20’s vagabonding around 20-something countries over 4 continents in search of some sort of meaning (haven’t quite found it yet), before a series of peculiar events somehow involved me in the music industry as a performer, and I haven’t looked back since then, because I’m loving every minute of it. My music can be described as folk gradually evolving into alternative folk rock; melancholy with a tinge of hope.
Canada is hosting the Reeperbahn Festival as a special country this year. In which way you feel honoured to come here to Hamburg and will burn down a Liveset?
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘will burn down a Liveset’, but I’m certainly excited to be a part of Reeperbahn. I have only had the opportunity to visit Meersburg, so this will be another opportunity to get a taste of Germany, but also as performer, there is something very gratifying in partaking in such a landmark event in Europe.
I really like the sentence on you facebook site “Young man makes old music.” Which magic or magical moment is inside of old music for you in personal?
I am now at a point in music exploration that I am beginning to embrace the tools and evolution of our age, but from early on, I have always been obsessed with the classics. I spent two years dissecting Bob Dylan before writing my first album ‘Ogen, old man’. The power of song through well-thought out and meaningful lyrics and a handful of chords was all that was needed to move people, and it’s something I try not to forget, especially as we become more and more inundated with new types of technologies for music making.
If you should express your work and the songs you wrote until today with just one french word, which one would it be?
For your latest record you spend some weeks in serbia. Is there one special memory or picture in your head what has inspired you the most?
Yes. We spent the day at Petrovaradin fortress in Novi Sad and were walking across the Danube to get back home. Some dogs were barking at us. I was in a bit of a trance, thinking about the history of Serbia, as told by a few Serbs we had made friends with. It felt as though there was some sort of solitude felt when compared to the times of the former Yugoslavia. It seemed that the divide between people was deep since the Bosnian war. That specific moment in thinking about all of this was the one in which I decided that I would make an album called ‘Solitudes’ and that it would talk about different ways in which humans can be solitary. It was definitely one of the most important moments of my life.
In the last three years you gained a lot of experience. You were on tour, you were part of the TV Show La Voix. In which way your attitude to try this music thing was like mind blowing for you? And how many percent of yourself being Matt Holubowski did you already discovered?
I think that because I spent 4-5 years travelling and trying to figure out who Matt Holubowski was, I had already a good idea of who I was as a person. Who I was as an artist was a whole other Pandora’s box that I’m only just beginning to figure out. Going through a television show was a big test of my integrity (a test that I am confident I passed). After that, things moved very quickly, and one opportunity after another came my way. I’ve tried to make it all about the music, and my focus is really on trying to make something genuine.I think what was mind blowing to me was the fact that so many people would be interested in my music, and what I had to say about it. It was mind blowing to see so many people come out to shows and know my songs. It’s also pretty mind blowing to be coming to Germany to perform my music!
Imagine you have to take a walk with a group of very different people. Older ones, younger ones, people who only listens to HipHop tracks and other people which seems not that open minded and the walk will take 3h hours. There is only you with your songs and you have to chance to convince these people of your sound or make them feeling familiar with it. What would you do in these 3 hours?
I’m glad that I answered your questions late, because I’ve just come back from doing exactly that for two weeks in Los Angeles. I was writing songs with a house full of pop writers, people who normally exist in a world that is very foreign to me.It turned out to be pretty easy to make them feel familiar: it’s all about being passionate about it. I spoke to them a lot about Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan, Ben Howard, Bon Iver, Radiohead, etc. and I did it very passionately because I love those bands. I spoke to them about why the song structures, the ideas behind them, and also the production (instrumentation, tones, mixing, etc) and how amazing and varied it could be.I think in 3 hours all you really have to do is play your songs or whatever music you love and then talk about why you love it. I don’t really believe that you should need to convince someone to like a certain type of music. You either like it or you don’t. Some people like hip hop. Some like pop. Some like country. I like folk, rock and alternative. To each their own!
In which way you feel like an ambassador with presenting your music to new people and for people which already know your songs?
Well I am definitely an ambassador for my two records. I guess it’s pretty important to be able to defend what you do and be proud of it. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done so far. But I also think of constant evolution. So when new people hear my show live, they will most likely get a mix of what I’ve done and also what I’m working on for the future. It’s all about constantly moving forward for me.
If you have to write something like a weekly report of this week in Germany, here in Hamburg. What are your milestones you want to reach and is there a progress you wish to feel you will make in these days?
I would probably want to pick up a few sentences of German! I hear it’s Oktoberfest at that time too, so probably drink lots of german beer!! I also think that every city and every country has a ‘type’ of music fan, in the sense that everyone appreciates music differently and reacts to it differently, so I’d like to leave with a sense that maybe I understand what moves the people of Hamburg.
To come and play your own songs on a different continent must be amazing. Is it a difficult goal not to have too high expectations?
It is amazing. And because I’m just starting out, it’s not lost on me how amazing it is. I’m very grateful for the opportunity. Of course it is a difficult goal, but expectations should always be set as high as possible, as far as I’m concerned. It’s been over two years that I’m planning this. My first goal was to get well-established at home (success) and then to move on to Europe when I was ready. Well after two years of preparing, I’m ready!
If we Germans only have time to listen to 2 minutes of any of your songs. Which one should it be to get convinced if your sound?
This is a terribly hard question!! I try to make all my songs have their own personality, so I think that I could pick any one of them and it would please some Germans and not please others. For example, if you’re into something more upbeat, I’d say check out Exhale/Inhale. If you like guitar work, check out The Warden & the Hangman. If you like slow jams, The Folly of Pretending. It all depends. But if I must choose 2 minutes, I’ll say from 1:00-3:00 of La mer/Mon père for the instrumental part.