Under The Influence: Music As Journaling With Alt Hip-Hop Artist Matt Easton
Born in San Clemente, CA, Matt Easton has lived in many places, bringing the experiences he’s picked up along the way into his music. As an artist and producer, Matt Easton tells us “I use my music as a way to interpret the life I see before my eyes.” He does all of this with an alternative hip-hop flare, often mixing pop to tell his musical stories. A rich background of artists like Rage Against The Machine and genres such as Jazz fuse into Matt Easton’s style as well, offering a little something for everyone to enjoy. He features calming piano notes and other instrumentals along with refined beats for a textured listening experience.
His single “Lucy” has climbed up Steereo’s weekly Top Ten tracks more than a few times. The song builds off of “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles, to share a different story from his own life. The song embraces fun, hanging out, and modern sexuality. Matt Easton shares with us the creative process and motivation behind his hit song. Also, he delves into his artistic journey and musical influences in this exclusive Under The Influence interview.
Listen to “Lucy” by Matt Easton below
Tell us about yourself, what set you on the path of creating music?
I’ve always gotten pleasure out of experimenting with the depths of my creativity. Whether it was trying to figure out how I could do a school project differently than the rest, or creating songs in high school just because I liked the entire creative process that went along with it. Throughout my childhood, I would listen to my dad play piano by ear, and I think I was able to store the sounds and melodies in my head. Then when I was a freshman in college I started to get into beat making on my computer. I also began sitting at a piano that was in the basement of my dorm. Then, I would put vocals on my own instrumentals.
It’s been stated that you use music as a “form of journaling,” what does that mean to you and how do you do this in your music?
I put my whole life into all of my songs. Every lyric is representative of my mind frame at a certain point of time in my life. When I go through daily experiences, whether they are positive or negative, I tend to write everything down in my notes on my phone or in one of my many scribbled-in notebooks. Sometimes I’ll write down the details of the emotions I’m going through at the moment, sometimes I’ll write down a story that happened that I thought was interesting, or if I had over-analyzed something. My songs tell the story of the things that happen around me and all the things I witness.
Which artists and/or groups are major influences to your style of music? How have they impacted your career?
I listen to so many different styles of music because I have so many different intentions when listening to music. I listen to all the new albums that today’s artists release so I can study what sounds are relevant right now. I listen to smooth jazz and lo-fi hip-hop beats to go to bed. I listen to funk, rock, soul, reggae, hip-hop yet my favorite genre is Jazz hands down. My favorite artists range from Bill Withers to Rage Against The Machine.
There seems to be a cultural shift in music where many artists are moving away from large genre’s like rock or hip-hop and craving their own path. What is your opinion on this subject?
I wouldn’t say artists are moving away from these genres, I think they are experimenting with the depths of them. I think that as the process of creating music becomes more accessible to the masses the more people try to create something unique and never done before. Now we have so many more people experimenting with new sounds and easily being able to share it with the masses in return.
You’ve rocked Steereo’s playlists often and your latest single “Lucy” reached the Top Ten tracks. What was the creative process like while writing, producing and/or recording “Lucy”?
I feel like “Lucy” was one of those songs where the process was so simple and organic. There wasn’t much questioning or doubting when creating that whole song. It started with the emotions that came with meeting a new person and then was easily converted into a melody and whole song concept. The lyrics just poured through because it was organic and really happening. I never had to second guess a line or take any unnecessary time into figuring out what to do next.
“Lucy” seems to build off “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles. What inspired you to take the song in the direction you did?
Well, I was living in a house with a bunch of musicians and a friend of ours named Lucy would come over to hang out. She quickly became very popular at the house. I would walk around the house singing out loud “Lucy in the skyyy with diamonds” when referring to her. So from the beginning, this song was already attached to our friend Lucy.
Are there any intentional lyrics or meaning in your song “Lucy”, if so what are they?
The song “Lucy” is a play on words referring to the hallucinogenic drug LSD. The Lucy I know was so into herself that she was in a completely different world, it was as if she was on her own personal LSD trip.
What do you hope listeners take away from hearing the song?
For this specific song I want people to feel good and use it as a soundtrack to their party environment. It’s got a good bounce to it.
Are you working on any new projects?
Of course, I have multiple projects in the works. I have a lot of emotions in my life that I need to get out, so everything I go through just comes out in song.