This weekend at Lollapalooza, I was able to meet up with Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck after his set. Phosphoresent's seventh studio album, Muchacho, was easily one of my favorite records from 2013. If you haven't heard it yet, I would highly encourage it. Check out the full interveiw below!
B: In 2009, you released the album, To Willie, as a tribute to Willie Nelson. Do you believe that his influence extended beyond that album to your later work?
M: I don’t know. I definitely learned a lot by making that record and working with the songs in that sense but, as far as songwriting goes, I think those songs had already been influencing me at that point. I’ve listened to those songs pretty much my whole life, so yeah.
B: How would you describe your relationship with music over the years?
M: Dependent. (laughing)
B: What song has an association with a strong childhood memory for you?
M: One song? Oh, there's so many. But really, I would say My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys was probably one of the reasons i did that Willie Nelson record, for example. I remember really being drawn to that song very early on.
B: What childhood memory does it remind you of?
M: Just rolling in my dad’s truck. I can remember a gravel drive way and a gate and just siting in the truck and hearing that song.
B: What person would you say knows you the best?
M: You know, I really don’t know. Hopefully me, hopefully myself; but that’s not always the case, which why I hesitated. But yes, ideally me.
B: Do you remember your surroundings when you first had the idea for Song for Zula?
M: I do, yes. But, the thing about that song. That song has become a bigger thing than I would have imagined that it would become. I don’t mean to be obtuse or weird about it, but after writing it and once I saw how people responded to it, I don’t think it really matters what I was doing at that time. I think what people have taken from it is bigger than what I was doing.
B: In what environment do you do most of your creative work?
M: A quite home environment, which is hard to come by sometimes in this thing. Ideally, a studio would be involved; a studio always feels good.
B: I know you’ve done a lot of traveling. What do you think is a fundamental lesson that people learn while traveling abroad that they may not pick up without leaving their country of origin?
M: People are the same everywhere. It’s just very minor cultural differences that keep people apart and then you end up with all the shit that people do. But really, if you were to go anywhere, everyone is the same.
B: Is there any place that you’ve traveled to that you feel particularly at home?
M: Outside of the United States? No, I think there’s something about your home. Or your home land at least. I would have to say no.
B: Alright, one more question. Is there any song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
M: I am listening to a Vic Chesnutt song that I like a great deal. It’s on the record The Salesman and Bernadette. I just like songwriting almost always. Lyrically, I always like people that are doing interesting things with lyrics. He was a master at that.