Interview

THOM MATHEWS

(Questionnaire by STEFAN)


Metal To Infinity


I have talked with Thom for the first time back in April 2010 Ė feel free to read the full story HERE. Weíre almost two years later now and meanwhile, this American guitar magician released a new album ďEntrancing The PopulaceĒ a few weeks ago. I just want to know more on that new effort and am interested in other kind of things that keep him busy these days. I just like full technical, shredding guitar moves so a real pleasure to me setting up the following, second intie with Mr. MathewsÖ all has to do with my appreciating for outstanding guitar wizards who deserve to be put into a glimmering spotlight! 

Q: Hi there Thom, Whatís up in the US at the moment brother?

A: Hey man! Iím out here working on some new music, keeping up my chops, drinking beer and going to school to be an electrical engineer. Not necessarily in that order.

 

Q: First of all, congrats from the heart with your new album entitled ďEntrancing The PopulaceĒ. What about the worldwide feedback so far?

A: So far, Iíve gotten mostly good reviews. Most of the people that have heard the album seem to have a lot of praise and respect for it. Iím extremely proud of it and Iím glad that a lot of people appreciate it. I worked my ass off to bring this vision to life.

 

Q: How did you get the idea creating a brand new album?

A: Well, itís not really brand new. The recording was finished a while ago. It just took me a while to get enough money together to have it properly mixed and mastered. Plus, there were a few things here and there that needed to be tweaked. As far as the idea for creating a new album, it just came naturally. My first album, ďMindcraft,Ē generated a lot of interest and I wanted to come back with something that was superior to that album in every way. I can say with confidence that I did that with ďEntrancing the Populace.Ē

 

Q: Have you handled everything personally? I mean the mastering, production, mixings and stuff.

A: I hired a few different producers because I was having a hard time getting the album to sound the way I wanted it to. It was a difficult process and I lost a large percentage of my sanity trying to get it right. In the end, everything worked out, but it was a very mentally draining experience. Recording this album was the hardest thing Iíve ever done musically.

 

Q: To bring out your own music on CD must be financially very hard to handle, isnít it?

A: Yes! It is very hard. Especially being a solo artist. Itís not like being in a band where you have other people sharing the burden with you. Not only did I have to pay for everything, I wrote and arranged every damn note thatís on the album. I played all of the guitar parts, keyboards, and most of the bass. Even the musicians that I hired had to go through my own brand of boot camp before they recorded the first note. Everything was mapped out and executed accordingly with me being almost like an insane orchestra conductor/drill instructor. It was intense.

 

Q: Picked up by a particular record label would be a very good solution, although itís not evident these days. Have you already been approached by a company, able to release your stuff?

A: It seems like the phrase ďinstrumental guitar albumĒ will repel almost any record label, unless you are already in a famous band. I actually had David T. Chastain tell me that my stuff is some of the best heís heard recently. He also told me that the market for instrumental shred music was basically dead and I needed to get a singer! I think that by this point, Iím so used to doing everything on my own that a label would just become an annoyance. Iíd love to have label support, but if that means that I have to change my style into something thatís not me, Iíd just rather do it on my own. If I canít do it my way, I wonít do it at all.

 

Q: Iíve heard and reviewed ďEntrancing The PopulaceĒ and according to myself, all sounds really good man. The songs are harder and even more technically worked out Ė this is the end result of a man rehearsing all day long to get what he wants, right?  

A: Absolutely. I donít know any other way. If I donít think that something Iím playing is up to snuff, Iíll keep playing it until it is. I donít mind if my fingers start bleeding all over the fretboard.

 

Q: According to your opinion, in which options the new effort differs from your older songs?

A: My older songs were more about over-the-top shredding and just trying to be as technical as possible. Iím proud of a lot of that stuff, but I was younger and I didnít understand the importance of composition the way I do now. The new stuff also has over-the-top shredding --maybe more so than before in certain areas, but there is more going on in the composition and songwriting. I think ďEntrancing the PopulaceĒ shows my abilities as a well-rounded musician and not just a shredder type.

 

Q: What would you ultimately want to achieve with an album like ďEntrancing The PopulaceĒ?

A: Ultimately, a well-paying job in a well-known band would be nice! So far Iím just happy that a lot of people are enjoying it. As a musician, thatís the greatest reward of all.

 

Q: Have you already had the opportunity to play for a live audience presenting the new album?

A: Unfortunately, I havenít. It would cost me an arm and a leg to hire musicians good enough to pull off some of this stuff live with me. Plus, Iíve been so busy with school and work and basic survival. I just donít have the time or money right now to put together a proper band. It will eventually happen.

 

Q: I know you were the axe wielder on the band Quinta Essentiaís album Ė what to mention on these guysí activities?

A: I havenít talked to those guys in a while. Iím sure that you havenít heard the last of them though.

 

Q: Are you still got involved in other bands?

A: Not really. I do session work every now and then, but Iím not too involved with anything else besides my own stuff right now.

 

Q: Have you still come into contact with other upcoming guitar players facing a bright looking future?

A: There are some great players out there, and Iíve met and jammed with a few of them. Itís just sad that most of them face the same problems that I do. There are so many people in the industry that are ďanti-shred.Ē It seems that talent is frowned upon if you have too much of it. Especially in the U.S.

 

Q: While reaching the end of this conversation, Iíd like to ask for your near future / long distance plans to realize Thom. Tell le about please.

A: First of all, I want to keep promoting ďEntrancing the Populace.Ē Iíll keep throwing up my flag to see who salutes it. Second, Iím looking forward to recording my third album sometime in the near future. Iíve been writing a lot of new material and I feel like Iím at the top of my game as a guitarist and a musician. Third, Iím focused on graduating next year and finally becoming financially stable enough to support my musical career. Then, when I get older, Iíll retire and go live in the woods, hunting bears and alligators.

 

Q: Okay brother, no further questions so far Ė always a pleasure talking to you and thank you very much for your time. Something to say before leaving, go for it man!

A: Thank you for your support my friend. Also, anyone who is interested in hearing my stuff can check out www.reverbnation.com/thommathews or www.youtube.com/thommathewsshred . I also have facebook, myspace and all that crap. Take the time to listen, give feedback, and enjoy the sounds of shred.

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