A Chat with Matthew Solberg (07.01.22)

At age 17, US-based Matthew Solberg picked up his father’s guitar and started playing. A few years later he started writing songs; now we have an insatiable folk singer-songwriter sharing his music with the masses. We speak with Matthew Solberg about his latest album Solzys, future plans and being a colour.

OSR: What drew you to music?

Solberg: I think I’m both analytical and creative (I was originally a Mathematics and English double major in college), and music seems to be a good outlet to satisfy both of those things. There’s probably more to it but that’s my best guess right now.

OSR: Is there a backstory to your new album Solzys?

Solberg: I had about 20 songs I picked from and chose ones that I thought fit together well. For the most part, they are reflections of my life over the past several years. I tried to make a very honest album.

OSR: Solzys is your first release in approximately 10 years. Why the break?

Solberg: Life. I’m married, have four kids, and work full time as an actuary. Also, after my first two releases, I was pretty burnt out and discouraged from making music. I took a couple of years off from doing anything musically but for the last eight years or so I’ve just been working on writing and building up a catalogue of song ideas. I’m excited that I have a lot of stuff in the works right now.

OSR: What inspires you to make music?

Solberg: What originally inspired me to write songs was that it was very therapeutic, and it still is sometimes. But, the more I’ve worked on writing, playing and singing, the more I just want to get better at writing and executing songs. It’s a fun challenge for me. I find writing songs to be enjoyable and fulfilling, and I want to share my music with others with the hope that someone else out there will get some joy or comfort from a song. I’m not the best at connecting with people in real life, but I feel like I can potentially connect with people through a song.

OSR: Did you face any challenges creating the album?

Solberg: It was just hard to find the time to do things. Almost all of my writing is done late at night, often after midnight. I recorded everything at a studio, basically from 8:30 pm to midnight one night a week. Since we only recorded one night a week, the whole process just took a very long time. Due to my schedule and the producer’s schedule, I don’t think there’s any way we could have got it done much faster.

OSR: If you could change one thing about Solzys, what would it be and why?

Solberg: I’m not sure I’d change anything with how it sounds, really. I’m happy with it. Sure, it could have been executed better in certain spots, particularly vocally – but if perfection was my goal I’d probably never be happy. I’d probably still be working on the album!

OSR: Which is your favourite track from the album?

Solberg: This answer will probably change all the time, but for now I’ll say ‘Wall of Doubt’. I recorded several guitar parts on it and it was just fun to make. I really like how it came together in the end. Though, if I can take a tangent here, I’ll say I really like my song ‘The Grotto’ from my self-titled album. That still might be my favourite track I’ve done. It’s definitely an experimental tune and a bit raw, but whenever I go back to it it makes me happy. I just wanted to give it a little shout out here because it’s been listened to by almost no one.

OSR: What about your least favourite track?

Solberg: I’ll say ‘Duffel Bag’ just because there’s not much to it. Though I do really like how the guitars sound on it.

OSR: If you could perform with any living musician, who would it be and why?

Solberg: Honestly, I’m just not much of a performer. I think I’d feel pretty lost if I were to perform with any musician I really look up to. I don’t really enjoy performing, but I do really enjoy writing. So, if I could hang out and write with any living musicians I’d probably pick either Alex G or Euros Childs. They’re just two of my favourite current songwriters, and I’m also inspired by how prolific they are. I’d love to write with either one of them.

OSR: If you were a colour, what colour would you be and why that colour?

Solberg: I don’t know what it is about yellow but I’ve always felt like that’s my colour. I couldn’t tell you why!

OSR: Do you have any future plans as a musician?

Solberg: I hope to be pretty prolific in releasing music over the next few years. I have a lot of completed songs and song ideas in the works and I’m really excited to get back to recording.

Many thanks to Matthew Solberg for speaking with us. For more from Matthew Solberg check out his official website, Instagram and Spotify.

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