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.