Melding the sounds of The Foo Fighters, Nirvana and The White Stripes, Matthew Estevez presents his solo project The F-Use. We spoke with Estevez about his upcoming album I Don’t Feel Like I Belong Here’, favourite bands and bad haircuts.
OSR: What can you tell us about your debut album I Don’t Feel Like I Belong Here?
The F-Use: The album is meant to be listened to in its entirety from start to finish, not necessarily a concept album but in terms of stories, emotions and flow. I had never been vulnerable with songwriting before because I never thought I was “strong enough” both as a write and emotionally to do my experiences justice. Every song on this album has a purpose and explains either a situation, person or emotion that has made me the person I am today.
I dove deep into the depression I was feeling at the time and wanted to portray it as forward as possible. At my worst, I didn’t feel like I belonged here. Musically, I wanted the loud parts to be played as hard as I could play and the soft parts as soft.
OSR: What was the writing and recording process like?
The F-Use: I didn’t really set out to write an album in the very beginning. It was more of a culmination of some songs and riffs that I had written in prior months that ended up flowing together and allowed me to truly wear my heart on my sleeve. Since it’s just me writing, most of the process was in my room looping riffs until I came up with a vocal melody and built each song piece by piece one at a time.
We recorded the entire album in my house, guitars and bass I recorded by myself, drums in the living room and vocals in a spare room that my mom was using for storage. I recorded the guitars and bass directly to my laptop and often spent countless hours tweaking the amps and pedalboards that were on Logic. When it came to drums, I think we finished them in three days or so, vocals maybe a week.
How did you come up with the name The F-Use?
Oh goodness. I started writing music in middle school and back then I was super into punk so naturally that’s what I was writing alongside to. I was creating a SoundCloud account and had to come up with a name and I couldn’t. My mom started throwing random ideas out and The F**k You’s was one of them. It naturally turned into The F-Use after that. I was planning on changing the name with this album, but nothing can beat it.
OSR: If you could change anything about I Don’t Feel Like I Belong Here, what would it be and why?
The F-Use: I do my best not to think about that too hard. Joey, a producer/engineer on the album, and I sometimes spent hours on a few seconds of one song and ultimately had to call the song finished because only we would notice such a minuscule difference.
OSR: How would you describe your debut album?
The F-Use: In a few words, I would say vulnerable, hard-hitting, refreshing and raw.
OSR: Name two of your favourite bands.
The F-Use: Foo Fighters and The Beatles – can’t top that.
OSR: How old were you when you decided to start recording music?
The F-Use: I think the first song, if you want to even call it that, I put out was on SoundCloud when I was in 7th or 8th grade. Up until I went to college I had recorded on a 4-track recorder, so I was pretty limited in terms of track which I think helped force me to be as creative as possible.
OSR: How do you think the Covid pandemic will affect the music industry in the long-term?
The F-Use: I definitely think that there’s a large majority of people who won’t be comfortable with going to a live show for at least another few years. I do think that livestreaming will become a regular down the road; it’s very cost-effective and allows bands of any size to connect directly with their fans. Labels will probably be hesitant to sign many artists in the next few years since touring/merch recoups most of there money, so that’s going to be something interesting to look at. I just want to play live shows but keep people safe – let’s make drive-in shows a thing!
OSR: What is the worst haircut you have ever received?
The F-Use: I don’t think I’ve really ever had a horrendous haircut before. If I did, there’s certainly no picture evidence of it. From 8th grade into the start of my sophomore year of high school I grew out my hair into a pretty sizeable afro that became part of my “identity”. One day during a band camp break I went to get it buzzed off and nobody recognised who I was.
OSR: Do you have any message for our readers?
The F-Use: Even if you don’t typically like rock music, I really hope that you give this album a listen and focus on the lyrics if anything. Writing the album was a healing process for me from experiences that ranged from current to my childhood. I hope that these songs can help you as well if that’s what you search for in music; but, ultimately, turn it up to 11 and let’s rock out.