Entertainment Music

24 Minutes with The Matinee

By Joe Leary

The Matinee. (Supplied Photo)

The Matinee. (Supplied Photo)

With their sophomore album, Dancing on Your Grave, Vancouver rockers The Matinee explore their growth and transformation as artists. Joe Leary spent 24 Minutes with guitarist Geoff Petrie.

24: While recording Dancing on Your Grave there was a lot going down personally within the band.

GP: It's kind of a microcosm of the process we went through writing the album. As individuals we were pulled in different directions over the year, each experiencing life changing events. Marriage, having kids, breakups and especially the loss of (singer) Matt Layzell's grandfather. As we wrote the album, the themes ranged from new adventures to great loss. From pure joy to Matt literally hitting an emotional rock bottom. The last song on the record 'My Heart Still Works’ was the first one he wrote lyrically and it speaks to Matt's emerging from a dark place of depression and writer's block, to his realization that his heart indeed still worked and that there was much fight in him yet. The songs ebb and flow much as we did, taking different paths to come back together and find each other to make the record.

24: The tracks were all compiled around studio time?

GP: Yes, we are very fortunate in that our label 604/Light Organ has a really great facility. Label offices, full service studio and a big soundstage all under one roof. Having access to such a great space allowed us to spend more of the writing time in studio rather than at home or at the rehearsal space before heading in to one of Vancouver's other fantastic but very expensive studios. We were able to capture the creativity as it came to us, which is one of the ways we were able to write 40 or so tunes to choose from for the album.

24: Generally what is your songwriting process like?

GP: It differs. Sometimes it's two of us in a room who get inspired. Other times all of us.  Occasionally one guy will bring a nearly complete song to the group for fine tuning. Though Layzell contributes the majority of lyrics, we are all songwriters and we bring ideas - whether nearly complete, or half baked - to the table. 

24: How does the vetting process work for you when you’re trying to pare down unnecessary material for an album? How do you separate what stays and what goes?

GP: To be honest this one started as a daunting task. We had so many songs to choose from. What really dictated the final list was the story of the record. The songs were like chapters that came together to tell a tale of highs & lows, individual growth and the galvanization of our collective voice. When we write a set list for a show, we always consider the story arc. We want to take people somewhere during the show.

24: You initially launched as a band and embarked on a musical project, but then things get in the way (family stuff, personal) etc. How do you separate all of the distractions and stay focused?

GP: We are really fortunate that our families support what we do together. That and we have a really amazing team working with us who allow us the freedom from a lot of the day to day stuff to focus on the music. The thing that has really changed is that we have to schedule our time for creativity around our responsibilities, which can be limiting, but it allows for us to turn off the outside world and dive in together.

24: As a recording artist in 2017, what is the hardest thing to understand about the music business?

GP: Other than the fact that we're blindfolded, shooting a handmade arrow at a moving target that's always shrinking and changing shape - nothing. The music business is fickle; the money isn't there like it used to be. If that's your only measure for success then it's easy to feel like it isn't worth it sometimes. We're really fortunate to have such amazing fans. We thrive on their support and energy, it pushes us to be better and honestly we just love doing this. We have a good thing going and we know it.