Tell me about your work is a new interview series published by the Division of Jazz Studies at UNT. We're interested in knowing more about the work life of our alumni, what role their musical education plays in the work they do, and what their musical lives are like now. Knowing this will give current students a broader sense of the career paths they could follow, and could suggest ways to prepare for them while they are still studying at UNT.
B.M. in Jazz Studies, 2003
You can hear Matt's music at app.soundstripe.com/artists/46.
What sort of work do you do?
I am a freelance touring/session bassist. I am also a staff composer/producer for Soundstripe, which is a micro licensing company. Both of these jobs are based out of Nashville, TN.
What led to you doing this sort of work?
I got into touring work as a bassist immediately upon graduating from UNT. I was based in NYC for 10 years and from there toured with indie-rock bands and jazz groups all over Europe, Canada, and Central/South America. Upon moving to Nashville (4 years ago) I landed tours with artists like Engelbert Humperdinck, Christopher Cross, and most recently Jo Dee Messina. The session work definitely picked up when I moved to Nashville as this is one of the things that makes this city what it is. Demos and records are made here all day long in thousands of studios scattered all around the area. As far as my life as a producer is concerned, that began up in NYC when I started ghost writing on TV spots for Yessian which is a large ad agency based out of Detroit. After relocating to Nashville I started working more in the TV/Sync world with a company called Resin8 Music Licensing and from there that led me to the world of micro licensing. I have been with Soundstripe since its inception and currently work from my home studio for them.
How did you prepare for it?
Not sure that I actually prepared for this. I just dove right in and absorbed and observed everything I could along the way. 20 years later here I am.
What's a typical day like?
Changes constantly. I could be in my home studio producing music starting around 8am and going to 5 or 6pm or I could be on a session recording on someone’s record which usually gets going around 10am and goes until around 6 or 7. I usually can’t remember what day of the week it is or where I am when I am touring. Schedules are all over the place.
What do you find most rewarding about it?
I love what I do and the fact that I get to make music for a living.
What do you find most challenging about it?
Inconsistencies with schedule, money, and dealing with challenging personalities in the various bands.
What role, if any, did your musical education at UNT play in preparing for this work?
I had not been playing bass very long before I entered in at UNT. I had read a couple of theory books and listened to some records but didn’t know my a## from my head. UNT definitely helped give me a solid set of tools to help build my vocabulary on the instrument and to learn the history of the music.
What might you have done differently during your time at UNT if you knew you would be doing this sort of work now?
Shadow an engineer and producer at a local studio every chance I could.
What else would you like readers to know about your work?
In addition to being a musician and producer, I am an avid gardener and supply produce from my garden to a fellow music producer here in Nashville who also happens to be a fantastic chef. He runs a Chinese comfort food 5 course dinner out of his house (2 seatings, once a month). The name of it is Angelhouse.
What other jobs have you had since leaving UNT?
When I moved to NYC I had all sorts of day jobs to help pay the rent, including handing out flyers, working for a contractor painting and demoing apartments, working for a catering company, web design, and doing data entry for a real estate company.