On August 13, 2011, Broken Records Magazine spoke with acclaimed singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson prior to his Eisenhower Park concert in East Meadow, NY. He performed as part of Fresh 102.7 FM’s Fresh in the Park series, along with American Idol Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze. “It’s beautiful out here,” Nathanson says. “Last night we played at Jones Beach with Maroon 5 and Train, and I feel that I’m doing the Long Island tour. It’s going to be great!”
Nathanson notes that U2 is his “favorite band of all-time,” and dubs them as “fantastic.” “They are always pushing themselves to try and be better and evolve,” he remarks.
“When I was a kid, I was into bands such as Judas Priest, R.E.M., Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Van Halen and Poison. Then, this new folk movement happened and the Indigo Girls came around, and that’s how I transitioned into acoustic music. The Indigo Girls were the reason that I play acoustic guitar,” he adds.
Regarding his latest studio release Modern Love, Nathanson remarks “it’s a powerful record. We modeled its production and sound after those great 80s records; when you listen to them, they sound timeless, as if they are from the future. That was the idea behind this record, that the song is the ‘beating heart’ and this production hangs on it. It doesn’t sound like Tears from Fears, but it has a similar concept, where the production aided the songwriters in a way that felt really futuristic and cool!”
On his song-selection process for the album, he states “if there are 11 songs on a record, I might have 11.5 or 12.5 songs. I pull a lot of parts of certain songs, and put them into other songs. Everything always gets used. It’s a lot like swapping parts out of a car. If the song is not working, but I love its bridge, I take the bridge and then try and write the rest of another song around it.”
Modern Love, which was produced by Mark Weinberg, debuted at #17 of Billboard 200’s all-genre charts. “That was fun and totally cool. It was flattering and a nice way to start!” Nathanson exclaims. “Mark and I have been friends for a long time. He and I co-write a lot of the songs together, and we co-produced the record. We have a similar work ethic and a similar concept of how things should go. It was the most fun I’ve had making a record,” he adds.
In Modern Love, Nathanson collaborates with Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush from the country duo Sugarland on the song “Run.” “I’ve known Sugarland for a couple of years since they covered ‘Come on Get Higher’, and we became dear friends and we toured together. When the time came to start writing for the record, we got together and wrote ‘Run.’ When I sent them the song, I told them that ‘I’d love it if you guys played on it and sang on it,’ and we recorded it from scratch. It turned out great! Jennifer makes you feel like a better singer. She gives you the illusion that you are great, because she supports you in every turn. It was a pretty amazing experience!”
Regarding his latest single “Faster,” he remarks “I really wanted a song that was beat-driven and acoustic. It was one of the few songs that started with an idea and finished up close to the idea. It went through tons of changes in the middle, but it’s a sexy little song.”
“Faster” has already reached the Top 30 of the Adult Contemporary (AC) Charts and #15 on the Adult Top 40. “Everything is really good. Things are moving in a nice direction. We did Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, George Lopez and Good Day New York. We’ve had a nice run with this record, and we’ve been fortunate to have these opportunities,” Nathanson acknowledges.
Although Nathanson loves all of the songs on Modern Love, two that stand out in particular are “Run” and “Kiss Quick.”
Regarding his future plans, he states “there will be lots of touring and playing songs. I also get to go on The Howard Stern Show in October, and I’m a huge fan of his!”
This fall, Nathanson will headline his own “All Night Noise” tour. “I’m psyched and I’m looking forward to playing long sets,” he says.
To read the rest of our interview with Matt Nathanson, where he talks about his smash single “Come On Get Higher,” his definition of success, as well as his choices for alternate careers and dream duets, grab the next copy of Broken Records Magazine!