Q & A With Matthew Zeiss

Besides being a musician, you do modeling as well. Which industry would you say is tougher and why?
I did modeling for a while, but mainly just to help me have good photos to use for music. I’d say both industries are tough as nails. I never really gave modeling a true go though. It was just something I knew would provide me with something useful for a portfolio. Both music and modeling require you to stay in good shape for the most part, or maintain an image. And in that particular area, I think modeling is much more tough, because they don’t allow much room for error in that department.
Tell us about how you teamed up with Sean Power for World Famous Tattoo Lou’s?
Sean is my producer and does all the instrumentation on my songs. So when I met with Tattoo Lou’s and they requested I write a few songs for them, I chose none other then Sean to do the music. I met Sean through a producer I used to use a few years back. He helped me discover the sound I had been looking for.
Tell us about the song and video for “That’s All Right.”
Doing “That’s All Right” was very important and epic to me. In July 2010, I took a trip to Memphis, Tennesee, and figured while I was down there I should see if I could record at Sun Studio. So I scheduled a date for Sun Studio, July 15th, 2010 at 6pm. Then I met Sean Power, and we discussed what I was looking for out of the song. I wanted to keep it true to Rock N’ Roll, and give it that power and energy Sun is known for. Sean developed a foundation for the song, I took that with me, and just let the power of Sun Studio inspire the vocals. I kept the lyrics true to the 1946 original by Arthur Crudup, as well as, using a bridge from Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon Of Kentucky, also from 1946. Both were recorded at Sun Studio by Elvis Presley in 1954 as an A and B side; seemed like the right thing to do.
And the video, I figured the song came out well enough that I should really show it off and showcase it with a music video. So I hustled and bustled and rented an airplane hangar in Farmingdale, NY, a limo bus to stand in as a tour bus, and tons of girls. Then I got my friends at LifeLine Productions to film it, which they did great, and by January 1, 2011, the video went up.
What’s the songwriting process like for Zeiss? Does it come natural to you or is there a specific way that you write songs?
I have been writing poetry since I was in the third grade, and after that it came naturally. The most likely reason is my father is also a very talented singer/songwriter. Then around 9th grade I attempted writing songs, but it wasn’t till about 12th grade the lyrics started becoming good. I think the best lyrics come from situations I can put myself in, whether it be love, or just a passion about something, it can just flow. And I usually bang out a song within a half hour, I don’t like to spend too much time on it, because then I feel it has become more of a chore rather than true passion boiling over.
You studied a lot of greats and pioneers in rock n’ roll when you were younger. Who would be your dream collaboration from that era and why?
My dream collaboration, that’s sincerely difficult, because there are so many. I’d say if I were to go into the past and look for a dream band collaboration, it would include a lot of people (Laughs). Jerry Reed and Chuck Berry on guitar, Little Richard on piano, Muddy Waters just wailing to himself, Little Walter on the harp, Roy Orbison chiming in between, Four Tops singing backup, my father, and I guess the list would go on. There so many artists who have influenced me heavily, that it would be really hard for me to pick a select few. I feel that if you study the greats, what else can you become?
Any last words?
I’d say as a break off of the last question, at an early age being surrounded by classic important music only, it became part of my soul, but being raised in a modern society, those influences generate into something different entirely. When you take 1950’s Rock n’ Roll, and give it an injection of 2011, I think you get my music. True rock n’ roll, blues in its belly with pep in its step, and a soulful passion overall. The difference between modern music and good ole’ oldies, is the passion behind the singers. In my opinion, today’s music is filled with artists concerned more about their facial expressions and clothes as opposed to their lyrics. If you want an audience to believe what you’re singing, and feel the music, you have to believe and feel it too. That is something that not only I follow, but so does my backup band, “The Boys.” My group is filled with guys who truly feel the music, and I think that is delivered easily when listening to everyone at a live performance.
“Penso che una vita per la musica sia una vita spesa bene ed è a questo che mi sono dedicato.” ~ Luciano Pavarotti
Translation: “I think a life in music is a life well spent and it is that which I have dedicated my life to.”
Much Love,
By Gerard Ucelli

About Justin Sarachik

Justin is the magazine's editor-in-chief. His day to day activities entail sorting through hundreds of press releases to bring the readers the very stories they see on this site. In addition to setting up and editing stories, he writes, does photography and films interviews and performances for BRM. Besides the magazine, Justin is very active in his local music scene running his local music blog, thesibandguy.blogspot.com as well as performing in his up and coming band Process of Fusion. (http://www.reverbnation.com/processoffusion). Favorite BRM Moments: Interviewing Sonny of P.O.D. at Uproar Fest, Interviewing Kel Mitchell of "Kenan & Kel," and setting up the Broken Records Music Festival starring Mac Lethal.