Matt Costa

posted by / Sounds / May 15, 2008

Think Jack Johnson with a whiskey sour, Or Conner Oburst after a Prozac overdose. Cruisy jams you’ll connect best with at dusk on a lonely road or on a glassy Sunday morning. And while it’ll serve you better as a post-session cool down than a pre-heat pump-up, it’s a sound you can jam without rolling up the windows at a stoplight. Here the Huntington Beach bred former pro-skater and RVCA sponsored artist tells us how strange the road to successful musician can be. -Travis Ferré


SURFING MAGAZINE: YOU STARTED AS A PRO SKATER, WHAT MADE YOU TRANSITION INTO MUSIC?
MATT COSTA: It was a 10-stair ledge and gravity. I shattered my leg to pieces. It took a lot of screws and metal plates to put it back in. There was bone coming out of the skin in my ankle. That’s what stopped me skating. I was 19.

BAD TIMING FOR YOUR SKATE CAREER.
Yeah, I had just finished school, too. I did the last year of high school as independent studies, so I could put more time into skating and then all of a sudden I wasn’t skating anymore. I was laid up for 18 months and it was one of those things where music became a big part of my life — but it took me being laid up to realize it.

AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE YOU COULD MAKE IT AS A MUSICIAN?
Today. It’s funny you bring it up, I never thought about it until now, sitting on this tour bus on the way to our show in Oregon. I guess I should start trying to make something of it. It’s one of those things where you spend six hours working on a song and time goes by in an instant. That’s sort of how I look at all this now. I sat down with a guitar, my piano and my four track five years ago and was obsessed with it and now I have this. I don’t know how it comes about but that’s the mystery that makes it exciting.

WHAT’S THE SONG WRITING PROCESS LIKE FOR YOU?
It’s basically starts with a lot of coffee. I wake up in the morning and I’ll drink a bunch of coffee. I’ll drink about three or four cups until I can’t talk to anyone because I’m thinking too many things at one time and I’ll walk by the guitar and you pick it up and play. I just have to make sure I press the record button. All of sudden everything I’ve been thinking about for the past couple days starts to come out and you just try to capture it with the record button.

WHAT WILL WE FIND ON YOUR NEW ALBUM?
It’s s weird because I just woke up one day and it was there. I’m really proud of it. I’ve learned so much from every record and every song I’ve ever done. Music becomes a reason for me to discover things. For example, during the recording of this record I moved to Sacramento I basically threw myself into several different books. One being Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, and another one about how during the Great Depression there were about {{{200}}},000 teenagers riding on trains across the U.S. It’s called Riding the Rails by Errol {{{Lincoln}}} Uys. I picked it up at a train museum and it was so cool. Music just allows you the opportunity to discover things like that. I think that will come across on this record.

REVIEW:
Unfamiliar Faces (Brushfire Records, 2008)

After the sunny opener “Mr. Pitiful,” Unfamiliar Faces swaggers back and forth between musty bars and cool meadows. Harmonicas, pianos and Matt’s ripped-from-the-heart lyrics form a record you’ll play for every sunset you watch.

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