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The music of Kansas City musician Mat Shoare is lushly melodic and engaging in the best tradition of American and British baroque pop and rock. The past twelve months have been creative and productive ones for Mat. In May, 2015, he released his second full-length, Right as Rain, to wide acclaim. Most recently, he released a new EP, Mirror Music no. 1, another potent dose of inventive melodies and classic arrangements. We are lucky to share an interview, recommendations and music samples from Mat ahead of what will likely be another exciting year for him.
Please introduce yourself. Where do you live and work? What does a typical day look like for you?
My name is Mat Shoare. I am an independent musician and have been writing, recording, and releasing my music since 2010. I live in midtown Kansas City. I work at a local restaurant to pay the bills.
Tell us about your new album, Right as Rain. How long had you been working on it? What songs are you most proud of?
Right as Rain is an album that I released in May of 2015. I had been working on it for about a year. It was recorded in my house in Kansas City over several sessions. Ross Brown (of cool KC band Fullbloods) recorded most of the songs and helped me fill out the ones that I started on my own. Ross also mixed it. It was mastered at Westend Recording Studio by Mike Nolte. Almost a year out from the release now I am still proud of that record. My personal favorites from it are “In Good Time” and “Nothing Like You”.
More recently I have completed and released a new EP. It’s called Mirror Music no.1 and it was released in January of 2016. The songs were recording over the same sessions for my last full length, Right As Rain, but were saved to be used for this release. Right As Rain and Mirror Music no.1 are linked and draw on the same themes. This music is a about abandonment, bitterness and repressed anger. In a way the EP kind of closes the book on that period of song writing for me. I've had an extremely eventful year and I'm writing a lot of new tunes about all of that. So this project also works as a nice little taste to hold everyone over until the new album makes it out.
While many of your lyrics are introspective, your music is very melodic and hook-driven in a way that recalls classic pop. What do you find most fulfilling and challenging about working within this musical model? I try not to overthink things like that. I generally just let the songs come to me and attempt to fill them out the way I hear them in my head. I try not to give myself many options as far as “musical models” go. The music that I make is kind of a mixture of everything I liked listening to growing up. A well-written pop song is one of the most satisfying things for me to experience. But I also love introspective, quickly lyrics that give you insight into the writer’s individual human experience. I’m just trying to make music that I would want to listen to. The biggest challenge is that it is difficult and I often fail. The most fulfilling thing is when I get it right.
What artists do you look to these days for inspiration? What do you admire most about these artists?
My big ones right now are Paul McCartney and Wings, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, and lots of random tunes from Burt Bacharach, Dennis Wilson, Harry Nilsson, and the Bee Gees. Anything that the Beatles ever did is rattling around in there as well.
I admire different things about every artist. I draw on lyric styles from some, arrangements from others, etc. One thing that I am drawn to in an artist is someone who made records the way that they wanted to with little or no regard for what anyone else thought about it.
Mat's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
Pacific Ocean Blue by Dennis Wilson. Cool that Johnson County Library has a copy of this lush album on CD. One of my new favorites.
Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert. A classic and one of my favorites. I’ve been listening to a lot of Herb Alpert lately.
McCartney II by Paul McCartney. If you haven’t listened to this album you should.
Broadchurch: The Complete First Season (DVD). I fell in love with the show recently.
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. One of my favorite author’s best books.