Get to know Matt Carstens - Interview with Fort Hey
We had the opportunity to have Matt Carstens sit down and answer some of our burning questions!
Matt is a pop singer-songwriter from Cape Town who is making his mark on the music scene, both locally and internationally. Armed with his acoustic guitar and loop pedal, Matt skilfully delivers a lively and versatile performance of original compositions and well known covers.
As a young up-and-coming artist, Matt has played at numerous well know festivals like InniBos, Strab and Up the Creek. He recorded a full-length album “2D Heart” in 2017, to which he received outstanding reviews. Matt is constantly releasing new original work on all major streaming platforms, His songs are playlisted on both national and regional radio stations including RSG; SmileFM; GrootFM; MixFM; MFM; PukFM to name a few.
Read all about Matt and his favourite things here:
We absolutely love your original songs, what would you say is the inspiration behind your last single ‘High’?
Thanks so much for the compliment 😊, For me High is a song about the impulsive nature that sometimes comes with being romantically involved with someone. It's very human to act impulsively when it comes to something like love, even though it may be doomed to fail, as it was in my case. It's about allowing yourself to give in to a situation and appreciating it while it lasts. Almost like an emotional high. All-in-all it’s about how momentary and fleeting our experiences can be, and truly how precious they are. So don’t be scared to dive head-first into something. It may work or it may fail, but it’s still better than never knowing.
Would you say your inspiration was much different in 2017 when you wrote your full length album ‘2D Heart’? If so, how?
Honestly, I just think I’ve become extremely cynical. I recorded 2D Heart when I was in High School and just starting my first year of University. The album came from a very idealistic place. Life tends to catch up with you in that regard. I think my new music is a bit more stylistically and socially relevant to where I am in my life now.
How would you say have you grown as a songwriter, in the two years between your first and latest releases?
I don’t only write love songs anymore, I write break-up songs now too. Jokes aside, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster since my first release. I’ve travelled, worked with some insanely talented people, loved, lost – the whole shebang! I think the writing has evolved as I have evolved as a human, through experience. Everything's coming from a more realistic state of mind, I think (I hope).
In 2018 you embarked on your first international tour to the UK with the Coffee House Sessions. Touring your music in 20 sessions over 2 weeks must’ve given you great insight into being an international touring musician – in which ways would you say did this experience open your eyes to your music and your craft? Were there any compromises or sacrifices you had to make?
The Coffee House Sessions Tour was great. I was touring with a Band called “Germain” – an Australian band. They are really great. Playing so many shows in two weeks was intense at times, but honestly it was so much fun to be doing what I was doing. I don’t think there were compromises made. I love playing live in as many places as I can. Can’t wait to go back to the UK!
You have been in the UK to share your art - what would you say would the big difference be between the UK music scene & its crowd there, compared to the SA music scene and crowd? If they are similar, how?
I think the UK’s thriving economy has allowed more breathing room for music to be integrated into their society in the everyday sense. There seems to be a lot more hunger for live original tunes, as well as venues to accommodate it. When we played at the Oxford Brookes University, the venue was jam-packed at 12o’clock on a Tuesday. It was crazy to see such a turnout in the middle of the day. It is something I hope to see more of in SA. But it is going to take a concerted effort from everyone involved in the scene to do so. However, nothing beats the vibe of the crowds you get to play for here in Mzanzi. We are loud and colourful and ready for a good time on this side of the pond.
We heard that you are hoping to cross the seas once more to play your music, which places are on the top of your list to visit?
I’ve always wanted to play in Ireland; Amsterdam and Tokyo.
Given your songs have been doing well in Bloemfontein, Potchefstroom, Cape Town and many more, where in South Africa can we look forward to seeing you in 2020?
With the release of the next album happening this year, I am hoping to do a full band tour throughout the whole of SA.
Now let's have some fun!
Your songs and their hooks are extremely catchy, if you could write a jingle for your favorite snack, what would that snack be?
Liquorice – none of my friends seem to like it, but hey….
Name one song you wish you could’ve been a fly on the studio wall for, when it was recorded, and why?
Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd would be at the top of the list at the moment. I have always wondered how many recorded takes that really long guitar solo took, before they were like ....”Yeah we should probably just use that one!”
Do you have any tips for any aspiring musicians and songwriters to staying inspired? What do you like doing when you feel a slight creative block, or feel lack of muse for new songs?
To be honest, I don’t think I have any authority to tell songwriters what to do. At times I feel like I am still trying to figure out my own process. Some good advice I was given, was never to try and force creativity, because it won’t turn out well. (Unless you’re Kurt Darren😉) Also never stop writing, whether it is a song, a poem, a thought…. Just document it, because it is a great reference to use when you feel inspired.
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