Matt Mays: Fostering A Music Culture Unique To The Coast
Insight Juno Award winner and indie-rock artist Matt Mays describes the allure of the East Coast music scene.
Mediaplanet How would you describe the East Coast music scene? What makes it unique?
Matt Mays There are a lot of reasons. One of my favourites is the culture — the Celtic heritage brings a kitchen party sort of element. I grew up in a surrounding where everyone was hanging out and playing tunes in the kitchen. It is such a social and musical vibe. Nova Scotia is also known for its universities, so when the students come, they pick up on it and it creates a great party vibe. This is such a rich part of the East Coast culture.
Everyone is also very supportive of each other’s music because everyone plays. Nova Scotia’s music scene stands alone because that Celtic culture is so engrained. So many people play music on the East Coast, it’s just what people do. It’s a standard now.
“There’s no place I’d rather be than Nova Scotia in the summer.”
MP How has growing up in Nova Scotia inspired your music?
MM It’s a free place with such free people and I think that has shaped my music. A lot of song writers write about places that they live in and for me it was the environment. Nova Scotia is known for its surfing culture and I grew up surfing in those waters. The laid back environment by the water was really inspiring.
MP Is there another artist that has been an inspiration to you and your music?
MM I am a big fan of Mike O’Neill, who is an indie-rock musician. He is one of my favourite song writers from the East Coast and I have had the privilege of playing with him a few times. He has taught me so much along the way.
Another favourite of mine is Al Tuck, a folksinger from PEI. He is like a brother to me and has also been a huge inspiration to me and my music. Al has a rare talent and is truly a great guy.
MP Do you return to Nova Scotia when you aren’t working? If so, what are your favourite past times?
MM I go home as much as I can — I love it there. There’s no place in the world I’d rather be than Nova Scotia in the summer. As I mentioned, I love to surf and can’t get enough of it when I’m home. I usually hang out at Laurencetown Beach, Martinique Beach or Cow Bay when I am looking to catch waves. I am not just a summer time surfer either, I will go out all year round as many others do in Nova Scotia.
MP What is your favourite place to play when you are in Nova Scotia?
MM At the Shore Club in Hubbard’s—I learnt how to sail in the area so I love going back to play. It is also the oldest dance hall in the area. Everyone hangs out and has a good time, it’s all about the experience. Playing at the Shore Club is becoming a tradition for me–I’m trying to make it out there at the end of every summer. There’s something magical about the whole experience, not to mention the area is beautiful.