“If you can make it through life happy with what you’ve done, and excited for what you will do, then you’re successful.”@Edewaard_Music
GETTING TO KNOW MATTHEW EDEWAARD
by Jacqueline Jax
If you can make it through life happy with what you’ve done, and excited for what you will do, then you’re successful. In my case, if I can have a sustainable career making music then that’s my definition of success. If my music can pay the bills, put a roof over my head, and eventually support a family, then that’s the ultimate win. But focus on being happy, don’t worry about the money. Happiness is key. It may sound cliche but if you’re not happy with your life, then what’s the point? Set goals, pursue them, build relationships, make mistakes, laugh, cry, and exist.
I have a lot on my plate right now…
I’m in the middle of promoting the new album Why Not?, but I’m also working on two other albums for the future. One album is called Origins and the other is called Circles. Both are expected to be finished by 2016, but I’m also planning a tour right now so production on these records will move slower than usual. Origins is an album comprised of songs from my first demo Never Take Back and the B-sides demo Renominom Junction. The reason why those songs are getting reworked is because they were done on my MacBook — very digital, very MIDI, very thin. They were never intended to be albums, but because of their fast growing popularity, in time, the demos kind of became “glorified demos” often mistaken as albums because of their length. Those demos are on Pandora, iTunes, Spotify, & Rhapsody which is great because most bands don’t release their demos for sale anymore. But I never expected them to be the last incarnations of those songs. They were always scratch tracks and I was never proud of the production quality. I recorded the vocals in a closet for crying out loud! So Origins will be my opportunity to rework these tracks in a professional studio and give the songs the justice they deserve. After all, they were my breakout singles as an artist!
As for the other new album Circles, it will contain all new songs that I’ve been working on for over a year now. It will feature singles Richard Dashut arranged, and will complete Edewaard’s tetralogy thus far. Amidst making these records I will continue to write many songs for sick or troubled children for Songs of Love, and tour the country playing as many gigs as possible. There is no where to go but up.
As we say in the band “spread the ‘waard, onwaard & upwaard!”
I started playing music when I was 15 years old….
My friend had an electric guitar because his parents insisted that he and all of his brothers should play a musical instrument. One day I was over at his house and saw the guitar on his bed along with a few sheets of tablature. The song was the theme from Beverly Hills Cop. I picked up the guitar, a cheap black & white Yamaha EG112, and began to make correlations between the tabs & the strings. In about 20 minutes I had learned the theme song without ever attempting to play the guitar in my life. My friend was impressed and insisted I should take up playing. The next morning, I entered the park I walked through to get to school. In hindsight, this moment was rather symbolic because the path I had taken to school veered into two separate directions. It was quite literally a “crossroads” moment. Instead of going left, I went right. Typically I would never take this route, it was a much longer stretch and would result in me being late for class. However, on this walk, I needed the extra time to think about my future and what direction I wanted to go in. Up until that point I had been very conflicted. I didn’t have a particular passion, I wasn’t a good student, and most of my friends were pursuing things that I had no interest in. I had always loved music, my dad was a drummer before he became a Police Officer, but the thought of playing it had never crossed my mind. The first album I had was Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever, and all throughout Middle School I wore that CD out. I loved Rock n Roll. My dad used to dance around with me as a baby listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Lucky Town, and my mom listened to Enya & Fleetwood Mac on repeat.
So when I got home from school that day I asked my mom if she would buy me a guitar, and within a few days, she bought me an electric guitar on eBay. It came with a small practice amp and after school ended that year, I spent my entire summer slaving away at learning guitar. I loved it so much and I had never felt anything like it. Within a few months I borrowed my friend’s keyboard and learned to play piano as well. The following year I began teaching myself to sing. In the beginning, I started playing in metal bands because that’s what was thriving the most in the local music scene. I played several shows in a few different bands as the lead guitarist. I loved electric guitar, but I was always curious to what else I could create musically. My heart was never in metal like it was in classic Rock growing up, but I just wanted to play. So when those metal bands had disbanded I started writing my own material, and finally, I had officially found my place.
While playing in metal bands, I met a producer/engineer Matthew Feltes at Central Node Productions in Eugene. We established a close musical bond which we still carry to this day. In 2008 we cut my first solo acoustic record, Voices. In 2009 I formed a band called Reclaiming Jane, and within a year we were playing at Eugene’s McDonald Theater for the Best of Eugene Awards Show. After the band amicably split up, I spent the next several years writing and learning audio production. In 2013 I recorded a demo album called Never Take Back, followed by a B-sides demo called Renominom Junction. With the former members of my previous band Reclaiming Jane, we formed a live band and toured the West Coast under the alias “Edewaard”. From dives, to halls, to fairs, to live radio performances, we played any gig we could. We racked up about 250 shows in a year and gained quite the attention in doing so. I’ll never forget walking to a gig in Boise and hearing our single ‘Mr. Niceguy’ blasting out of a taxi as it stopped at the red light in front of us.
The next year in 2014, we recorded our first studio album Edewaard and made our first music video which won the Eugene Film Society’s Best Music Video Competition. Later that year I was recruited by the NY based, non-profit organization Songs of Love, dedicated to writing personalized songs for children and teens currently facing tough medical, physical, & emotional challenges. It has been a huge blessing and gives me purpose. In January I had the pleasure of flying down to Vegas and visiting the home of Richard Dashut (multi-platinum producer of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, Tusk, Tango in the Night, Mirage, etc.). In his living room we talked about the music, and worked on a few tracks for my next record. Like a wizard, Richard rearranged my songs and took those songs to a place I could never have achieved without his help. For that, I will always be grateful. Keeping the momentum going and spreading the music is the most important to me. I am always trying to get better, and push myself. I don’t care about being the next “big thing” so much as I just want loyal listeners & faithful fans. Now I continue to work on new material and promote the new album Why Not?, while looking forward to the future.
The song ‘Pictures of Her’ is a comedic light-hearted take on young love….
The lyrics suggest a girl discovers a boy has a crush on her when she finds a picture of her in his wallet. Upon being confronted, the boy confesses and expects to be shot down. However, the song never specifies what happens next, it’s intentionally left open & ambiguous for the listener to interpret their own conclusion.
When I was listening to REM’s ‘Fire’ one day, I noticed Stipe sings the same verse several times throughout the song. Some may see this as “lazy”, but I was intrigued on how he could get away with it while making the song so interesting. In ‘Pictures of Her’ I took that influence and applied it to all the verses. The first verse is the same as the second, and so on. I think this caters nicely to the story of the song by burning the repetition of the story into the listener’s head, and is the only song on Why Not? that repeats its verses. ‘Pictures of Her’ wields uplifting hooks, in an effort to bring hope and joy into the character’s perspective. A young boy with a crush is something I could relate to, and needed to express in a simple story. The song embodies several parallels to my life growing up as a young boy.
where the music scene is a circus. There are several venues and wonderful people, however, it’s probably not the town you’ll be discovered in. The locals will know you well, and remain faithful fans, but Eugene has a way of sticking to it’s own. It’s a town that is “proud to be weird”, so if you’re somewhat conventional, you may be ignored. Most say it’s stuck in the hippie movement, but behind all of the hummus, incense, and Birkenstocks, is a tight community. Sometimes too tight. Despite the vast array of diverse people, the music scene is not so unique. Unfortunately, there are many bands of different backgrounds & genres that never get the attention they deserve if they stay in Eugene. Eugene has a way of loving reggae bands, bluegrass, & metal, and if you’re not in that category, you’re somewhat thrown to the wayside. Luckily we’ve established a fantastic following here, but it’s a more conservative crowd than I’ve seen at other bands’ shows. At our shows people are more inclined to listen attentively with their loved ones, dance, drink beer, and applaud the very second a song finishes. (As opposed to being drunk & stoned while flopping across the dance floor).
At times Eugene seems like the cantina scene in Star Wars, with people and cultures from all over. Maybe they are students gong to the University of Oregon, or they’re Californians on their way up to Portland or Seattle. Either way, it’s a great place to live, but not the place to push your dreams. For that, you must venture outward. Luckily Oregon is strategically positioned between Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, and Boise. This allows the live band and I to travel whenever & wherever we desire to get the promotion we need.
When I’m not playing music I’m either drawing, painting, or collecting comic books. I try to keep my hobbies simple and nostalgic. I’m a very simple person and I like simple things. Eugene has some wonderful comic shops, and has finally adopted their own Comic Con! I am also a licensed tattoo artist, but for a while it became more of a job than a hobby, so I decided to turn my primary focus to music. Someday I plan to start tattooing again, and perhaps write and illustrate a comic series of my own. But music comes first.
I didn’t use to be a huge fan of social media, probably because it represented change in an already “changed” world. But I’m beginning to love it. I’m starting to see that the Rock n Roll scene isn’t “dead,” it’s just different. Social networking has allowed me, along with thousands of others, to gain the exposure they deserve. Ex: I wouldn’t be doing this interview had it not been for social media! I’m getting the hang of everything relatively quickly but there is still so much to observe & learn. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of amazing Indie Music websites & magazines strewn about the world dedicated to helping independent artists achieve success. Sure, as a musician it can be daunting with how over-saturated the internet is with other artists, but the true artists are the ones that shine through and persevere. The artists that keep going after being knocked down several times are the ones that make it. A lot of the independent artists on the internet are just making music for the image, the attention, or the title; and for this they will fall. But on the contrary there are so many amazing artists that emerge from the depths of said saturation, and that is what’s worth fighting for.
3 most used social media tips or tricks..
It’s all about balance. Research sites, but don’t burn yourself out to the point you can’t stand what you’re doing. I mean, the reason why we’re musicians is to have fun right? So have fun. Also, be persistent without being annoying. Some bands have to learn this the hard way, perhaps I’ve even been guilty of it in the past! But it’s a learning process.
Another important tip, is don’t stop. Maintain momentum, don’t plateau, try new things, reach out to new people; and as dumb as hashtags are…they work! So go crazy with those things. Have no shame.
The most important part about all of this though, is to establish ongoing relationships with the people who help you out. If a radio station plays your CD, send them a thank you e-mail, or even a gift of some sort. Do your best to cross-promote and help THEM out as well. Karma is not as elusive and mysterious as it’s known to be. It’s pretty straight forward and more like a mathematical equation. You do good for someone, they’ll return the favor. Simple. And if they don’t, you still did something for that person and the world needs more of that.
Remember the golden rule!
As an artist that doesn’t make stereotypical pop songs, you sometimes have to stop yourself from going “man I should just write ONE sell-out hit to get the attention I need.” But then, more often than not, saner heads prevail and you realize that your whole path as a musician is unconventional. It’s why we’re artists. We can’t just give in to the gimmicks and pop-culture other wise we lose our own musical personalities, and compromise the very reason why we became artists in the first place. Although I suppose it all just depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to be a dancing pop star who wears skimpy outfits for attention, then being “current & trendy” is right for you. But if your goal is to be an artist who makes identifiable music as an outlet intended to be taken seriously, you should try your damnedest to do what YOU want and not what’s expected of you. It’s unfortunate how much emphasis is on looks rather than skill, but it’s what sells, and what sells is what gets the most attention. This fact can be frustrating at times but it’s just another tide for artists to fight.
Matthew William Edewaard (born April 13, 1990), known by his mononym Edewaard, is an independent American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, touring artist, & producer. He has written, performed, recorded, & published 6 albums; 4 of which Edewaard produced himself. Edewaard’s music is often noted as being reflective of classic Rock/Pop & New Wave, carrying influences reminiscent of artists from the late 70’s & early 80’s. The albums are typically riddled with short, punchy, melodic tracks focused heavily on the lyricism. Edewaard is also a song-writer & producer for the New York based, non-profit organization, Songs of Love; dedicated to providing personalized songs for children and teens facing tough medical, physical, or emotional challenges.
Edewaard continues to tour with his live band, & has recently finished the upcoming record entitled ‘Why Not?’. The release date of which will remain undetermined until adequate management/representation has been found. You can find Edewaard’s music on Pandora, iTunes, Spotify, & Rhapsody. (www.edewaard.com)
“Edewaard has a sound that is both all their own, yet eerily familiar.” -Convozine
“Smooth, melodic, & laid back sound that I just eat up.” -Skope Magazine
“If I had to describe this band’s sound with just one word, it would be ‘rich’. The songs straddle the line between rock & pop, but it’s the textures that really grab the attention; you don’t so much listen to these songs as you find yourself surrounded by them.” -Incognito Magazine
The Songs of Love Organization: http://www.songsoflove.org/songwriters/mattedewaard