5 Questions: Musician Matt Carroll

Matt-Carroll_Photo-By-Samuel-Letecheur Photo creedit: Samuel Letecheur

Matt Carroll is a drummer, composer, and music educator from Chicago, Illinois. His development started at the age of 5, when he took up cello, classical piano, and percussion on a “drum set” of plastic paint buckets. Matt is a musician dedicated to awakening a sense of the new while holding down a rich tradition of groove and spirit. Balancing between the worlds of jazz, improvised music, and rock, Matt has had the opportunity to perform and record with some of Chicago’s finest musicians. He can be heard on recordings by Ohmme, VV Lightbody, Nico Segal, Marrow, and in collaboration with Sfyria Trio, Typical Sisters, Rooms Trio, and Bison Bison. He has performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival, The Ryman Auditorium, The Chicago Jazz Festival, Summer Fest, and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity among others.

Matt is also a co-organizer of Flood Music, an artist-run label and concert series that seeks to explore connections between diverse forms and approaches to music-making while developing a community of artists and audiences that reaches beyond boundaries of style and medium.

Matt’s broad, joyfully open and inquisitive spirit continues to expand his vision beyond geographic and genre boundaries, enhancing his versatility and enabling him to convey his passion to audiences the world over.

1. What’s been keeping you up at night?
Three things: The other night it was espresso and I was talking to my wife about lice right before I went to bed. I was a little paranoid and under the impression that the lice were crawling all over my body. I’ve also been on the road a lot lately and It can be hard to wind down after playing a show. The adrenaline seeps in and carries me into the early hours. Lastly, I got sucked into the iTunes playlist hole the other week. I wanted to find some funk, soul, disco type of stuff. Went through this massive playlist and ended up with way too many records. Discovered some great stuff though- The Spinners, Deniece Williams, Switch.

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?
Re-discovered the Shuggie Otis record “Inspiration Information.” So fresh and timeless in a way. He was definitely ahead of the game, and he plays most of the instruments on this one! Also heard a few Canadian groups while on tour that recently that blew me away. A math rock band from Toronto called Future Machines and Montreal groups Lune Très Belle and Thanya Iyer.

3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
You’ve caught me at a sort of transition point. I just wrapped up a tour/record release with a group called Typical Sisters (the new record is called “Hungry Ghost”) and now I’m on the road with a group called Ohmme for a few months. I kind of feel like I’m in a bit of a note-taking/feeling/conceptualizing/rebuilding phase. At the moment I’m trying to stay healthy and present for all of these dates on the road! Both of these projects bring me massive amounts of joy and freedom artistically and I feel like each day is a mini journey that requires a combination of attention, patience, and rest. It brings me peace to have a sort of timeline for the next six months (which can be hard to come by in this world) and we’re already talking about getting back in the studio with Typical Sisters this summer which has led to a lot of dreaming and study for when I have more time in June to actually sit down at the instruments.

4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?
This is tricky. I hate doing admin work and booking so I would probably say someone like Brian Epstein (Beatles manager), but I guess for creative inspiration I’d go with David Byrne, Bjork, or Jason Moran. People who have been pushing the live show experience and conceptualizing around various ideas/sensations that directly share/breath new life into their sonic choices. Those artists reimagine the world and then invite their listeners to share in those moments. I do believe that these sorts of things keep humanity alive and moving.

5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called? 
Matty And The Mother Sun.
Matty was my name growing up and it’s my family name. It’s what my family has called me from the start and it represents a safe, happy, loving place. It carries a femininity that I used to loath, but that I’ve also adopted throughout my lifetime. I really do love that other half of myself that I think we all posses. The mother. And my relationship with that mother inside has felt strong from the beginning. My mother’s father had a round face shaped like the sun and he was pure love. I’m so grateful for the relationships that have brought me closer to feeling the joys and pains of life. Through all of the triumphs/tragedies/changes, I look to the happenings of each moment, the mother sun, and all my family and friends to show me the way.

Photo credit: Maud Lervik