POZ Interview: Matt And Toby

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 19, 2012

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Matt and Toby from Emery started their own project and are gearing up to release a new album under their own names. PropertyOfZack had the chance to interview Matt a few weeks ago to discuss the album, making music under a name other than Emery, future touring both both bands, and a next Emery record. Chek it all out below!

So it was towards the end of last year when you guys announced that there would be two Emery albums. About a month or so ago, your own project, Matt And Toby was announced to keep the different styles of music apart from each other. When did you guys know that you wanted to do a separate project?
Well we’d been talking about it for a while. Almost every time we’d been going to make an Emery record we’d discuss, “Should we do a lighter record or should we do half of it lighter? B-Sides? What should we do? Because we haven’t done other music that we want to do too. How much of it should be what way or the other?” At this point we decided to make this new record with Emery. Once knew  what we wanted: officially to be more heavy. We were like, “Okay in this case we can’t just do half and half, we should let Emery be that and we’ll just do the other in a separate form.” So we got both. 

How far along is this album? For the Matt And Toby project?
Well the first songs will start getting mixed tomorrow. Five songs are done; five songs need vocals. We’re mostly done. We’ll be done in two weeks with everything. 

There was originally a project called The Water And The Well. Is this the same thing just with a different name?
It’s pretty similar. A couple of those songs are going to be on it. It’s similar to that idea. I know we got a couple of ideas from it. But we ultimately decided that instead of having a new band with a new band identity and its own sound that would make it blocked into something, we were more open to release it as Matt And Toby because it doesn’t necessarily define a certain band or sound or image. It’s just kind of like a solo career, like a duo. If Lenny Kravitz makes a bunch of music, he can make whatever music he wants. It’s just Lenny Kravitz. It’s not locked to a style. As we go forward in the future, all the music that we want to release will just be us releasing it. 

What was it like writing a whole album’s worth of material under the notion that you would be releasing it as something that is not Emery? Was it different?
That’s kind of the point of it is that it’s not really different. It’s what we already want to do. It’s kind of really similar, only the music maybe sounds a little bit different. The process is very much the same. That’s why it exists is that it came out of what we are already doing. “Let’s just do it and put it out; officially make it something.” It’s still really similar to Emery. 

How many songs is it?
Ten right now. It will probably have some B-sides and some other things. We probably will… I was thinking about this today… We might even do some Emery songs, older ones, redone in the style we’re doing now. Just put that on there as additional songs and bonus content. We’ll also probably play some lighter favorite Emery songs when we play live also. 

If this is going to be mixed within the next few weeks, when are you hoping to release it?
The mixing schedule, I believe, is that it will all be finished and mixed by the end of June. The release will be… I would guess October. I think we’re slated out written in pencil for late September; I think it will be around the beginning of October. 

Will you guys be putting it out on a label?
Yes. Tooth & Nail is putting it out. 

And will you be touring with it again this summer?
No. Emery is doing a tour in June and July. So we’re just finishing this right before we head out for that. And then when we get back from that we’re going to work on the new Emery record. And then after that for the Emery record, Matt And Toby is going to go out. We’ll probably tour our first tour around the time of the release in October. I’m not sure exactly when that is going to be yet. But we will be out there touring for real in the fall. 

We know that you don’t necessarily want another big project and that this is just more music and you  can sort of treat it as a solo project, but are you excited to put on a show that might be different than the one that Emery might be putting on?
That’s one of the things I’m most excited about. It’s not that I don’t like doing Emery, but to some degree Toby and I are old and we’ve been doing this Emery thing a long time. It’s really high energy and high intensity. I’m not saying we’re going to sit down on stage and be boring, but we’re kind of excited to have a more intimate, less big or intense show, where we can connect with the people and sing along with them in a better way; up closer and talking more. We can be more comfortable and sing nicely. So those are the kinds of things that we’re really looking forward to doing at a show. We haven’t performed yet, so it will be kind of like if we do acoustic stuff. You can have a really big band and a really big show or it could be stripped down to Toby and I with guitar and a keyboard or something. The types of shows we’re going to do is very broad. So we’re really looking forward to all that. 

I feel like that’s important as well: to be able to experience new things. And that will help you grow as musicians in other areas.
Definitely. 

So you said you’d be doing an Emery tour. That hasn’t been announced yet right?
Yes, the Scream The Prayer tour was announced. 

So have you guys started writing for the new Emery album?
We’re doing  an Emery record after that. We are a little behind on the writing of that because we’ve been on this Matt And Toby thing. So hopefully we’ll get through that pretty quickly. I don’t know how long it will take to complete the Emery album, but I think we should be able to make it in August or September. August or September we should be able to make it through a whole record, I’m guessing. And then we’ll be back out with Matt And Toby on the road. 

Are you happy how the last Emery record did?
Oh yeah. We were thrilled with it. People really liked it a lot. We really like it. We were listening to it the other day and I don’t really listen to our records very much. It’s great. I think it’s a great record and people did really like it and when we’ve played shows and been on tours there were a bunch of new fans. Oddly enough our fans are still about 16-19 years old. I don’t know how they didn’t grow up in ten years, but they’re still 16-19 year olds that are Emery fans and they’re still there. That’s pretty neat. 

We know that the material that you’re writing for both projects would have been written anyway. Are you able to focus more on the songs when you know that you are writing for certain projects? Harder songs for Emery or softer songs for Matt And Toby?
Yeah. I think it’s freeing in that sense because you don’t worry, “What if people think this is too soft? Or too hard?” It makes it really exciting to finish this and then go work on the Emery songs. Just go for it instead of trying to mix the two. I know some people are like that about Emery, that it is a push and pull or a blend of different things, and it still will be. But in both regards it just makes them both feel more exciting and fresh, from my point of view at least. From the writing, it’s really freeing to not worry. It’s good. 

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