Nearly a decade after the release of his debut (2008’s Ready EP), Birmingham’s Matt Sanderlin traverses a 21st century songwriting path that melds the organic, familiar tone of Elliott Smith’s acoustic guitar with the surprisingly warm technological textures of bands like Beach House.
After 21 singles, EPs and albums exploring diverse sonic territory both solo and collaborative (Parishop, Perfect Hair Forever, Verdure), Sanderlin is now building a solid foundation for his art through his latest record, Dream House. A ten-song collection of “careful escapism” that is not afraid to acknowledge some of the trying moments of life, the album will take listeners on a journey that will hopefully leave them with a sense of serenity.
The songs run the gamut of genres and themes. “Tigers in Texas’’ delivers a musical jolt with sampled drums, piercing synths and forlorn lyrics about not being where you belong. “Desire Paths” acoustic-led intro grabs your hand and leads you into an unpredictable, but necessary story of growing up and accepting the struggles that come with adulthood. "Closer" employs a double meaning as the final track and hauntingly intimate tale of honesty and transparency.
"It’s the idea of being in the middle of an existential crisis, and at the end of it, realizing you’re not supposed to know all of the answers where you’re at," Sanderlin says of "Closer". "Knowing that putting one foot in front of the other gets you closer to where you want to be."
Though his self-produced album (out spring 2018) may seem like enough to occupy his time, Sanderlin also is delving into video and multimedia with the second season of the Trunk Show, a stripped-down performance and interview series in the vein of NPR's Tiny Desk Concert, as well as comedy shows like Total Body Demolition. These projects also will influence Sanderlin's upcoming live shows as he plans to add visuals that accompany each song's performance.
Sanderlin also uses his studio, The Velvet Lounge, to capture the sounds of the newest Birmingham artists. After working under engineers/producers Brad Lyons and Will Mason, Sanderlin has recorded EP's for songwriters Connor McCullum and Brooke Holloway.
Without a doubt, Dream House will be Matt Sanderlin’s biggest step forward. Construction begins now.
-- Interview by Chris K. Davidson --