This week I’m talking with banjo picker extraordinare Matt Menefee who has worked with Ricky Skaggs, Mumford and Sons and Bruce Hornsby as well as other artists from all genres of music. We discuss the importance of being around the people you want to work with and making your presence known. Plus, how the internet can be your best tool as an indie artist or musician.
Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this episode we talk about:
*Working with Ricky Skaggs, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Meatloaf, Big and Rich, Bruce Hornsby, Mumford and Sons, Steven Curtis Chapman and more.
*Go to industry parties, etc. and meet people that are plugged in. That is how you get work.
*You have to be in the scene to be seen.
*The internet is your biggest and best tool.
*Procure as much of as a presence as you can.
*If you’re going to live somewhere else you need to focus on content for the internet.
*Attending jam sessions and writer’s rounds, etc is the best way to plugged in.
*Learn to record music and get around in a DAW if you want to keep up with everyone else.
*Be present in the moment.
* Contact Matt at https://www.facebook.com/matt.menefee.79
Matt is one of the freshest and most interesting voices on any instrument I’ve heard in a long time. What a blast listening to him and playing music together. – Warren Haynes, The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule Matt,
TheBanjoPlayer’s name might be simple but the music of the man that wears the moniker is anything but. Rare is the musician that possesses such a strange ability to blend and intersect the complicated nuances of the head with the passionate sways of the heart. And somehow incorporate them with subtlety and power. Transforming an age old instrument into something more like a five string version of Doc Brown’s time-traveling Delorean. Seamlessly dancing back and forth between traditional sounds and future-seeking modern motifs. Lauded by Grammy award-winning banjo player Winston Marshall of Mumford and Sons as his ‘‘biggest inspiration on the banjo’“, MATT’s other-worldly banjo playing has received praise from all corners of the musical universe.
His unique approach to the 5-string has led him to record and perform with such luminaries as Béla Fleck, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, and Mumford And Sons; just to name a few.
First introduced to the banjo through his grandpas love for bluegrass music, Matt connected quickly with the instrument. And at 17 his coming out party included winning the prestigious Winfield National Banjo Championship. From there he co-founded two critically acclaimed bluegrass-acoustic super groups Cadillac Sky and Chess Boxer and circled the planet with his banjo in hand. Around the same time that Matt was studying the works of Earl Scruggs and Béla Fleck, Matt was also falling in love with the music in video games. Before long Shuckin’ the Corn was cross breeding with Sonic the Hedgehog and in 2018 he decided to combine his most powerful musical influences – video game music and bluegrass – and recorded a record under the name The Hit Points of which Higher Plain Music called The Hit Points debut the ‘Biggest surprise of 2018 to date’ and Gamasutra recognized that The Hit Points gave listeners ‘the album they never knew they needed’. As FiveSpeedbanjo.com put it, ‘Clark Kent climbs into a phone booth and transforms into The Man of Steel, Matt Menefee climbs into a banjo case and becomes MATT, TheBanjoPlayer.’ Whether it’s carving out sonic spaces within genres as diverse as hip hop, rock, EDM, Jazz, or classical music, or colluding with former C-Sky bandmate Bryan Simpson to create the Alt-bluegrass sounds of The Golden Age or continuing to integrate the compositions of video games with the sounds of bluegrass, MATT, TheBanjoPlayer is just beginning to come into his own. Whether it’s as MATT, TheBanjoPlayer or MATT, TheBanjoPlayer Plays Video Games he is changing the colors and sounds that have for so long ear-marked the banjo. Be on the lookout for MATT, TheBanjoPlayer.
Matt is technically one of the best musicians I have ever worked with. Yes, he is very gifted, but also he works non-stop at his craft. – John Cowan, founding member of New Grass Revival