I first interviewed Matt Doyle last year when he was starring in Lincoln Center's production of "War Horse" and was releasing his debut EP "Daylight." Now, a year later, Matt and I have reconnected to discuss his second EP "Constant," which hits online retailers June 12, and his EP release concert at Joe's Pub on July 2 at 9:30pm.
1. Last time we spoke, you were starring in Broadway's "War Horse" and releasing your first EP, "Daylight." Since that time, you left "War Horse," to star in the out of town try-out of "Giant" (with my friends Katie Thompson and Allison Rogers) and you recorded your new EP, "Constant," releasing June 12. What made you want to star in "Giant"? What did you enjoy most about starring in "Giant?" "Giant" was a wonderful experience. I really believe it's the best musical I have ever worked on. The score by Michael John LaChiusa is stunning. Sybille Pearson's book is poignant and heartbreaking. Michael Greif's direction is, as always, masterful. I recently got another exciting offer that will take me away from the Public's production of "Giant" this fall. I am heartbroken over leaving, but really looking forward to what's ahead.
2. You are about to release your new EP, "Constant," on June 12. What made you want to release another EP over a full length album? Well...first off, cost and time. It's costs a fortune to produce a full length album. I also didn't feel ready to produce a full length album. I am still growing as a songwriter and artist. I'm very proud of everything Will Van Dyke and I have accomplished so far as a writing team. We've had a wonderful time exploring who we are and what our music is. The EP format has allowed us to do so. We can produce 6 solid tracks that we love and want to get out there, rather than 6 tracks we love with a bit of filler. The next time we do this, it will be a full length album. I'm excited to head in that direction. I think between some of the songs we have already produced, and the material we are currently writing...it will be an incredible package. For now, these 6 new tracks will really satisfy. I love them.
3. Why did you want to record this EP in NY instead of returning to Nashville? I loved Nashville and would love to do more there in the future. It was the perfect place for us to create 'Daylight'. For 'Constant', we wanted to use some of the wonderful connections we made in New York when we were mixing our first EP. Namely, Derik Lee. Derik mixed 'Daylight'. He is a genius. I knew that I wanted to bring him on as a producer for 'Constant' long before we began. His work on 'Constant' is spectacular. He had so much input and so many great ideas. Will and I were both thrilled to work with him. He also got us hooked up with the incredible recording studio at Downtown Records. Some of my favorite artists (David Gray) record there. I also have become pretty close with the musicians I have performed with in the New York. I trust and understand them. The chemistry in the studio really elevated the music.
4. How did you come up with the song selection, style, and concept for "Constant"? When I began writing material for 'Constant', I noticed that the songs had similar themes. They were all about the search for the constants we all long for...friendship, family, love, etc. The every day joys that truly make us happy. The things that will be by our side when everything else falls a part. So I named it 'Constant'. I had four songs that really reflected this new title. The last two songs fell into place and completed the puzzle a couple months before we started recording. The style for 'Constant' varies a bit. It's a steady journey from folk/rock to soul. While I adore the retro sound of our first EP, 'Constant' is admittedly more contemporary.
5. What do you hope audiences come away with after listening to "Constant"? The most thrilling part about song writing is when someone tells you they relate to your music. The very idea that a lyric or a chord that came out of our brains can grab or inspire someone else...is priceless. I guess all I can hope for is that people relate to the new tracks.
6. I love the album cover, it's very creative and sexy. What made you want to have the album cover designed that way? My father is a very well known Creative Art Director in the Advertising world. I grew up surrounded by amazing design, especially in regards to print work. It was a no brainer to let him do the cover this time around. I wanted something clean and contemporary. He worked with a brilliant photographer named Christopher Wilson. Christopher shot the image and created the beautiful layering effect on the cover. I honestly just sat back and let them do what they wanted to do. I knew my father's aesthetic would shine through...and it did. I couldn't be happier with the final product.
7. On "Constant," you once again chose to work with Will Van Dyke and Derik Lee. What made you want to work with them again? Honestly, I don't want to write with anyone other than Will Van Dyke. We get each other. We make a great team. He's an amazing friend and a brilliant artist. I'll send Will a cappella demos of new songs at 3 am sometimes. Just melody and lyrics. By the next day he's somehow gone into my brain and arranged exactly what I was hoping to hear. You don't ditch someone that gets you that well. I really couldn't call myself a songwriter without him. And Derik? Well, I already gushed over him...but he's the man. The three of us really love working together.
8. How do you feel your songwriting has grown since "Daylight"? I'm trusting the songwriting a bit more. I'm really proud of 'Daylight'. I will admit I felt pressure to showcase my voice much more on that EP. I was new to songwriting and thought that I should rely most on my vocals. After all, that was why we were putting the whole thing together in the first place. I am a much more confident songwriter this time around. As a result, the vocals are quieter and there is more restraint. The goal was to serve the song more this time.
9. Was the creative process different for putting "Constant" together than "Daylight"? If so, how? It was a lot easier. I knew what I was doing this time. Last time I just held my breath and hoped for the best. I was terrified but excited to make it all happen. This time, it was great to return to the studio with confidence. I wasn't afraid to ask for things. I wasn't afraid to put my foot down. I felt like we created exactly was I was hoping to create this time around.
10. You are celebrating the release of "Constant," on July 2 at Joe's Pub in NYC. What made you want to have your release party there as opposed to another venue in NYC? Joe's was my first solo venue. I love it and I am most comfortable there. It's going to be an amazing night.
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? With friends. And with my doggies.
12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I would want to be able to just zap anywhere I wanted at any time. I LOVE traveling, but I hate planes. They terrify me. I would really love to skip the flight and just be there. I used to say "oh one day someone will invent that...I mean c'mon, we've figured out practically everything else!" After watching a Discovery channel show on Netflix at 2am, I am sad to report that this is absolutely impossible. Hahah.
Check out a preview of Matt's new EP "Constant" below: