Kitchener-Waterloo artist Matthew Ryan Jacobs has been steadily releasing singles this year, all leading up to his brand new EP, The Trouble in Me. The release, alongside the title track single, boasts a more mature sound, with lyrical honesty and a wider blend of genres. We caught up with Matthew to chat about the EP and focus single, the evolution of his sound, and what he’d put on his rider if (or when!) he was selling out stadiums.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new EP, The Trouble In Me.
Matthew Ryan Jacobs: The EP took a bit of a different approach than my last one. My last EP (Living in Between) had a bit more of a blues influence, and a few tracks that weren’t really single material but added a cool element to the overall EP. With “The Trouble in Me” I wanted it to be difficult to pick which songs to release, I wanted each one to be able to stand on its own.
There is definitely more folk, and I don’t want to say pop, but pop elements to this one; and that could just be because the songs are better. Lyrically there is a consistent theme of moving on, getting older, and getting over some poorer choices from the past. At points it can very dark, but I think there is plenty of optimism to balance it out. Once again, everything was recorded by Ben Kempel and myself, and mixed by Ben
From The Strait: Tell us about the focus single, “The Trouble In Me”.
Matthew Ryan Jacobs: The Trouble in Me is about not fitting in and being ok with that. I think when you’re younger you do things or say things to be “one of the guys”, and I don’t think that is something I ever really wanted. It’s about keeping your individualism and not changing who you are to fit whatever mold people think you should. All wrapped up in happy little soul/folk song.
From The Strait: From your earliest releases to your new EP, do you notice a growth or evolution in your sound?
Matthew Ryan Jacobs: I did notice a growth, I’d say the new songs are more refined and a little slicker sounding. We still used old guitars, and I don’t think it’s over produced; just a few more layers and sonically there’s a little more going on.
From The Strait: What is the music scene like in Kitchener-Waterloo – any local artists grabbing your attention these days?
Matthew Ryan Jacobs: I’d say it’s doing great, there seems to be live music everywhere again. I’m always rooting for the fellas in Excuses Excuses, and Conor Gains is doing some cool stuff. Clarissa Diokno and I, The Mountain are both also really cool artists/bands.
From The Strait: Do you get nervous before playing live? If so, what do you do to combat that?
Matthew Ryan Jacobs: Nah, I don’t generally get nervous anymore. If I do I’d say it’s more anxious, and once the first song is out of the way I’m good.
From The Strait: Imagine you were selling out stadiums – what would you put on your rider?
Matthew Ryan Jacobs: Definitely Campari. I don’t really drink anymore, but when I do it’s Campari and soda with a slice of lemon. It’s bitter, but it’s great, 2 Campari’s and I’m as happy as can be. That, and salt and vinegar chips. Easy Peasy.