"People Have a Way" from the album Last Light
Matt Pond, of the feel-good pop quintet, recently made a handful of changes to his life: he moved to New York City, quit smoking, turned vegetarian, produced the latest album for his band, Matt Pond PA, and is about to fast for a few days before hitting the road. The one thing that seems to remain constant for this hardworking artist is making music.
"The only way I spend my time is writing songs," says a sniffling Pond, after taking a break from picking ice off of his trailer's tires in New Hampshire.
The band — Pond, Dan Crowell (drums), and Steve Jewett (guitar), and Dana Feder (cello), Chris Hansen (guitar), and Matthw Daniel Siskin (bass) — have been up north practicing and recording new material since their latest tour in support of their bouncy yet somber September release, Last Light (the follow-up to the recent EP, If You Want Blood). The album found Pond playing a new role as producer and set him jetting across the country. "It made me feel crazy," says Pond. "There are moments of glory, but it's hard fought."
Some of the glory moments on Last Light included working with artists such as vocalist Neko Case and, oddly enough, Mike Stroud of the electronica group Ratatat. "I'd say he's the greatest living guitar player right now," says Pond. "He didn't actually play on the album, but he'd show us the way."
They also found themselves recording at the infamous Bearsville Barn, where Jeff Buckley recorded Grace. "It's the most beautiful place in the world," says Pond. "You open the huge barn doors, and you can play to the outside."
Some of his not-so-glorious moments were also at Bearsville, where their newest band addition, Chris Hansen, saw the boys at their worst. "Chris was the assistant for our session at Bearsville," says Pond. "He's a great musician, and it was like, of course you can be in the band. You've seen me run barefoot through the woods almost naked, chasing deer after drinking a bottle of Jameson."
Matt Pond PA released their debut album Deer Apartments in 1998 and followed in 2000 with Measure. Several lineup changes later, he ended up in Brooklyn.
Although Pond is persistent and dedicated to his music, he has his impulsive tendencies as well. His move to New York City post-9/11 was to get away from the Pennsylvania scene.
"There is this serious palpable energy in New York and I just wanted that," he says. "It's completely changed me and made me push forward more."
He also turned vegetarian after an incident involving his car and a ground hog. "I destroyed an animal driving and it was too much," he says. "And I just wouldn't want to do this to a creature on purpose."
After touring with bands like Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Liz Phair, and Guster, Matt Pond PA are excited for a month-long stint with Carbon/Silicon (The Clash's Mick Jones and Generation X's Tony James' new band). They join Carbon/Silicon after their run through Charleston, but Matt Pond PA's refreshing "O.C." indie pop along with local act The Explorers Club shoulwd be just as memorable. "I can't wait to get to the South where there's warm weather," says Pond. "It's always a good time."