Matisyahu keeps busy with touring & recording

BMS talks with the reggae star in advance of his Lowell Summer Music Series show

, Managing Editor

Staying busy on the road, Matisyahu will return to Massachusetts on Saturday for a show at Boarding House Park in downtown Lowell as part of the Lowell Summer Music Series.

The Hasidic Jewish reggae star is currently touring behind his most recent release Live at Stubb’s, Vol. 2, the followup to 2005’s Live at Stubb’s, which launched  the Pennsylvania-native to fame behind his smash single “King Without a Crown”.

With that in mind, we caught up with him last week to discuss the tour, his plans for news releases and more.

Boston Music Spotlight (BMS): How’s the tour going so far?

Matisyahu: Tour’s been going great, we’ve been playing a lot of shows so that’s a good thing.

BMS: You’re going to be playing in Lowell this week, that’s a bit of a college town, and it’s easy to see that many of your fans are college aged. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on why this particular age group relates to your music so well?

Matisyahu: I guess that’s just the age when a lot of kids are listening to music, starting to discover new music, and figuring out what styles they like. It’s a time when kids are exploring themselves and listening to a lot of music.

BMS: You’re well known for your live shows and now that you’ve been touring with the Dub Trio for the past couple of years what do you think are the differences in your show?

Matisyahu: Well the sound is different. The sound changes depending on the guys you’re playing with. You can try to get people to play in a certain style or a certain way but at the end of the day people sort of have their own feel… their own flavor. I guess the thing that I love about the Dub Trio is the flavor. We’re sort of all on the same channel in terms of what sound or style that we like. It’s hard to put my finger on it what’s changed but the sound has certainly evolved.

BMS: I heard a story that around the time when you first discovered the Dub Trio you were walking around Boston writing lyrics. Where did you go, and did you find any inspiration in the city?

Matisyahu: I don’t remember why I was walking, but I was walking somewhere because I had some time off. I think it was when we were still travelling in a van. I was down by the river… there’s a path along the river and I remember sitting under a tunnel there for a while and just hanging out.

BMS: I noticed that your recent studio album was a bit of a departure from your previous material. To what do you attribute the shift to a mellower sound?

Matisyahu: Well the people that I’m working with have a lot of influence over the direction of the music. My first record I made, the producer wanted to make a roots-reggae record and I was up for that. The live records I guess have really been the most authentic to the sound of the moment. With Light, I really wanted to explore all those different genres that I’ve been molding into so I brought together a lot of different people and then I brought it all to David [Kahne]. He gave the songs a certain flow, even though there’s such a variety coming from the different musicians and producers we have on the record. So it all kind of came through the funnel. When you work with a producer there’s a certain sound that they have and I’m excited to continue to record because every time I learn more about process and what type of people I like to work with. Every record I make I feel its opportunity to do something different than what I’ve done before.

BMS: You’ve done a lot of guest appearances and collaborations in the past. Is there anybody you’re looking to work with or a collaboration currently in the works that we should know about?

Matisyahu: Well the two collaborations I’m working on are my next two records. I’m working with a producer named Kojak who works with Dr. Luke. We’ve recorded almost a full record already, and I’m working with the Dub Trio so the two albums will be going in different directions.

BMS: I noticed that you’re one of the many artists who have embraced Twitter and you put daily meditations and other words of wisdom. Have you gotten any inspiration back from your followers or are you finding it more of a one way street?

Matisyahu: Well it’s cool to go on there and read how people are connecting with the concepts and things that I’m putting out there. Those meditations are just inspirations and things that I like to share so it’s really just a platform for that.

BMS: I figure that since people respond so well to your music they’d probably respond to your tweets in quite the same way?

Matisyahu: Well you know when it comes to ideas it’s always a little more controversial than music. Music kind of covers up a lot of crap.

BMS: What are your plans for after the tour, other than finishing up the recordings you mentioned?

Matisyahu: After the tour I’m moving out to LA and I’m working on some different things, but mainly finishing up the records. Probably do some shows… acoustic shows. I got a movie coming out in January so I’ll be doing some work on that. We’ll see how it goes.

BMS: Anything else you want our readers to know about your upcoming show?

Matisyahu: No, just looking forward to it.

Matisyahu will be playing at Boarding House Park as part of the Lowell Summer Music Series on Saturday, September 2. Tickets are $35.

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  1. Pingback: Matisyahu keeps busy with touring & recording | Christopher O'Hare | I Hate Me Too

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