Interview with Matthew Good
By Simon Rideout
I appreciate you doing this interview for What’s On Digest Nanaimo, an independent publication supported by people and businesses in the community. The Nanaimo “What’s On” magazine, one of 5 “What’s On” publications on Vancouver Island, features local activities and events happening throughout the city of Nanaimo which, like a lot of communities across Canada, are especially proud to support and welcome artists who come to perform and share their story.
Rideout: You’re playing several dates on the island this month [February 2017] correct?
Matthew Good: That’s right yes I play Victoria on the 11th, Campbell River on the 12th, and the Port Theatre in Nanaimo on February 14th before heading across Canada for 28 performances and winding up in Halifax March 25th.
Rideout: That’s quite the schedule I hope it goes well. Does song writing come to you easily?
Matthew Good: That’s an impossible thing to answer I think in any artistic milieu…really it’s something either you do or don’t do. It’s like exercising something within yourself that you don’t really have a lot of control over but it’s a necessity. You kind of jump on a path and it kind of leads you where you’re going to go…you can make alterations I guess to…somewhat…to the scenery along the way but it’s primarily guidance really…I don’t know it’s a hard question to answer really…
Rideout: Well that was a great answer thank you. Flowing from that: what would you say are good conditions for artistic inspiration? Is it a state of mind or something more tangible such as an experience?
Matthew Good: Oh everything in your life it’s all encompassing really….it can be something that is wholly cerebral and it can definitely be influenced by, you know, things that you encounter, people you meet and things that happen in your life be it experiences away from home or at home it’s pretty all inclusive.
Rideout: What is your favourite song you have written and why?
Matthew Good: Oh God – I don’t know man (laughs) I don’t really know….it’s like…as an artist you find fault in everything eventually. I think if that wasn’t the case you wouldn’t keep going…you know? So it’s not that you’re looking for perfection per-se but I think you get to a point in your life where you’ve been doing it long enough that you know what you are going to do just represents a certain place and time and that you’re going to go on to do something else and when you reach that point there’s a good deal of freedom involved with it…there are a lot of young artists that kind of struggle with trying to perfect things where for me the reality of the past 15 years or more has just been very much I’ve got down what I wanted to get down now and then I’ll move on to something else….
Rideout: What are some things you’d recommend to other artists in terms of how to deal with fans who put you on a pedestal which, perhaps, you feel either you don’t want or don’t deserve.
Matthew Good: hmm…I don’t know – I mean it’s a weird thing when you reach a certain age you start running into people who grew up with your music, you know, and it’s influenced their music and what not and yeah that’s cool it’s like when I played with The Who it’s not like I didn’t sit there and say to Pete Townsend that what he did didn’t influence me, you know, but that being said just like his response was simply to say “…cool…” it wasn’t some long and drawn out thing it’s…you feel honoured to know that your work has touched someone’s life in a way and nice to know that you have had an impact. So I probably take it in that kind of vein you know….I don’t feel like all self-gratified like “I’m the best” or something like that I just take it like “alright that’s cool and I’ll check out your material or whatever…”
Rideout: Do you have any idea why there are sometimes people in rock-concert audiences who seem to want to interrupt the show or hurl insults? Is it their own lack of success, do you think, that makes them want to try to detract from yours?
Matthew Good: No I think it probably has more to do with alcohol than anything really I mean at least in my experience that’s always the case. There’s always someone who’s had too much to drink.
Rideout: (laughing)…fair enough; sad as it is. Some psychologists theorize that certain types of so-called ‘mental illness’ are actually ways of perceiving or filtering reality which is somewhat more “real”. An overdose of “truth” if you will…. One way to be happy is to be ignorant hence: “ignorance is bliss.” How has your own reality filter or lack thereof (as the case may be), informed your art?
Matthew Good: Well I think one of the things, art aside, one of the main stays if you look statistically with most people, let’s say highly cognitive, and also highly artistic people, is they have a touch of something whether very prevalent in their character or not. I think that what happens is, and, you know when they also lead different lives from, say, other people, it’s very difficult for these people to filter out the realities of the world. Like most people they can go out to a bar on Saturday night and do shots and life is happy and fun and yet for a lot of other people that’s not the case and they can’t just dismiss what they know of the world as a whole and what may be happening in the world as a whole or even in their community or country…it’s a very difficult thing to divorce yourself from and that is especially the case when depression is involved people usually falsely perceive that as an amplification of depression when it’s not, in truth it’s just the reality of a wider perspective that can’t be shut down, you know… I think that’s more the case and that there is something to be said for the fact that ignorance really is bliss….if you talk to anyone who suffers under that yolk they all look at anybody who has the ability not to with probably a great deal of envy.
Rideout: Absolutely, what a fantastic answer and thank you for answering that
Matthew Good: No worries.
Rideout: Thanks for doing this interview and I look forward to your concert!
Matthew Good: My pleasure, thank you and see you in Nanaimo!