Better Know an Artist (Vol 13): Matthew Gray (Matthew and the Arrogant Sea)

When I first started this series, one of the first big supporters I got in the local scene was Matthew Gray, which was super cool to me, because when I started venturing out and listening to more music, his band, Matthew and the Arrogant Sea, were just starting to get buzz and a lot of airplay on the Local Show and in the local rags. All these years later, and Matt’s taking appreciation to what I’m doing. Kinda cool. So, I reached out to Matt to see if he wanted to play along, so here we are, lucky #13.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

MG: I started playing music with my little brother and nephews in Broken Arrow, OK, back in the late 90’s. I grew up in a house full of singers (and pickers). Not a’ one of us had ever been classically or traditionally trained, but that didn’t stop us from trying. Most of my sisters and my mother were wedding singers. I remember at an early age seeing my mother perform at a wedding using only an Omnichord as her backing band. Even then, I remember being astounded at her confidence. It was in that moment that I knew I wanted to be that person on stage taking chances.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

MG: I believe that the only true form of time travel, and exploration of the mind and heart, is through songwriting. It’s an arduous and extraordinary journey. I would say, listen with an open heart. Listen with a head full of stars, flat on your back in the grass. That’s when it all makes sense.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

MG: My hero will forever remain with the words of Eef Barzleay. He’s rather underrated, and terribly under-appreciated, but he has a kill shot like no other songwriter I have ever heard.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

MG: When I first moved to Denton, TX, I was pretty confused about myself, and the direction of my life. I spent a great deal of time damning the stars above me. I was a most unique anomaly to myself. Then one day, I dreamt in great detail, a wild and unashamed young man in a pink suit, appearing before my very eyes. He told me: “There is a science to your heart, a science to your eyes, your soul, and every spec of your existence.” I immediately woke up with a bang, and a song in my heart. To me, one of the most important songs I have ever written is a song called, “My Science Fiction Daydream”. The song truly saved my life. I haven’t written a song without the help of my dreams, since.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

MG: A duet with Ozzy Osbourne. Maybe Neil Young would join us for a solo or two? And after I nail the vocal solo on our duet of “Goodbye to Romance,” Ringo Starr would high five me, and I would wake up. Because….it would be awesome.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

MG: Oh, man. I am enthralled by the talented friends (musical family) that I  have the pleasure of being surrounded by. I recently had the pleasure of peeping the new Cantina album, which of course is AMAZING. I’m a nut for uke-pop songs, and killer harmonies. Listen to Cantina!

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

MG: It’s a tie between Diary of a Madman and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Hey, let’s do a mashup!

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

MG: Favorite thing will always be the community aspect of the scene. It really is a big family. Where we love and support one another. That love far outweighs anything I would dislike.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

MG: My favorite DFW venue will always be Dan’s Silverleaf. Dan Mojica and his incredible staff will always have 100% of my love, support, and respect. It’s a magical place. That has housed many of my own dream come true performances.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

MG: Listen to: Felt & Fur, Charley Crockett, Vincent Neil Emerson, Andy Pickett, Cliffs of Insanity, Nicholas Altobelli, Cameron Matthew Ray. I could go on for days. Listen to and support local music.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

MG: I am obsessed with time travel, alien abductions, and David Lynch. I love to write and direct short films, and music videos. I am currently writing and producing a play for the Arrogant Sea. Oh yeah…, I’m actually a certified Sonographer, and full time Cat Dad. Love you guys! Thanks for asking, and for reading along!

Thanks so much to my fellow Matthew for taking time out to hang with us. He truly is an ambassador to our local scene, and look forward to hearing new MATAS output. You can catch Matthew (and Friends) performing a live “reinvention” of his fan favorite album Family Family Family Meets the Magic Christian on Jan 30 at Opening Bell Coffee in Dallas. John Dufilho opens. Refresh yourself on the record below.


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