I moved to Los Angeles in October 1995, that same month the band Self released their first album ‘Subliminal Plastic Motives’. In early ’96 I heard the single ‘So Low’ and was blown away, Los Angeles was full of hyped bands, but this was the real deal. I could hear through the typical Indie Rock mid 90’s stylings and see some amazing substance! The album was full of great songs and sonic candy that reminded me of everything I loved about music!
My friend Desi told me they were playing the Dragonfly so off we went and saw an incredible show! There was moment I will NEVER forget, Matt grabbed a keyboard and using only the stock sounds on it proceeded to play the Primitive Radio Gods hit ‘Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand’! The BB King sample came as stock in the keyboard!
I bumped into Matt at Vance Powell’s Sputnik Studio Party at NAMM and told him I was a huge fan and I’d been at that gig and remembered that event with the keyboard! He said to his girlfriend ‘see it really happened!’ Haha. I think the story had become folklore!
Matt Mahaffey is incredibly talented, and has done so much in the music industry, from playing in a signed band, to recording and producing, writing for commercials, TV and film! Here’s a list of 7 tips to help you go against the grain and make it in this business, catch the full interview below for all the details!
- Go Big or Go Home: When starting out in the music industry Matt Mahaffey started his own record label in Murfreesboro, TN just outside of Nashville. They bought the biggest building in the center of the town square and put a huge sign out front. Don’t do things small, Matt and his friends wanted to make a statement and wanted people to know who they were, and they went for it.
- If at first you don’t succeed try, try again: Matt’s first venture with the record label did not stand the test of time. However, it was a stepping stone in his path to success instead of it being his excuse to quit.
- Change your scenery: Being a rock artist in 1990’s Nashville, Matt felt out of place, but he moved to L.A. and rekindled his love for songwriting. If you find yourself in a rut where you are, you don’t have to be as drastic and move to the other side of the country, but a move to a place with other like minded artists is helpful.
- Strike a pose: The dreaded duck face is not just for skinny models you will have your photograph taken, be prepared and grab your mates for support!
- Never miss an opportunity: When Dreamworks, Matt’s Label was bought by Universal he was dropped in the buy out. However, through that process he met others in the industry that worked at universal and those opportunities eventually opened up doors for him to be able to write music and score for film and episodic television.
- Make it work: Do whatever it takes. That goes farther than simply working hard. Hard work is the tip of the ice berg. Be kind to people, stay on schedule, go to meetings, and share your ideas. this list could go on and on, the point is, do what it takes to make it work.
- Cook with What’s in the kitchen: We all love new instruments and good gear, and getting something new usually makes your feel better, at least for a while. There are lot of folks in this industry that will tell you that you need this clock, or this convertor, or a better mic pre, or higher end monitoring. Matt Mahaffey says use what you’ve got! Make a with what you have a your disposal right now, don’t wait to have the best stuff, or distract yourself with new gear!
Matt Mahaffey has been playing music nearly his entire life. He grew up playing music and writing songs with his brother Mike, and at the age of 11 he was drumming at Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Later, he started his own record label, Spongebath Records based in Murfreesboro, TN. and in 1994 formed his alternative rock band Self. With Nashville he felt as a Rock artist he didn’t feel like he fit in with the country music scene. In the early 2000’s he moved to Los Angeles to hone his craft. Then he returned to Nashville which has since undergone an amazing transformation into the worlds leading music center for many genre’s not just country.
Matt has played with many great artists including Pink, Beck, Liz Phair, Tenacious D, Lupe Fiasco, Phantom Planet, Beyoncé, Butch Walker, Keith Urban, The Sounds, L.E.O. and Smash Mouth. In 2005 he and Jeff Turzo began producing music together under the name Wired all Wong.
Matt has written music for the Shrek Movies, including Shrek, Shrek 2 and Shrek ever after, He’s also written music for television shows including CSI: Miami, DanceLife, Entourage, MTV, E! Entertainment, Dirty Sexy Money, Weeds, and 60 Minutes. Matt received an Emmy Nomination & an Annie Award Nomination for his work with Snoop Dogg on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig. Last but not least, he and his brother Mike wrote the infamous tag line for the internet company Expedia!
Please enjoy the video with interview with the stupidly talented Matt Mahaffey!
Thank you ever so much for watching the interview. Matt has such an amazing story of working in the music industry and becoming the amazingly talented producer, songwriter and composer that he is!
Have a marvellous time recording and mixing!