Sunday, May 20, 2012

Matt Gonzales

Name: Matt Gonzales
Website: See below

What do you do?
I am a musician/producer. I am a multi-instrumentalist but my passion lies within the guitar. I’ve also been a promoter/booking agent/sound engineer for 5 years at South First Billiards and other venues/festivals such as The SJ Taco Festival, Moveable Feast, Pagoda Lounge, Johnny V’s, and much more. I am the live music coordinator for an awesome organization called Bring It Back Tour, which has a stage on the Warped Tour this year. We have also had a stage on the local festival called Left Coast Live. I have also taught guitar at San Jose State for their first ever guitar club. I also have worked at a local elementary school for an after-school program. They had a mariachi group consisted of many kids and I helped them hone their skills in guitar and voice. I have been a freelance writer for El Observador bilingual newspaper. As of 2011 I entered the filmmaking world and became a documentarian. The documentary I am currently working on is called “Scenes Are Temporary, Movements Are Forever” and we concentrate on the local art renaissance taking place in San Jose.

Where can we find your work?
What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
I am mostly inspired by everyday life and the random occurrences that take place within it. It could be almost anything I see or hear and I’ll get an idea for a song. My creative process is very simple. I like it that way because it allows me to lay a solid foundation for the intricacies I will put in later. I was in a horrible car accident 2 years ago. A drunk driver hit me and almost took me out the game. But I survived and it was at that moment that I truly started to appreciate life and how delicate it is. It was also at that moment where I learned to never give up and fight through whatever is thrown in front of me. Nothing in life is permanent. There will always be change. There will always be struggle. You just have to have the right mindset to deal with those obstacles when they present themselves. Nothing is easy so be prepared to work hard. And after you are done working hard then work even harder after that.
What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process?
I think it’s most definitely a balance of the two. If I had to choose between them I would say technique/process because you have to present your art in a professional manner. It’s all about Quality over Quantity.
Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
My mother has always been a positive light in my life. She had a rough childhood so she learned how to be strong at an early age. My Dad grew up not having much either. Ive learned to appreciate the little things. Ive also learned how to be strong. All my other heroes are dead. Jim Morrison, Rudy Madrid, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, John Coltrane……etc
If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
I would be V from V for Vendetta. In fact I plan on actually being like him. Just without the blowing up of federal buildings and all. My bombs and bullets will be in the form of Song and Lyric.
When do you get your best ideas?
Shower and Toilet. I swear to Bog.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
I use my Iphone. Every time I get a melody in my head I record it as a voice memo. I sing it out and then figure it out with a guitar or a keyboard. Then I add lyrics and all if it’s a good idea. I keep it simple.

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
I picked up a guitar at 14. My grandma had just died and I remember her always telling me that she wanted me to learn. She was always pushing me but I was too young to really get a hold of the idea. So I went on the Internet and learned a couple chords. I never looked back from then. I picked up keyboards along the way. I have also taught myself how to set up a sound system and record audio. I am a huge believer in being self-taught. I feel that when you do learn something the way you want, it liberates you from constraints of formula and tradition. There is nothing wrong with the two but I am an artist that wants to push boundaries and innovate. In my opinion an artist is restricted by what they are taught by someone else and it takes the fun out of learning whatever you are doing artistically. I do believe in guides though. Rudy Madrid taught me a lot when I was young. I was playing in bars as early as 16. He taught me how to be a professional musician. Tune your guitar, don’t play loud, and listen to everything around you. I was too young to really fathom who Rudy was and we lost contact when I was 20. When he died in 2010 there were so many articles on him and even SJSU did a dedication to him. I didn’t realize what a legend he was and I am truly appreciative of everything he showed me. I have taught guitar in the past and I stressed to my students that I was only going to show them the door. It was up to them to walk through it. I want students that truly want to learn and be self sufficient in doing so. I want to be more of a guide than anything.

What would your creative work taste like?

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
I never stop creating. It is a 24-hour job for me. But on downtime I play pool, listen to music, and watch documentaries.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
I think it’s just a series of repetitions. Practice makes perfect. Its cliché but it’s very true. I learned how to just go out there and give it my all. I’m not worrying about who is there or the size of the audience. I am envisioning how it is going to sound. I am thinking about every note and how the music is going to make me feel. I get in this zone. I’m outside of myself. When I get on stage there is nothing that can touch me. I am in my element. This is where I thrive. My soul is content. If you project positive energy, then that is what you shall receive.

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?
Be Independent. Be Yourself. Work Hard. Learn everything and anything. Don’t give up. Innovate over imitation. And…………..fuck what everyone says, no one can stop your inevitable greatness.  

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