Matt Costa Tells Us Why His Songs Sound Old on 'Mobile Chateau'

Categories: interview
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John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
Matt Costa--he of the pro skateboarding past, smooth voice and palatable singer-songwriter appeal--is back with his third album, Mobile Chateau. The latest set definitively wears its influences on its sleeve--a lot of the songs have that old, laid back, '60s pop vibe that you get from the Zombies or Donovan. He's making a stop at the House of Blues in Anaheim tomorrow to promote it, and talks to OC Weekly about his new (old) sound.

OC Weekly: 'Mobile Chateau' really sounds like it could've been made in the 1960s. Was that intentional?
Matt Costa:
It has been my intention for a long time...to go back to the roots of music [I listened to], in what I thought was the right way to do it. So I had to find the right way first.
And my uncle, who turned me on to a lot of this music, had passed away before I started making this record. He was the catalyst for turning me on to a lot of this. It just felt right--I'd been planning on doing this for a long time and it seemed like a good homage.

What were you listening to when making 'Mobile Chateau'?
I started writing songs because I started liking a lot of that '60s stuff--Donovan, Fairport Convention, Zombies. And through that, I got into more folkier stuff.

I had always wanted to write songs with more elements to them, and I felt like I accomplished it more in this record. Another reason I could focus on [that aspect of songwriting more] was because while I was writing the songs that became Mobile Chateau, I was also writing a whole other album of Roots-ey, Americana songs.

It's not done (or recorded) yet, but folk and Americana are the two genres I always go to when I write songs because that's what I listened to the most. I'd always have to converge the two, but now i was able to focus on one [genre] at a time.

How are they different?

The songs in the Roots album has more in-depth storytelling, while Mobile Chateau is more sonically painted the picture.

Where does the title 'Mobile Chateau' come from then?
We were in the French countryside, and my wife made a mobile of stuff she picked up from  the ground...and it parallelled my making of the record.

There was something nostalgic about that feeling, because it was like a a movable feast--something you could take with you, but nothing that I could ever do again. It also took a long time to build up to these songs--over five years--so that's why it is what it is. Now it's a record you can carry with you--a movable thing!

Your new backing band is from Orange County, too, right? How is everyone getting along?
They're called Mother's Sons and they're all from OC/LB. Its been great because we could give my songs--even the old ones--a fresh take. Everyone walks away from it with more under our belt.

Matt Costa performs tomorrow at the House of Blues in Anaheim with Everest. For more information, go here.

P.S.! We are giving away two copies of Matt Costa's latest, Mobile Chateau! Tell us why you're a Costa fan, leave your name and e-mail address, and we'll pick two winners at random!



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