Aufgepasst an alle Pop-Mäuse, heute möchte ich (Sarah) euch einen garantierten Top-5 Artist von meinem Spotify Wrapped 2022 vorstellen. “I wish you would call me, call me an asshole” – Hastings hat die perfekte Kombination aus süchtig machenden Melodien und genialen Lyrics einfach verstanden.
Ich habe mich mit Sänger Matt letzte Woche auf Zoom getroffen, und mit ihm über die Musikszene in Nashville, die allererste Tour, und die neueste Single gesprochen: “Blame the Brakes” – die am 30.9. released wurde. Wer also für zukünftige Hit-Singles am Start sein möchte, sollte sich hier auf jeden Fall mal einlesen, und dann sofort weiter zu Spotify wandern.
Sarah: First off, thank you so much for taking the time! How are you today?
Hastings: I’m great! I’m sorry, I’m in my car right now. The connection might be a little bit rough at moments, but we’re rolling with the punches.
Sarah: I can hear you alright, so it should work! Fingers crossed! … Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers who don’t know you yet?
Hastings: Sure! I go by Hastings. My first name is Matt, my last name is Hastings. I’m a pop artist from Nashville, Tennessee.
Sarah: Nashville has a pretty big music scene, I’ve heard. What is it like?
Hastings: A very big music scene. And it’s grown, especially over the last five years. I think it’s most known for its country music, to be honest. Whenever I tell somebody I’m from Nashville and I say I do music, everybody automatically assumes I do country music. But there’s always been a little pop scene. There’s always been a little rock scene. Especially over the last five years, I feel like the pop scene has just grown bigger and bigger. And I think it’s getting to the point where it’s just as competitive – I say competitive, or compelling, either one – as LA or anywhere else like that.
Musikalische Einflüsse in jungen Jahren
Sarah: Did you grow up in Nashville? I feel like that growing up in a city like that, I would probably want to start making music myself.
Hastings: I didn’t grow up in Nashville, actually. I was raised in the church, so my dad was – is a pastor still, he was a pastor my whole life. So I grew up moving around and moving to different churches and everything. I was born in Florida, and I was always kind of surrounded by music, my dad was a huge influence on me. And still is, but he kind of surrounded me with music from as early as I can remember. And yeah, I was born in Florida. When I was three, I moved to Michigan, which was a huge jump…
Sarah: I can imagine!
Hastings: Especially weather wise. And then I’ve been around the Tennessee area since I was like six. So I lived in Chattanooga, and I lived in this really small town. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the festival, Bonnaroo? It’s a huge festival.
Sarah: Yeah, and I’ve been to Chattanooga, actually!
Hastings: Oh you’ve been? The aquarium is cool. That’s all I’ll say. I think there’s not a lot of things in Chattanooga. And there’s especially not much in where I spent most of my growing up days in Manchester, Tennessee, which is where Bonnaroo is. It’s a super small town. Nothing happens there except Bonnaroo once a year.
I grew up homeschooled which gave me a lot of time to do music. I would wake up and do my school in like an hour. And then I would just like sit and play music all day. And of course growing up in the church, I played music in the church every week. But yeah, I moved, my parents were gracious enough to let me leave the small town and go to Nashville.
I knew one guy in Nashville, one producer and I slept on his couch at 16. My dad gave me his car. He was like “Go to Nashville, do your thing.” – he could tell I was getting kind of antsy. So he let me go, he gave me his car and I drove to Nashville, and I never turned around once, except for when I had to go back and get my GED because I told my parents I’d do school on my laptop. They were like, please, if you do something, just finish high school. And I did. But yeah, I’ve been in Nashville since I was 16. I’m 22 now. And Nashville is definitely home.
Hastings: Yes, it was!
Sarah: Funnily enough, you were part of one of my favourite memories from that tour, I was with flor. And I remember selling merch alongside Preston in Santa Ana, and we were just like, jamming out to Blank Me.
Hastings: That’s so cool! Preston is the sweetest guy. And I feel like we met then?
Sarah: Yeah we did! I remember you saying hi to me. And I didn’t fully register that until I was around the corner. And I was like, that probably seemed so rude…
Hastings: No, no, not at all. Yeah, that was my first tour. I think about it every day, every time I talk to somebody about it. I always just say it was such a learning experience. In the first 10 shows, I was really trying to figure out how I wanted to be, you know, perceived on stage. And I’ve never really done that before.
A lot of people go and brush off the cobwebs, but I didn’t have any cobwebs. Like I was just trying to figure out how to perform. And I was a nervous wreck the whole time to be honest with you, but it got a little bit easier. The second half, it all just comes with reps at the end of the day. You know, I was just trying to figure it out.
But I love The Band CAMINO, those are some of my really good friends here in Nashville. And I was very grateful and just incredibly excited when they asked me to go on tour. And from that tour, I’ve made great relationships with the flor guys and honestly, like I couldn’t have asked for a better first tour.
(notices I’m wearing a flor shirt) Nice! I have that same shirt.
Sarah: You probably also have the same tattoo? (on that tour in Seattle bands & crew all got tour tattoos backstage)
Hastings: No way! Wait. Hold on, I gotta show you mine! (shows me his tattoo)
Sarah: Yay!! We’re matching!
Hastings: That’s so cool. Yeah, I couldn’t have asked for a better first tour, everybody was incredibly kind and gracious and everybody who we were touring with were just … veterans. We had no idea what we were doing. We were like very, very fresh to all of it. So it was a great experience. It really was.
Sarah: Honestly, I think you were one of the best openers I’ve seen in a while. Sometimes it feels like artists that are opening have a little bit of a problem to capture the audience’s attention. Or sometimes it feels like the room is just too big for them. But it didn’t feel like that with you at all!
Hastings: That means a lot. I feel like there were moments where I was just trying to figure out what to do. But I’m very glad it came across like that. So thank you for saying that.
Sarah: Do you have a favourite memory from a show that you’ve played?
Hastings: Probably the last show of that tour. It was Philly, and it was way more of a celebration than a show, with maybe a little too many tequila shots. We were just having a great time on stage, we played six songs every night, a 30 minute set. And in between every song, one of the members of flor or The Band CAMINO would bring out shots for me and my band. So by the end of the set, we took like six shots in the span of 25 minutes. And it was fun. So that was probably my favourite memory for sure… what I can remember of it.
Sarah: (laughs) … Also what I think is great about a music, is that there’s a song for every mood. Like Take Mine for whenever I run back to the person who treated me like shit, but I still can’t stay away. Asking for a Friend when I’m done with feelings and just over it. I’m guessing your songs are biographical? Do you naturally gravitate towards writing songs about love?
Hastings: That’s always my initial instinct. The few songs that are out definitely are all about love. I have songs that aren’t, that aren’t out, but that’s what I find I write the most about at the end of the day. And those are my best songs just because of what I’ve been through, and even some of my songs are what my friends have been through. I kind of just pull from pull from every aspect of a relationship.
Sarah: You also released a new song last week, Blame the Brakes. First of all love the cover! The vibes, like the colours?? Do you want to tell me a little bit more about the song?
Hastings: Yeah, Blame the Brakes was one of the first songs I wrote with my producer Mike Robertson, and I wrote it with these two fantastic writers who also wrote majority of my first EP with me. And we wrote it I guess two years ago, we hadn’t written a lot before. And by the end of the day, it was one of those where we walked out, and we were like, okay, we we’re really excited about this! We should keep writing more, and kind of ride that wave. But yeah, I’ve been waiting to put the song out for for two years and it feels very good.
Sarah: Also earlier this month you were featured on „Killing Me“ by NOTD. And I saw that you even went to Sweden this summer. How did that collab come about? And did you work on more music while you were there?
Hastings: Yeah, so, I’ve been a fan of NOTD since I was like, 16, since I started loving pop music. It’s all on my TikTok, but I sent them an email when I was 16, and it was the most innocent email ever. I was just like, I love your music, I would love to take my sound to the next level, I love what you guys do. And everybody who is trying to get into the industry has to send those emails, and like, get your foot in the door. So it was very cute, the way I worded a lot of things, but I’ve been such a fan of them.
And we crossed paths, we wrote a song in Nashville. That was the first song that we wrote together. And we wrote it in the room completely. I love those guys so much. They’re just so so sweet, and incredibly talented. I didn’t know this until after the song was out – but they told me that this was one of the only songs that they have ever put out, that they have written in the room. And it just felt special for everybody, you know. So I love those guys. And I appreciate them like, you know, taking a taking a chance for me.
Sweden as a whole – I was only there for two or three days, which my body was not ready for at all because of the time change. And I was trying to adjust, but the adrenaline was high. But the two days were incredible. Stockholm was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. The people are beautiful. Everybody is just kind.
Sarah: Do you have any plans for coming back to Europe, … maybe even play a couple shows?
Hastings: Well, yeah, I mean, I would love to come back to Europe, like as soon as possible. I don’t think I have any plans at the moment. But I’m hoping something will come up in the near future!
Sarah: So, what’s the rest of your year going to look like? Any exciting things ahead?
Hastings: Right now, I have a lot of music just sitting that is almost done. But there’s songs that I know I want to release. I’m in a place right now where I would love to just pump out music as quick as possible. I’ve just been sitting on some of these songs for so long, and I want them out in the world. So Blame the Brakes is out now. And hopefully in the next month I’ll put out another one! And just keep the ball rolling. So yeah, can’t wait!
Sarah: Great! Then we have reached the last question. And with our music magazine being called Untoldency, our last question is always asking for an untold story. Something that you’ve never shared in an interview before, but want to share now. It can be anything, like a random fun fact, an anecdote. Your life motto if you have one, or just something that you want to share with our readers.
Hastings: I love that. I think I like the life motto my dad always told me growing up, and my siblings. I think it’s a pretty universal saying, but it has helped me through a lot. And he always said that you’re doing better than you think you are. And like any aspect of life, you know, don’t overthink it. I’m a classic over thinker. It’s not that deep. Sometimes it is that deep. But yeah, you’re doing better than you think you are. So I hope that can be some encouragement to to somebody.
Sarah: Thank you! I feel like that’s a good ending to our interview!
Hastings: Well, thank you for having me on.
Sarah: Of course! Thank you for taking the time.
Fotos: Chase Denton