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Matt Schwartz’s musical journey to NC

by Heather MacIntyre

This 28-year-old musician was born in Dickson, Tenn. on Aug. 20, and according to his family he showed musical interest at a surprisingly young age. Originally from the Atlanta area, Matt Schwartz began his career on a professional level with a music business degree from Georgia State University. But the “biz” isn’t what it’s all about for this singer-songwriter. His focus is geared more towards his personal, life-long relationship with music, which today manifests itself in a project he created called Pacifico.

Widely known for his argument against “the industry,” he preaches his music not as a “band,” but as an idea – a personal outlet for art and passion. Pacifico was Georgia-born in 1999, but after a few years and some schooling, the project was waylaid when Schwartz was asked to join as the front man and singer/guitarist/pianist for Winston-Salem’s now defunct rock band, Monday In London. He made the decision at the time to relocate to North Carolina with a positive attitude and excitement for what was yet to unfold. Investing time and tour with Monday In London made for a positive growing experience, but after four years they grew apart and therefore moved on to other projects. This gave Schwartz more time to spend on his original love, Pacifico.

Classical music and oldies were his biggest influences – more of a pure sense of music than trend and formula. It was important to him to learn multiple instruments, theory and the history of the sounds before creating his own. His all-time favorite records include the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Radiohead’s Kid A (Thom Yorke being an obvious vocal influence in Schwartz’s live show).

Every day, his love for the Triad’s local music is growing. His current favorite would be House of Fools, one of Greensboro’s hometown bands he has had the honor to share the stage with. Other NC bands that he has enjoyed performing alongside include Rookie of the Year, Evoka, Autopassion, Joy Electric and In Passing.

You might recognize Schwartz from a few collaborations including, and not limited to, an split-EP with Copeland and vocals with arrangements for Rookie of the Year and Harrison Hudson. This spring he had a full-length 19-track release on Allalom Records for Pacifico entitled Anthology, full of power pop, rock and roll, and even spurts of pop-punk similar to Green Day. The album is more like a mixed tape that sounds like musical ADD (you know, people who can just barely listen to one full song before they flip their iPod to something else, usually completely different); it keeps you hooked. But he just can’t stop. Immediately after the release, he has plans to release an EP entitled Facedown, shipping out July 15, with plans no more than two weeks later to start recording his first solo album out on the West Coast with producer Jason Martin (Starflyer 59/Jason Colinger).

So, what makes him think he can do an entire record on his own? Perhaps his well-known vocal talent and guitar, or how about the fact he can also play the piano, bass, drums, trumpet, baritone, harmonica and didjeridoo? Do you even know what that is? Regardless, even with the recent band break-up, Matt has no plans to move away from the Triad.

“I love it here,” he says. “Winston and Greensboro have such a great music scene that I really feel is on the verge of just exploding.”

His next show is at his favorite venue, Greene Street accompanying Sinking the Shoreline (myspace.com/sinkingtheshoreline), Far-Less (myspace.com/farless) and Telescreen (myspace.com/telescreenmusic) on Friday.

To comment on this story, e-mail Heather MacIntyre at heather@yesweekly.com.

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