[Spotlight] Matt Irie Band
Featured photo: Photographer unknown, photo courtesy of Matt Irie
*Editor’s note: There was an error in the print version of this article; Matt Irie was not an only child. The online version has been corrected to reflect this correction.
By: Cassidy White
Matt Irie grew up around his cousins, who all had a passion for music. Being in an atmosphere that was surrounded by his cousin’s music exposed Irie to music dynamics at a young age. When he was younger, he would spend his time off school discovering new music.
In 1999, he went to see Rob Zombie in concert, and this was the moment he knew he wanted to be in a band.
“Seeing the energy brought on stage – I remember thinking ‘I could do that,’” Irie said. “The more you play, the more you get out there.”
He started playing at local venues, and from there was able to make connections and friends that would later help grow the popularity of the Matt Irie Band. The band’s genre is alternative rock, but Irie said they add elements of rock, hip-hop and electronica. Through these elements, the band is able to uniquely distinguish themselves from other groups.
The Matt Irie Band is made up of four members, with Irie as its vocalist and founder, Will Barkley on drums, Joe Watkins on guitar, and Chris Parker on bass. The band takes inspiration from others such as Pepper, which Irie said is perhaps their biggest influence, as well as the Deftones, Linkin Park, Beastie Boys and more. The band is also influenced by alternative rock, world music, hip-hop, ‘80s new wave and electronica.
Since the band’s inception, different members have come and gone. Irie said personal and professional lines can easily be crossed. “You learn who you can work with and who you cannot work with. You learn who is a good fit for everybody involved in the band,” he said. “Everyone that has been a part of the band has brought something that was not there before.”
Irie admits that recording can be challenging, but the band has been successful in recording two songs while he was away. Coming up, Irie said the band would be releasing a new EP, and one of the singles out now is called “Better Off.”
“Everyone has their own definition of ‘I made it,’” Irie said.
The Matt Irie Band has won the hearts of people all over the Southeast, and has reached fans as far as Australia and Japan. He said playing shows, doing interviews and having their songs on the radio are all ways that the band measures its success.
Visit the Matt Irie Band’s Facebook page for tour dates and to learn more.