By paul

PT: Hey Matt, how’s the tour been going? It’s your first tour as Heavens.
MS: Yeah, we played our first show four nights ago and it’s been really fun. It was really cool to come over here and play our first ever shows in the UK.

PT: Yeah it’s different from most bands who’ll do like New York or California, and it’s really cool that your first shows were over here.
MS: Yeh definitely, I agree.

PT: The stage set up’s been different. You’re not playing guitar at all are you?
MS: No, completely hands-free! It’s fun, it’s really fun. I get to just concentrate more on my vocals. You know I really like the songs and they are really fun to sing, so it’s nice to just be freed up in that sense.

PT: Do you sometimes feel like you’re missing something?
MS: No, I mean I’ve been playing guitar and singing for a long time, and it’s a nice change of pace to do something this way.

PT: Yeah, you’ve also roped in a lot of old friends to help you out on the tour haven’t you?
MS: Yeah, some people I used to live with. Everyone in the band – we’re all really close friends so it’s a really fun family affair!

PT: Despite being a new band, your first shows have been in front of three or four hundred people. Is that quite daunting or are you so used to it all now?
MS: Uhm I can’t really say I’m used to it, but we definitely got into a little bit of a groove with Alkaline Trio. You know as I said we’ve only played a few shows so at first it was a little strange. It was definitely daunting doing this at all, you know getting up in front of people, playing these new songs for the first time and all of that. It’s always a little nerve-wracking but we figured that people are coming out to the shows because they like the songs, so we try not to worry too much about it.

PT: Did you go straight to Epitaph when the record was finished, or did you ‘shop around’ so to speak?
MS: You know we actually talked to a few people at different labels, but Epitaph was the most enthusiastic and they gave us a really great deal, and we both really like the people that work there. Brett Gurewitz has been a dear friend of ours for years. It’s important for me personally to work with people that I like, that I trust and Brett and everyone at Epitaph fit that description.

PT: Yeah, and you know they won’t intrude on your creative area.
MS: No well they didn’t have a choice because it was already done! I mean we didn’t have it mixed, but all the tracking was finished and it’s cool because Brett and I have a very similar vision of what’s good and what’s not.

PT: ‘Patent Pending‘ has many of the same lyrical themes that you have in Alkaline Trio songs. Did you sit down and write lyrics intentionally for Heavens, or was it more a case of using up lyrics you hadn’t utilised yet?
MS: Yeah, I wrote all the lyrics to the song ideas Joe (Steinbrick) was coming up with. I guess that because I write for both Alkaline Trio and Heavens, there are bound to be similar themes involved in both band’s lyrics, but these were all intentionally written for Joe’s songs.

PT: How comfortable are you singing lower down the octave with Heavens compared to the higher-toned work you did with Alkaline Trio?
MS: It’s cool; again it’s a nice change of pace. I have a low voice anyway so it’s comfortable. I wouldn’t say easy, but I’d say comfortable!

PT: It’s strange, because speaking to you know it sounds like it would seem a lot more natural singing the way you do with Heavens.
MS: Yeah, it is and it isn’t, it’s just different I guess.

PT: What would you say are the proudest moments of the record?
MS: I think getting the record out in the first place would be the proudest moment for me! I think I like all the songs equally, but for different reasons. I’m really happy with the way ‘Annabelle’ came out, and I think it’s a really cool song.

PT: I think ‘Another Night’ is already a huge fan favourite.
MS: That’s really cool. I think it’s great when the fans are choosing their own favourites you know. That’s really good to hear.

PT: Can you see Heavens progressing further than just the one album?
MS: We’ll see. We’ve just kind of been taking things as they come. We wanted to make a record, and we did that, we wanted to do some shows and we’re doing that as well, and whatever happens, happens. That’s the beauty of this band – there are no expectations and no added pressure. We signed a one-record deal with Epitaph just so that we would have the freedom to do another record if we wanted, and if we didn’t then there was no problem.

PT: How about Alkaline Trio? Has Heavens shifted your focus on that?
MS: I’d say this has made me even more focused than before. We just signed to V2 Records, and we’re going to the studio in February, so I’ve been really busy writing Alkaline Trio stuff.

PT: Have Dan (Andriano) and Derek (Grant) heard Heavens yet?
MS: Yeh, I sent them copies of the record before it came out. I haven’t really had much feedback though! I think that they dig it, but you know we’ve been so busy with Alkaline Trio stuff that it hasn’t really come up that much. And they’re both doing their own things at the moment. Dan especially has a lot going on, with his acoustic tour and his other band, The Falcon as well.

PT: Well good luck tonight, so far the response to Heavens‘ live show has been very positive.
MS: Thanks for coming to check us out!

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]