Rapper Matt Clark, born and raised in Mahwah, New Jersey, is coming off a five-year hiatus, fresh with new-found motivation for making music. Having played packed shows at Webster Hall, School Of Rock, Stone Pony and Bamboozle, among others in the past, Clark is combining those previous experiences with his matured inspiration, working towards his new mixtape set to be released this summer.
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Read the interview highlights below, or listen to SCP Radio’s full-length podcast:
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Sean Ritchie: Coming from Mahwah, New Jersey, what’s something that really stands out about your hometown? What really makes it home to you?
Matt Clark: I love Mahwah dude. I’ve lived in Mahwah my whole life. I moved once, but I moved from Mahwah to Mahwah.
Photo courtesy | ScubaBear
SR: Yeah? What about it though?
MC: It’s just the vibe, man. If I don’t mess with someone’s energy or I don’t want to mess with someone, I’ll just keep it moving. But, the people that I’ve come across that I like and I enjoy their company, it’s cool, because you bump into them often.
SR: Mahwah is about 30-45 minutes northeast of [New York City] describe the ability to pop into the city when you want to, but at the same time retreat back to the Ramapo Mountains when you need that seclusion.
MC: It’s cool, like when I was doing music in the past, it was dope I did shows at Webster Hall or Santos Party House, which is Andrew W.K.’s venue. And, that’s dope, because if I had a show at six and I had to be there by five for sound check, I didn’t have to leave at 10 in the morning. I could sleep until one or two, which is what I do. It’s just cool man. When I say I don’t mess with it, I could never live there. It’s cool, because I feed heavily off energy. You know this too, because you guys have been traveling, every different spot has a different energy.
For example, I’ve been working on this new mixtape and I’ve been kind of stagnant in my writing process, and I’m thinking about going up to Boston. My brother lives in Boston. Just to get a change of scenery, which gives you a different vibe, which gives you a different energy, which gives you a different creative process. As far as the city man, I don’t really mess with it, but it’s cool that I’m so close. Hoboken too. I dabble more in Hoboken than I do in New York City.
SR: So, if you don’t touch on the city much what do you do around here when you leave town? You go up North? Or out to [Pennsylvania]? What do you do?
MC: Honestly man, I keep it pretty local. I’m a simple man. I go hiking a lot. I go up to Harriman a lot.
SR: Bear Mountain?
MC: Bear Mountain I went once and I broke my arm. Yeah man, if I travel I go up to Boston to visit my brother. He’s been up there for a couple years.
Photo courtesy | James Willamor
SR: What’s the extent of your travel history growing up?
MC: Me and my family every year go to North Carolina – the Outer Banks. Yeah, I feel like we were the trendsetters in that. Mad people from Jersey go to the OBX now. We’ve been doing that man. There should be a story about the Clarks going to the OBX. We’ve been going since I was like five. If I don’t stay around here when I’m older that’s where I’ll be. I’ll take the beach over a city any day. But, I’ve been to Carolina man, we did Canada one year, been to Florida.
SR: Where in Canada?
MC: We went up to Niagra Falls. I was young, but I was old enough to appreciate it somewhat. It would be cool to go back again. Different vibe man. Everyone is way more chill. I’ve been there and Aruba. That’s like the one place over seas I went. It was ridiculous. We went, it was just me, my brother and my parents. We went to some crazy hotel. We shouldn’t have been there. Me and my brother were like the only kids in the whole hotel. It was all older couples, just married couples, and me and my brother.
Photo courtesy | Valkrye
SR: So, you’ve been to the OBX, you’ve been to Aruba. Are there any other places that you’d like to hit? Maybe three destinations on your bucket list.
MC: Well one is definitely outer space, man. Can I say that?
SR: Hell yeah, why not? It’s travel. Space travel is a thing.
MC: Again, it just ties into energy man. I believe that we’re not the only humans in this galaxy. You can see the moon and it’s bigger than a basketball, but it’s huge. That’s definitely one on the list. Definitely somewhere in Europe. You can just put me on a plane and fly me to Europe. I just need to go there. Maybe, Barcelona, go catch a soccer game. I don’t know man. Three? Honestly, maybe like a third-world country to give that perspective. Growing up in Bergen County I’m pretty blessed. People need to realize that life is good. Somewhere like that would be cool. That’s kind of why I want to do music. For me, it’s more of having a platform to do something better. Leave a real stamp other than just, “Oh, you were famous.”
Photo courtesy | Jorge Franganillo
SR: That’s something that I really wanted to get into with you. You just touched on some of your inspiration, but what’s the full picture? What was your initial inspiration? How’d you really know that this is what you wanted to do?
MC: It started when I graduated high school and when we were seniors in high school. I grew up with this kid who I’m super close to now. His name is James Petronio. He used to engineer. He had this whole set up in his basement. We used to always drink there. One night they all got wasted then recorded a song. They were like, “Dude, we did a rap song you’ve got to come do it.” So, we all went back the next day and we made a remix to “Party Like A Rockstar”. Remember that song?
We made a remix to that all about beer pong. And, we burnt CD’s and passed it around the high school. My boy was like, “Yo, you’re not bad!” I was like, “Whatever man.” That was towards the end of the year and we made a couple more songs. We did that for a while and I graduated. But, I sucked at testing and I hated school. I got into William Paterson just to play soccer. I went there for a semester, ended up quitting the soccer team. I said this is not for me.
I ended up leaving school and I hit up my boy. I was like, “I kind of just want to do music. I just want to put my feelings down on paper.” I made a mixtape and James helped me with it. It was cool, but I sucked, now going back and listening to it. But, I just always stuck with it. I love words man. I’m not good with numbers. If you want to sit here and talk about numbers, it’s going to be a long night. If you want to talk about words and just talk, I could do this all night. It just kind of evolved over time and I got more serious.
Photo courtesy | Curly
SR: Lastly, to wrap this up when’s the next trip?
MC: Next trip, right now, is booked to go to the OBX in the summer. Probably going to go up to Boston soon to visit my brother. Nothing’s really planned. I mean ideally get the mixtape out and start doing shows.
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For more on Matt Clark visit his website:
Cover photo courtesy | Kim Casamento