Lead singer of Rare Futures, Matt Fazzi, discovered his love for music at an early age and continues to evolve his passion into new sounds, most recently with his latest release “This Is Your Brain On Love”, which dropped March 25th, 2016. Formerly the lead singer of Taking Back Sunday from 2008-2010, Fazzi set out to leave a unique mark on his latest work, infusing several different music genres, some that may otherwise have been thought not compatible. Fazzi’s range of musical influence and talent shines bright with this release, so be sure to check it out on iTunes.
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Sean Ritchie: Being based currently in New York, what about the city really stands out to you? What catches your attention?
Matt Fazzi: I’m a night owl dude, so that’s the first thing I think of. I like that there is always kind of something happening any hour of the day or night. As far as being a musician, I think you can’t do much better than NYC, or a place like Los Angeles even. It’s such a hub for music that everyone kind of goes to no matter what. It’s cool to be in the middle of all of it and try to kind of conquer it too. It’s a cool challenge. I’ve gotten a taste of the venues from the tiniest little bits to some of the bigger ones. It’s a cool place to be. There’s a lot of energy and that kind of keeps the hustle alive.
Photo courtesy | Always Shooting
SR: For sure! What venues stand out? You touched on both bigger and smaller ones. Maybe one of both?
MF: Well, I work from time-to-time at Webster Hall and I just think that’s one of the best venues in the city. It’s so cool that they have three different rooms for different vibes and different sized bands. So, that’s just one of the best venues in the city. But, I’ve been lucky to play [Madison Square Garden] once. That was pretty amazing man. Then little spots like Pianos down on the Lower East Side is a great spot.
Arlene’s Grocery is another cool one. That’s a cool, small, under a 100-cap kind of room. It has a really cool vibe, because it’s in a really happening area where there is a lot of foot traffic. There’s a lot of good stuff to eat, especially if you’re vegetarian like me. I’m kind of taking all things into account when I’m thinking of what a good venue is. That’s why I like Webster Hall, it’s near a hub in Union Square, and it’s easy to get to. It sounds dope. You can’t ask for much better!
SR: For sure! I’ve had many nights in Webster Hall and it definitely lives up to all of that.
MF: Yeah, dude! What a great place. There’s a lot of history too. It’s like 100 years old. So, a lot of stuff has gone down. A lot of parties.
SR: That’s for sure. What would you suggest a first-time visitor to see when they hit the city? Is there one specific spot that you would really tell them to hit?
MF: A good cross-section of music and a sight would be if you went to Central Park. It’s such a staple of the city. Especially if you’re just a visitor. You have to see it. You have to experience how large and beautiful it is. I feel like, as far as music is concerned, you’re bound to see some live musicians in the park. If you find your way around you’re sure to find some great sights and a little bit of music sprinkled in there too.
Photo courtesy | Lima Pix
SR: That sounds perfect to me. To tie it into your music, what gave you your start? What was your initial inspiration into the music business? Or, even just music as a passion?
MF: I think just growing up around it. My dad is a base player. My mom sings some. My brother plays drums. I think it’s just a matter of growing up around it from the moment I was born and just seeing my dad do his thing a little bit. It’s just one of those things where I picked up a guitar and started teaching myself how. The internet kind of became a thing. Guitar tabs are really easy to find on the Internet, so I could find all these songs kind of by number. It’s just kind of like one step lead to the next, and all of a sudden I found myself as an 11-year-old kid with a guitar wanting to try to make a band with his friends. I think playing a talent show in 7th or 8th grade is what really sealed the deal.
I was one of those more just chill on the sidelines kind of kids, then I played a cover and all of a sudden everyone wants to talk about music. All of a sudden it’s opening all of these doors. I just think it was a sprinkle of everything man. Just growing up around it, playing for some people at a young age and being excited about that. Then, getting plugged into the punk rock scene was a big part of bridging the gap between, “Oh hey, I don’t need to be this huge arena band to be a musician. I can kind of do it on my own. I have to know a few chords and we can kind of go out, rough it and play some shows.” It’s a lot of little things culminating in the music bug biting me a little earlier than, I think, the average bear. I started touring around 16 or so. I was just lucky to figure it out kind of early — figuring out I loved playing music and finding something I’m so passionate about.
SR: That’s what I was just going to say. Finding what you love at a young age is always beneficial. It’s pretty cool that you found yours then.
MF: Yeah, it’s a tough thing to do finding something that you really feel excited about that you could imagine yourself doing every single day. I do feel very fortunate that I found that. Before that, I loved playing hockey, so it kind of replaced hockey for me. I still feel just as passionate about hockey. I loved playing when I was young. I still watch and still play. In a different world I would have maybe gone down that path.
SR: Tying into your recent work, your new album was just released “This Is Your Brain On Love”. What’s something about this album that’s different from your work in the past?
MF: I think it’s a good representation of my personality as a musician. I got to inject a lot of sounds I really liked from different genres all onto one thing. I’d like to think that I kind of found a balance in a way to jump between all these things that might not seem on paper like they should make sense. Some songs sound like drum and bass, then some songs sound like a guitar-heavy 90’s Soundgarden song and another can sound like an R&B song. I’d like to think that what I did with this record that was my own kind of thing, smashing all these genres together, but doing it in such a way where it’s still palatable to the average listener. It’s not too over anyone’s head. That’s all based in a strong melody and harmony relationship too.
SR: Definitely! I had a chance to listen to the album earlier today and it’s pretty dope man. I’m definitely a fan.
MF: Dude! Thanks a lot. I appreciate that. Thanks for checking that out.
Photo courtesy | Lars Plougmann
SR: For sure! I couldn’t get on the phone without listening to it. Tying this all back into travel. How does music and travel fit together?
MF: Geeze. There is a lot of ways. The first thing that comes to mind for me is as a traveling musician. I think it’s so cool to go to different areas and see what that areas musical strength is or what the music vibe is. For example, you can’t go to New Orleans and not see a live brass band strolling down the street killing it, or even other forms of Jazz in New Orleans. I think that’s the cool things about different areas and different little scenes. Growing up, the music scene in the Bay Area was really strong, like in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland area. San Diego and Orange County really had a strong punk scene in the late 90’s too.
I think it’s kind of cool when you get into the geography of certain scenes that arise – the certain collection of bands. That’s really fascinating. Grunge is another example. Seattle has spun all these really amazing 90’s grunge bands. It’s just cool that they all kind of came from the same scene. They came together and collaborated a lot with each other. I think that’s a really awesome and fascinating part of music and travel, where they cross over a little bit. Just the little pockets of different music styles and scenes.
Photo courtesy | Maryam
SR: Hell yeah, for sure! The one thing I really love, because I’m not really musically inclined myself, is it’s someone else creating this soundtrack to wherever I am. If I’m on vacation, I can pop in some punk, or if I’m somewhere trying to go out at night maybe it’s some dance music. It’s the sound track to a time or experience.
MF: Oh yeah! You know that’s a great example. When you have these experiences the music becomes part of the memory. Then, it just triggers the memory every time you listen to certain songs, or a certain band. I know that I have that all the time, these nostalgic and really vivid memories that come when I listen to certain songs. You just remember that old girlfriend that you broke up with, or a long drive that you took that was really beautiful. I like that music is very visceral in that way.
SR: Absolutely! Everyone has a list of places that they haven’t hit yet, but have to. What are three on yours? Why?
Photo courtesy | Mhx
MF: It’s tough to say. I think I would love to go back to Japan and play there again, because I’ve only done it once. That’s one of those places where I feel like I’ve only dipped my toe in the water there. I didn’t really have a full experience. I’d love to go back to Japan really. I’d love to go to New Zealand — seems so beautiful. Then music related, I’d love to get to Scandinavia or I’ve never played in Sweden or Norway. Anything like that. I hear that’s a really cool music scene. It’s also a really, really beautiful area as well.
SR: Lastly, to wrap this up, I know you have a tour coming up starting on May 17th. Is that your next trip? Or do have something a little personal? Some down time before you hit the road?
MF: Yeah, it’s with The Dear Hunter and O’Brother. That’s the main thing we’re working for. We have a college gig that’s coming up before then to get up to speed a little bit.
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For more on Rare Futures‘ debut album “This Is Your Brain On Love” click the album art: