Matt Mays didn’t rush his latest album, Coyote, because he knows the depth of music. He didn’t want to speed up the album if it wasn’t ready.
“I talked to someone the other day whose father passed away and he knew he was going to die, he was on this deathbed and he put on the song [‘Chase the Light’] on repeat and he passed away to the song, which is fucking insane. It’s like I did my job. I did my job properly,” said Mays.
A few years back, Mays’ music brought him to places as far as Indonesia, California and Mexico. He embarked on his adventure to work on Coyote and to see countries he’d always wanted to visit. Mays recorded in about five different studios and the album was released in early September, after a four year hiatus since Terminal Romance.
‘Chase the Light’ is the last track on Coyote. Mays said it came naturally and meant the most.
Last year, Mays got out of a four year relationship with his fiancée. The track is the only mellow tune on the album and he said music has a way of “predicting the future.”
“I just feel numb. I still do. I haven’t written a song in a long time. I just feel like I’m going through a shitty time,” said Mays. “I’ve gone longer without writing a song. It [feels] like I’m never going to write a song again. But you have to embrace it, like I know I’ll get back into some sort of groove.”
Even though Mays hasn’t been writing recently, this isn’t to say he hasn’t been busy. He will be finishing a cross-Canada tour in Fredericton at the Boyce Farmer’s Market on Saturday.
His four year hiatus didn’t go without questions from fans, friends and family about when his next album would be released.
“If I write a song and I think about it, it sounds that way. But there are songs that come out that you more or less sort of channel, and those are ones I tend to try and keep,” said Mays. “Why it took a long time is that I didn’t want to write any songs like I was thinking about writing them.”
Mays said channeling songs is like “sticking an antenna in the air and waiting to see what happens.”
Mays hasn’t been “channeling” many songs recently. He speaks openly about his recently break-up and the affect it had on his song writing. Although he hasn’t been writing, he isn’t discouraged because he knows his writer’s block won’t last forever.
“I used to go a month without writing a song and freak out. Then all of a sudden, I’ll write five tunes. I’m always thinking on songs and I still like working on songs, even though I’m not working on songs.”
This constant dialogue is always going on in his head. He drew a lot of inspiration from the places he traveled to and said he liked the idea of the album being recorded in so many different places.
“The Queen of Portland Street,” brings Mays and his listeners back to his hometown of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. After four albums and being on the road writing Coyote, the track ensures listeners that Mays is the same musician who recorded “City of Lakes” on his self-titled debut album in 2002. The sound of his harmonica carries the rock album back to the Maritimes.
“I don’t mind being mainstream or being on the radio, as long as those songs are being channeled,” said Mays. He said he’d rather have a job as a parking enforcement officer than write songs that sound too planned out.
Mays admits he’s had “probably the shittiest year of [his] life,” but he wrote “Chase the Light” when he was in a good place. When he listens to it now, he said he feels like that’s where he is now.
“It was the last song on the album and it means a lot to me, because I haven’t had the easiest last year or two, and songs have a funny way of predicting the future or.. I don’t know it’s something you can’t even put into words.”
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