Wild Pines is an ambient/indie rock project by Gainesville native Matt Stanland. We were able to talk to him about the new EP, Permanent Headspace regarding his influences, writing process and more.
As the EP’s biography states, it’s a collection of songs about life and faith. Can you talk about how that influenced your EP differently from your last release?
A lot of my songs are about my life, my faith or my family in some way. It’s a little different this release because over the course of writing these songs my wife got pregnant and gave birth to our 3rd son. Life was getting crazier but at the same time I just noticed myself needing to slow down and really look around and appreciate what I have. The title track to the EP “Permanent Headspace” is about wanting to be present with my kids and enjoy the time I have with them now before they grow up and move on with their lives. So I wanted to be in a constant place of contentment and appreciation. Which is pretty hard in this day and age so that’s where the idea of Permanent Headspace came in and that influenced most of the other songs on the record.
Can you talk a little bit about your background and how your faith impacts you as a musician?
I started playing guitar when I was 13. Started writing and playing shows when I was 15 and it changed from rock to indie/emo to metal/hardcore and everything in between. Once I started playing guitar I haven’t wanted to stop. I grew up in a small town called Keystone Heights so there wasn’t much to do. So I always just holed up in my room and played guitar and listened to music as much as I could. I grew up as a Pastor’s kid so church was the first place I started playing music. So my faith has always impacted what I write about. Sometimes it’s more direct and sometimes it’s not but it’s always there. It’s part of who I am.
Can you talk about your writing process?
My writing process has changed quite a bit over the years. I’m actually a full time stay at home Dad right now of 3 boys all 5 years old and under so finding creative time can be a challenge. The fact that I’m a stay at home dad has influenced a lot of what this project is. It just started as a bedroom project cuz it was something I could write and produce on my own in my limited spare time. I’ve been doing it for a couple years now so I’ve developed some what of a routine and carve out as much time as I can to sit and work on music. The songs always start with just me and an acoustic guitar. I try to find chord voicings and progressions that sound interesting to me and then begin to form melodies over that. From there I work out lyrics as they come and then when I feel like I have a song I begin to arrange the rest of the music over the foundation. I always try to start with just the acoustic. I heard Tom Petty say once that it’s not a song if you can’t play it on an acoustic. So that’s always stuck with me.
Sonically, the EP has big airy and layered sound to it. Is that what you were going for?
I love music that uses a lot of dark synth tones to kind of create a mood for a record and that’s kind of what I was going for. Just wanted to add some textures and sounds that would add some tension to the lyrics. I’ve always loved big reverbed guitars so I wanted to incorporate that sound with the big synths and pads to create kind of a big atmospheric sound you could get lost in.
Can you talk about some of your influences?
My influences can come from a lot of different places. Whether it be an artist who has a unique sound, or lyrics that make me think, or even what kind of guitar pedals they use. I’m influenced by records that as soon as I listen to them I have to go pick up a guitar and work on something. For this particular EP I was listening to a lot of David Bazan, his latest records have been all electronic. The sounds and melodies he comes up with are fantastic, and his lyrics deal with a lot of faith stuff as well and I always connect with that. Other musical influences were HalfNoise, The Japanese House, TW Walsh, The Midnight, plus a lot more.
What was your goal with this release?
I honesty just wanted to write songs that could connect with people in some way. Whether it’s the sound or the lyrics or whatever. The songs for this project come from an honest and personal place in me. It’s been a good outlet for me to express a lot of my thoughts and issues surrounding my faith and I just hope the songs can connect with someone else in a similar spot.
Can you talk about some of your plans for the year?
I’m doing my best to play a lot more shows this year. Since I’ve started this project I’ve doubled my show amount each year so I’m just trying to get out as much as I can. Connecting with people live with this music is one of my favorite parts. I’ve also got a lot more songs in the works so hoping to maybe have another EP out by the end of the year. We’ll see.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has listened to the new EP or come to a show and supported me. There’s a lot of great music out there so it means a lot that have people tune in to what I’m doing. Thank you to you as well. I’ve love reading all the posts from you and it’s rad to be a part.