Today’s artist feature is from Matt Sage, a creator, poet, musician, and artist. You don’t typically find music for sale at holiday craft markets, but we thought it was a perfect fit. Matt’s cassettes are hand-crafted, beautifully designed, and would make great gifts for any music-lover. Come on down to The Bean Cycle on December 14th and visit Matt’s booth in person.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what you make, and what you will be bringing to the market?
My name is Matthew Sage. I was born here in Fort Collins. I run a cassette label, Patient Sounds, that specializes in limited editions of home-recorded music. We have released 45+ cassettes since establishing in 2009. We also release small editions of books of poems, chapbooks and other printed matter. We are currently in the process of releasing our first few vinyl record titles as well. I got my BA in creative writing from CSU in 2010. I will be bringing printed matter (some chapbooks) and sound objects (several cassette releases, and possibly vinyl if we get our shipment in time!) to the freedom market.
Where do you see the indie diy/craft movement heading in the next five years?
I think the online shift that DIY has taken in the last few years has been fantastic, but I am looking forward to the movement heading into more brick & mortar shops. I think a lot of shops and crafters have used the internet, wisely, to establish themselves and their respective brands, but I think the next step is to find new/old spaces to refurbish and turn into storefronts. Shopping for things on the internet is fun, and incredibly easy, but ultimately, there is a certain satisfaction in visiting a store, snooping around…finding treasures. I want to experience this more. Outlets like the freedom market are great in that they facilitate this for people who can’t afford a brick & mortar store, but want to meet the people buying their wares.
How does music influence your art and vice versa? You’re also a consumer of literature & poetry. How does that fit in to your creative process?
I read a lot, and listen to enormous amounts of music, and these all influence both how I create music, as well as how I release it through the label. Sometimes aesthetically, sometimes fundamentally. Even films have enormous effects on how I approach my craft (I am addicted to watching documentaries). I think strictly limiting available inspirations is the easiest way for an artist to create something mediocre, or for a vision to become stagnant. Not to say focus is a bad thing, but I think being open to drawing inspirations from every possible source, to then push what one as ascertained from media into a specific form, that is an effective way to be a well-developed modern artist/crafter.
What have you learned from running a web-based business? What kind of advice do you have from makers that want to sell their products online?
Things I have learned about web-based business: CUSTOMER SERVICE IS IMPORTANT! If you are interested in running an online business, I strongly suggest emailing your clients about orders, and building interpersonal relationships with them. This is often neglected in the online commerce system, which feeds into my previous answer about brick & mortar shops; I think people are starting to long for an interaction over a counter with some sort of manifestation of stores. Interacting with a website to buy something handmade is kind of fundamentally flawed…I think even just a personalized email, or direct attention to single orders with a hand-written note or something slipped in the package is a great way to remind people that they just had a human interaction, and not just that they bought something from the internet.
Give us 5 tunes that we should be listening to right now.
5 – Sean McCann – Music for Private Ensemble – Recital Program
Sean is a composer and sound magician from California. I love what he does with composition and textures in his recordings. His most recent album “Music for Private Ensemble” released on McCann’s own label Recital Program is a stunning, disorienting and totally pleasurable slab of bizarre classical music and electronic textures.
4 – Daniel Bachman – Jesus I’m a Sinner – Thompkins Square
I am biased, having worked with Daniel, but I cannot stop professing my love for his work. He has taken a well-established and markedly american genre, instrumental folk music, and turned it into a curious and exploratory craft. He isn’t afraid to bend the rules a bit, and inflect some punk spirit into his pastoral, instrumental guitar tone poetry. Plus he is a hardworking guy with a good head on his shoulders and exquisite taste in old country records. What’s not to love?
3 – Lake Mary (any recording is worth a listen)
I saw Lake Mary perform for the first time at Gold Rush Festival in Denver this past September. Centered around Chaz Prymek, this loose collective of folk-influenced ambient musicians create a stirring and highly pastoral brand of beautiful music. Embracing improv elements, and modal jazz structure (rooting music around a modal series of chords, instead of around keys or “parts”) this band does with folk music what Miles Davis did with jazz on “In a Silent Way” or what Brian Eno and Robert Fripp did with guitar music on “No Pussyfooting.” By expanding the format of the tune, Lake Mary explores folk music as expressionist art, and it is captivating.
2 – Just about anything on Blue Note records
Though I am a die-hard advocate for new music, mainly people releasing their work themselves through myriad platforms online, I have to admit, I am by no means current with a lot of the most blogged-about underground artists, and I don’t really care to be missing a lot of it. Not to discount these sounds–there is great stuff released every day by all sorts of people–rather I just can’t keep up. In the last year or so, I have instead focused on expanding my own palette of listening, and have become a very amateur jazz aficionado. Getting into jazz is a challenge in and of itself: it is an enormous and overwhelming genre with hundreds of thousands of recordings. What I have learned so far is to find a label or series on a label that is consistently interesting, and to hunt for music where these series lead you. I have recently stumbled into Blue Note, a great “West Coast Jazz” label, and have really loved just about everything I have found on this label. I have since learned that, despite some critics harsh perspective, I am a fan of cool jazz, and pretty much any jazz with vibraphones.
1 – Jerry Paper – International Man of Misery – Orange Milk Records
LW Nathan lives in New York. He has the ability to conjure space in his jilted psyche, and perform weirdo pop music as Jerry Paper. Jerry Paper is a character, dislodged from reality, and left suspended in a digital realm, where he writes crooning and morose, but impossibly catchy pop music. The keyboard isn’t an instrument for Jerry Paper, it is a way to commune with the unknown, and to explain to the unknown that he just doesn’t “get it.” I had the pleasure of watching Jerry Paper perform in Brooklyn this fall, and it was one of the most pleasurable, and entertaining live sets I have watched in a long time. One of his more recent releases, “International Man of Misery” is equal parts heart-breaking, hilarious, catchy and unnerving.