You were touring on so much of the same material for so long; have the audiences opened up to the new material? I saw footage of you playing ‘One Day’ and everyone seemed to know it.
‘One Day’ has gotten a lot of spins around the country. That song in particular we’ve been getting a really big reaction from. In terms of the other songs, yeah, it’s pretty cool. You don’t expect it, you don’t realize, and then you put out a record and it has been out for a few months and you start to see people singing along with the lyrics and cheering when you play unexpected songs, songs that you don’t expect necessarily to be big hits, so it’s a good feeling.
Has one song surprised you more than any other?
There’s a song called the new record called ‘Thunder’ which doesn’t scream out at you, you know what I mean. It’s a pretty chorus and a minimalistic verse, and it seems that people are really into that song.
How is the experience being out with Dub Trio?
It’s really been amazing. The shows are very dynamic. I’m not sure how to describe it exactly. We incorporate a lot of a sort of heavy dub reggae type of vibe to the music and to the show and it also brings in rock elements and elements that are more of a hip-hop type of thing. There’s all kinds of different things going on there.
Obviously you’re coming back around for the Festival Of Light. When does it become a tradition?
I sort of had in mind from the beginning that I wanted to make this a tradition, a yearly thing.
Is it something that you’ve really started to look forward to every year?
Totally. Last year in the last fall tour it started with a fall tour in October and then it leads up and ends in New York with an eight-show run over Hanukkah, and also last year it was a new band I was playing with. This year it’s a different band than the band from last year, and each time it’s been a bit of a different sound, and we sort of spend the two or three months on the road playing every night and growing and kind of when we come to New York for the Festival Of Light it feels like the final product of a period of time, you know.
Obviously you’re playing to some of the same people every night, how do you keep things interesting for yourselves and the crowd in an eight night residency?
What we do on the road, every show is totally different. It’s sort of from the inside out and it’s not necessarily planned. There’s different songs obviously; we don’t play the same set list, we change songs around, we experiment and improvise in most of the songs, in some songs we do very extended improvisations that could last 20 or 30 minutes long. The energy of the night, everything is shaping and molding and just sort of organic, growing in different ways. It’s really different. With the Festival Of Light, being that we’re at home, there’s a chance that we’ll have different guests and things like that as well.
Beyond who you already have—you already have a special guest for every night yes?
We have a different opener for every night and a lot of times they’ll end up sitting in. Beyond that, I don’t know exactly yet. Last year we had a lot of local musicians who we went to school with and are friends with, Brian Marsala sat in, Cyro Baptista, really, really great musicians. Not celebrities or anything, but guys that have been playing around, young guys that are really talented.
Friends from school?
I went to a school called the New School that has a pretty great music department called Manus Jazz School, and a lot of musicians that went to school there when I was there have careers playing in all different genres, experimental genres, jazz, all different places. And a lot of people I’ve met in the past few years that live in New York. It’s sort of a family type of atmosphere.
Always in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Festival Of Light is always in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I think it’s going to be a New York thing.
Light is available now. The Festival Of Light runs Dec. 10, 12, 13, & 14 at Webster Hall and Dec. 16, 17, 19, & 20 at Music Hall Of Williamsburg. Openers vary each evening. Visit matisyahuworld.com for details.