Matthew E. White performs live in The Current studio

Matthew E. White performs "Rock & Roll is Cold" live in the studios of 89.3 The Current. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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| 00:20:22
  • Matthew E. White In-studio 20:22
  • Matthew E. White - Love is Deep (Live on The Current) 04:01
  • Matthew E. White - Rock 'n' Roll is Cold (Live on The Current) 03:56
  • Matthew E. White - Feeling Good is Good Enough (Live on The Current) 04:18

Ahead of a gig at the 7th St. Entry, Matthew E. White and his Spacebomb Records cohorts Cameron Ralston (bass), Pinson Chanselle (drums) and Alan Parker (guitar) stopped by The Current to perform tracks off his new record Fresh Blood and to chat with host Mark Wheat.

On his approach to recording the second record, Fresh Blood: "I wanted to sort of expand my vocabulary in terms of having things be a little louder and brighter, darker, groovier and softer – just sort of expand what Big Inner [White's first solo record] was." Also to expand the relationships he has with Spacebomb (Cameron and Pinson). Known each other for 10 years.

On being from Richmond, VA and the influence it has on his songwriting: "Any kind of southern thing or anything like that that comes out is – we don't ever say that in the studio, y'know. That's not something that we're working on or we're like, 'Oh, let's make it ... southern" or something. If that comes out it's just because that's where we're from, that's who we are. It's not something we're intentional about at all."

On the lyrics and idea behind his "Rock 'n' Roll is Cold" single: "I think the key lyric in that song is 'R&B is free.' To me the song is more about that than anything else. Rhythm and blues comes from gospel music, it comes from the Black American experience and that's where rock 'n' roll comes from, too. Rock 'n' roll immediately became a caricature of itself. Elvis Presley's 'Hound Dog' is a caricature of what a hound dog is. The Rolling Stones are a caricature of Howlin' Wolf, as good as they are. Rock 'n' roll has sort of floated off on its own doing that thing and it started that very early on. R&B never did that and I think now, to me, the most exciting music that's happening is the Frank Oceans or the Kendrick Lamars or guys like that. To me that music is so connected to history and to tradition and it doesn't feel stale at all. It doesn't stale as a cultural movement, and I haven't had anyone disagree with me yet that rock 'n' roll as sort of a cultural movement is past its prime. That happens. That's not unique to rock 'n' roll. It happened to jazz music. It doesn't mean that specific performers or specific songs or experiences or times can't be incredible vibrant and lively and real and truthful, but as a movement it is past its prime. It's in its sunset. I think it's important as musicians who kind of traffic in the genre a little bit to be honest about what's happening around us because it allows us to make more truthful music going forward."

Songs Performed

"Love Is Deep"
"Rock 'n' Roll is Cold"
"Feeling Good is Good Enough"

All songs off Matthew E. White's new album, Fresh Blood, out now via Domino Records.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Cameron Wiley
Web feature by Leah Garaas

5 Photos

  • Matthew E. White
    Matthew E. White performing live in The Current studio (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • Matthew E. White
    Matthew E. White performing live in The Current studio (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • Matthew E. White
    Bassist Cameron Ralston performing with Matthew E. White live in The Current studio (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • Matthew E. White
    Drummer Pinson Chanselle performing with Matthew E. White live in The Current studio (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • Matthew E. White
    Matthew E. White performing live in The Current studio (MPR / Nate Ryan)