Behind The Songs: Matt Ortiz
Matt Ortiz spills the beans about the stories behind his new EP ‘South’ which is available via all good digital retailers OR grab a physical copy from Blackline Music, Albury. You can catch Matt live & free this Sunday at Brady’s Railway Hotel, Albury, 5-8pm.
Wooden Old Friend
I wrote this one about the relationship between a musician and their instrument. It was during a fairly long period of dry song-writing, where I was getting halfway through writing a song before putting it aside and moving on. I definitely think this is the sort of frustration a lot of song-writers go through, especially when put under pressure to have songs written for an album etc.
Eventually I found myself playing around with my guitar in a room, when this song sort of just came to me. I had it mostly finished in a few hours, and had already decided I was really liking how it sounded. I particularly liked the irony in how quickly it was written.
This one is about being closely involved with / being in a relationship with a person suffering from drug addiction. Although the song isn’t about me, I had witnessed the impact that addiction can have on a person, and how that directly affects those around them.
One of the major points I wanted to make with this song was about how in a relationship, if your partner is hiding something from you, (i.e. Addiction) it becomes very hard to be sure that you know them very well at all. South The title track to the Album. This song is about lost innocence, and I wrote it to spread awareness about the sorts of horrible things people are capable of committing. Once again, the song isn’t about me, but I used a first person view to give the song a personal impact. I think it’s important that the stories of children like Daniel Morecombe, William Tyrell and Madeleine McCann get told, and that we consistently remind ourselves that there are dreadful people out there doing these things to people and getting away with it. After writing the song, I was uncertain about performing it in public, not wanting to make people feel uncomfortable. Eventually I decided that sometimes people need to be made to feel discomfort, so that they can start to think about the monstrosities going on around them.
Seen You Before When I was busking on Dean Street I had an older man approach me, asking if I’d be interested in having a look at some guitars he was thinking of selling. Curious, I figured there was no harm in checking them out. When I got to his place, it was interesting to discover the guy had a lot of stuff. His house was filled with things, up to the ceiling. He had so many things, but he was selling off a lot of what he owned, telling me that he was getting old now and knew he’d never get around to using a lot of the things he’d collected over the years. One of the things that really stuck with me was that he said ‘Matt, I’ve got over $5000 worth of fishing gear here and I’ve never been fishing.” When I got home it really got me thinking about how often people say they want to do so many things, but then life catches up and they never get to do them. So I wrote a song partly inspired by the experience, while also about making the most of a lifetime, and doing what’s most important to you. Running’s Not Always Divine This one’s about a guy that I met a few years ago. He gets around the town in a wheelchair. Originally I met him while working, but then had a few more interactions while out busking. One of the things that really stood out to me about him was that he was always optimistic when I saw him, and he’d always remember my name, and every shopkeepers name, and was just a generally well liked guy around town. He inspired me to write a song, because despite his injuries, he was still getting out and about, and taking the time to get to know anyone and everyone whoever they might be. I think that in a world where people so frequently have no time to get to know or talk to others, he stands out as an example of how people really should be interacting.
Hangman’s Noose Hangman’s Noose was the first song I ever wrote, and it was written as a commentary on youth suicide. It’s influenced by a few cases of suicide around town, although it isn’t entirely about the act itself. The point I really wanted to drive home with this song is highlighted in the final lyrics. It’s largely about the mixed reactions that result when a person decides to end their life. People can be quick to criticise the act, rather than empathise with a person’s family. It’s these quick judgements of character that don’t help in the prevention of a vicious cycle of unnecessary death. Walk On I wrote this one after a weekend away with my girlfriend. It’s a love song written not long after we’d finished high-school. It’s about a lot of the uncertainty surrounding post high-school, and where it is you might end up in the coming years. It’s about having someone there who you can count on through those moments of change and growth.