Matt Pond has been in “renegade” mode as of late.
In 2008, the noted indie-rock stylist behind Matt Pond PA made a few rather unexpected moves. First off, he made a bit of an unexpected mainstream concession by covering My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not OK (I Promise)” for the second volume of the Guilt By Association series. Then, shortly thereafter, put out a brand new EP for free online (its too-appropriate title? The Freeep). Although fans rapturously responded, the EP was then promptly pulled, only to be released a year later under a different title and on pay sites like iTunes. Some wondered if there was some label-wrangling that happened during this time, but for Pond, he just turned it into another opportunity.
As a way to promote his new album The Dark Leaves, Pond used The Freeep experiment as a way to launch a trilogy of EPs called The Threeep, each one headlined by a track from The Dark Leaves as a way of building up hype. Now, with Dark Leaves finally out and the third and final Threeep installment on its way, Matt Pond took some time out to answer PopMatters’ famed 20 Questions, revealing that he doesn’t discriminate against science fiction universes, his power to talk animals out of eating him, and why he enjoys drinking with his good buddy Stress ...
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
We grow up learning it’s too cold to cry in the Northeast. And still, there was once a movie called E.T. that made all of New England seemingly snow blind.
2. The fictional character most like you?
I would say Binx Bolling or Amory Blaine if I’m allowed to blur my own truths. And if that’s really the case, then a younger Rambo or an older Antoine Doinel’s across from me in the mirror.
3. The greatest album, ever?
[The Minutemen’s] Double Nickels on the Dime or [Neil Young’s] Tonight’s the Night.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
I don’t like to discriminate against any specific science fictions. Pardon.
5. Your ideal brain food?
I don’t think I know what brain food is. Are you talking about Ginkgo or Sodoku? Does this mean I’m starving?
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Proud of what? Albums? If that’s what we’re talking about, I guess I think I am. Mostly due to being strong enough to survive myself. I can have one of the more annoying inner monologues.
7. You want to be remembered for . .?
I tried. I really tried. I believe trying is frowned upon in our most modern age. It seems like it’s fashionable to appear apathetic. Therefore, I want people to look back on my existence as out-of-date and un-apathetic as it gets.
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
My father. I was always in awe of his gesticulations—convincing people to believe in his ideas with the shapes in his hands. He managed to overcome his demons and do great things. That’s the direction I’d like to be headed.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
I wish that I´d been able to conceptualize and create the Maelstrom—a sculptural installation that was on the roof of the Met last year—controlled chaos on a massive level. I’m agreeably envious. Also Teen Dream by Beach House, The Moviegoer by Walker Percy, The 400 Blows and Harvest.
10. Your hidden talents . . .?
I can talk wild animals out of wanting to eat me. I can fool them into believing I’m not delicious.
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
To keep my mouth shut. I put this bit in a song called “New Hampshire” ... sitting around a table in Vermont, taking a break from landscaping for some lesser mafia. The most ornery one of them told me he liked the way I didn’t talk. And that’s always made sense to me. “Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.”
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
I’m not a good thief and I hate owing anyone anything. So I’m going to slip into this question sideways—my first Les Paul, bought for me by my grandmother. She certainly rocked.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . .?
I feel best when I don’t think about what I’m wearing ... beyond that, Levis.
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
The same lovely lady that’s enjoying a Budweiser with me right now, watching Goodfellas in bed. I might spend the rest of my life shaking the peanuts out of the sheets. Yes. We are classy, classy folks.
15. Time travel: where, when and why?
Serious probably doesn’t translate on these pages. But I would choose pre-European occupation of the United States. Nothing but woods.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
I want to want these things. We just don’t work well together. Anyway, stress is my friend. We like to stay up, swig bourbon and write songs.
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . .?
Chocolate’s made an important impact on my life. I’d like to be buried in tomb of chocolate and eat my way out into an incredibly overindulgent resurrection.
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Country. Hudson Valley, NY or the Eastern Shore in Maryland. All I want are some goats, some rolling fields and a snowmobile gang.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
If you truly wish to make the world a better place, please out-manipulate the manipulators.
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
These days, I’m working on educating my baby nephew ... I say “rock and roll” and he shakes his head and grins. That right there is some sweet sugar.