This weekend, matt pond PA plays in the District not once, but twice, and their Saturday show is an AU exclusive gig in the Tavern.
The band is touring in support of “Last Light,” its late 2007 release. Though the album garnered mixed reviews, frontman Matt Pond said, “I really care about [this record], and I like it a lot. I’m super proud of it. No review or no words or no anything could take that away.”
He also said he felt people’s agendas sometimes get in the way of music critiques.
“I don’t like a bad review, but I’m definitely sure there are people who don’t like our records - that’s fine,” he said. “But it’s disturbing when people don’t listen to your records and don’t like them.”
Fortunately for Pond, there are many people who have listened to and loved his records, making it possible for him to release six full-length albums and four EPs in the last seven years.
The band’s previous efforts have been labeled “chamber pop” for its soaring orchestral arrangements, but with the latest release, notable changes have been made. In “Last Light,” Pond focused on writing more guitar-focused, rock-centered pieces without the heavy instrumentation of earlier releases, despite, according to Pond, cello being one of his favorite instruments to include in his music.
The change of pace was at least in part provoked by the departure of Eve Miller, the band’s cellist, whom Pond found impossible to replace. Without her exceptional skill, he decided to start creating his signature sounds in other ways.
“What you find out is that you can orchestrate for guitar, you can orchestrate for drums, you can orchestrate for so many things,” so it’s important not to get caught up in a particular instrument, Pond said.
“If you’re trying to force something, it becomes a novelty, and that’s the whole reason why we wanted to have cello in the first place ... to make it not a novelty,” he said.
The band’s newest release was in large part inspired by Neko Case’s most recent record, “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.” Her album, as Pond described it, “was pure - and I wanted to make something pure,” though he acknowledged that the sound of “Last Light” is all its own.
Pond’s admiration for the artist extended to including her in “Last Light.” The song she sang, “Taught to Look Away,” was written specifically for her.
In most cases, however, Pond said his music writing is “totally selfish. I probably write for myself. But then again, with the next thing we’re doing, I’ll probably be writing for the people around me, too.”
Pond’s “next thing” is the band’s new project, named The Dark Leaves.
Though the band will have the same members as the current incarnation of matt pond PA, “it’s not just a name change,” Pond said. There’s a “different motivation, purpose, inspiration ... to call it the same thing would almost be disingenuous.”
Likewise, the writing process for The Dark Leaves’ upcoming release has been different than that of matt pond PA’s previous recordings.
“I think it’s just more open,” Pond said. “It’s less guarded.”
He also said with the new band came a different sense of purpose.
“The purpose is to connect, more than ever,” he said. “That should be the purpose of music in general.”
AU students can connect with matt pond PA and special guest Civil Twilight free of charge with their student IDs this Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Tavern. Doors open one hour prior to the show.