An Interview With The Indie Pop-Rock Songwriter, Matthew Schwartz AKA PACIFICO About His Newest Album ‘Everest’!
Posted On 07 Dec 2017
The indie pop-rock songwriter Matthew Schwartz, also known as Pacifico, recently released his newest album Everest, ahead of his national tour on October 20th. An honest expression of Matthew’s raw self, Everest is a self-produced collection of twelve catchy indie-rock tracks, filled with themes of life, love, struggles, faith, and the emotions that make up everyone in one way or another. On the upcoming release of Everest, Pacifico’s Matthew Schwartz states:
“For my new album Everest, I challenged myself to take new strides in the way I wrote music and what I wrote about. This album truly was my highest mountain to climb and I did so alongside many talented and fascinating artistic friends and collaborators.“
The album’s debut track, “Go Alone,” is an energetic and uplifting rock track with clear influence in grunge and active rock. On the single, Matthew Schwartz states:
“In ‘Go Alone’ I am facing one of my biggest fears: being alone. This song is about finding the strength within yourself to keep going and to build something beautiful on your own.“
Despite first impressions, Pacifico is not an ordinary band. At its most tangible, Pacifico exists in the world as an audible collage: a musical patchwork slowly pieced together by a revolving door of both established and roaming musicians, each adding a unique, artistic inch to the project at hand. But if you didn’t know any of that, you might label it as the surprisingly well rounded solo project of one musician: a guy named Matthew Schwartz. Pacifico was originally formed in 1999 and made notable marks in their career having their songs featured in movies (Wish For Christmas), on TV shows (Now What?, Sausage Factory), in video games (Rock Band Download), and on the radio. Additionally, their music video for “xMultiplyx” played on MTV and FUSE. However, after many years touring, recording demos, and playing showcases, the band parted ways.
It was then that Matthew decided to take Pacifico into a less committed approach, which allowed him to work with artists he wouldn’t have previously been able to collaborate with. Pacifico, now with a new focus, started to record songs and release them independently. Matthew has since been finally able to self-release two full-length albums, Thin Skin And An Open Heartwhere he collaborated with Jason Martin (Starflyer 59), Steven Dial (Project 86), and Sam West (Stave cre), and Without Heroes, collaborating with Jesse Sprinkle of Poor Old Lu. For his new album and third full-length, Everest, Matthew decided to collaborate with Ronnie Martin (Joy Electric) for his analog synth skills. He also collaborated with published poet Vincent Cellucci for the lyrics, and Trey Wadsworth (Adult Swim) on the artwork. Everest has taken 3 and a half years, 5 studios and 12 musicians to create. With a more complex song structure, emotionally poetic lyrics and a new musical territory. Everest was certainly a hard climb, but what you see at the top is an honest, earnest, beautiful, and fun account of life in the 21st century.
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Learn more about Pacifico in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood? What is a song you are loving these days?
Thanks for having me! We are on our way back home to Louisiana from our last stop of our Everest tour in Orlando. We’re currently listening to Radiohead. When I’m in a bad mood, I usually like to listen to beautifully sad music (artists like Elliott Smith, Radiohead, or Starflyer 59) and somehow that helps. A song that I’m loving these days is “face down in the gutter of your love” by Dent May.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
No, I used to want to become a baseball player. It wasn’t until I was about 15 years old that I realized that I was a musician and wanted to do this for the rest of my life. My earliest musical memories are probably when I was about 8 years old and singing to myself while waiting for my dad to finish up with work.
Overall, how do you think 2017 has been for you and music career? What are you most excited about for in 2018? Do you think you will make any New Year’s Resolutions?
2017 has been great! We got to finish, release, and tour our newest album Everest to a really positive response. 2018 will see us releasing some music videos, some songs on compilations, songs in movies, and starting some artistic projects. I have the same New Year’s resolution every year and I intend to keep it again this coming year. It’s to be a kind, empathic, and caring human being.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown and current home has affected you and your music today?
I have moved around a lot, Louisiana being my 5th home, which has allowed me to become familiar with lots of different musical cultures. Since Pacifico is a collective that includes many musical collaborators, it makes sense that the influences also are reflected in the eclectic musical landscape that makes up Pacifico.
Why did you decide to by a moniker and not your own name? Where did you come up with Pacifico?
I’ve never felt like I was a solo artist. What you hear is not just me, it’s a culmination of talent from many artists. If I ever write, record, and release an album where I do play every instrument, then maybe I would use my own name. The name Pacifico comes from an album and song by the band “The Lassie Foundation” which my original drummer Joel and myself love. We picked the name because we thought that it was strong and had a good message. In Spanish it means “peaceful, peacemaking”.
What did it feel like releasing your album, “Everest”? What was your experience like putting it together? Were there any unexpected challenges or surprises?
This album was definitely my highest mountain to climb. It certainly was the most difficult album that I’ve ever completed. There were several songs on this album that, when conceived, many of my friends and collaborators could not understand the final product. I challenged myself to write and produce these songs with techniques I had never used before. I even wasn’t completely sure myself that each part would work together until I got the first mixes back. It’s been very rewarding seeing people connect to it.
How did you go about selecting “Go Alone” to be the lead single of the album?
“Go Alone” seemed to be the song that resonated most with my team of collaborators and I really liked the message of moving forward, alone, even when all the odds are against you.
How do you think you have grown as an artist since you first started making music in 1999? What has stayed the same about your overall process?
I have always written from the heart, and I believe I always will. As long as music and melodies keep coming to me, I will keep writing them. The only difference in how I used to write and how I write now is that I keep trying to learn new techniques and push my craft in new stylistic and artistic directions for each project.
Do you have any final tour dates to wrap up 2017? Where can people see you play live next?
We just wrapped up our month-long nationwide Everest tour. The remainder of the year will probably see us playing locally and maybe a couple regional spot dates.
What has a been favorite show of yours in the past? What do you think makes for an ideal performance for you?
My favorite show on this tour we just finished has to be a toss-up between the one in Buffalo, NY, where we had people dance and connect to our music, and our homecoming show in Marietta, GA where we got to perform for close friends and family, including providing the first concert for my nieces and nephews. I think the key to an ideal performance is one part playing the songs perfectly, and one part people connecting to you baring your soul.
What do you think of social media today and the importance of it for artists now? Do you find that it’s hard to keep up with it all?
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. There are some platforms like Instagram, where I feel I can use my talents well and connect with people accordingly. Then, there are others like Twitter, where I have no idea how to use that medium to my benefit at all. Overall, it often just feels like being part of a screaming match, yelling out into the void. It was really tough during this album release and tour to properly share everything important and yet not become annoying to my followers.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
The only things that really help people through tough times in their life is love and art. And if I can be part of the movement to share my love and art to help anyone, then that’s the best I can hope for.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Radiohead, Starflyer 59, David Bazan, Oasis, Weezer. Honestly I would LOVE to work with Brian Wilson, writing a song together and let him produce it.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you think there is a greater music in your songs?
All I can hope for is that someone connects sonically or lyrically to any of these songs, finding comfort, love, and/or peace, and then putting that back out into the world.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
You need to do music for the sake of music, to feed your and other people’s souls. If you are doing it for any other reason, you will most likely be sorely disappointed.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
Thanks so much for having me! My collaborators and myself put our love and heart into making this new album, and we hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it.