It is not often that a brand new artist creates a beautifully crafted album or EP on their first try, but for Matt Watson, this happened naturally. From the long, late nights, to the early hours of the morning, Matt put a significant amount of time into experimenting, mixing, editing, and crafting not only an EP but an experience.
Ouch! is not your typical EP. Of course, you could make comparisons between Ouch! and In Tongues given the nature of their conception (mostly in relation to their creators), but apart from the few humorous songs Matt has created in the past, this is his first major endeavor into creating music, and he certainly blows all expectations out of the water.
I sat down with Matt and talked to him a bit about the creation and inspiration behind Ouch!, his favorite tracks, and his plans for producing music moving forward. You can read my review of the article here.
The Conception of “Ouch!”
Matt informed me that Ouch! was one of the first names he came up with for the EP, but was reluctant to even use it, so he wrote it down and set it aside.
“The day I announced the EP was the day I decided to call it [Ouch!]. Even then, I wasn’t quite sure on the name, but people really liked it.”
“As for the cover art, I was going to use a much better picture, but my buddy took a video of me walking […] and I actually ended up really liking it, so I said, ‘screw it, I’m just gonna use this.’”
Were there any songs you had to cut from the EP?
“Oh yeah. There were probably five or six that didn’t quite make it in […] just because I wasn’t fully confident with them or got stuck on them, and couldn’t move forward with them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not gonna come out in the future. I’ve got some of them that I did put a bookmark in that I’m going to come back to.”
As early as January you had mentioned working on music. I actually remember you posting “Sad Homer Simpson Type Beat” onto your Instagram around that time. So how long was “Ouch!” actually in production for?
“[Laughing] So the “Sad Homer Simpson Type Beat” thing was one of the first things I started working on back in January. I had just kind of been messing around — making little tracks since January. But ‘Ouch!’ didn’t really formulate until probably early summer, during quarantine. I really started grinding away on it around then. […] The original idea for ‘Ouch!’ was much, much different than what it came out to be.”
How did it feel creating music during quarantine? Was it easier or harder to find inspiration, and were there any difficulties being isolated?
“Quarantine definitely opened my eyes to the wonderful world of depression, and the way it manifests for me is I just have no motivation to do anything, even the things I want to do. So ‘Ouch!’ — I probably could have had it done back in July if I really pushed myself, but I just had a really hard time with motivation, so quarantine definitely affected it that way.”
“It is an interesting little project just because of the time it was created. […] and I think getting depressed and losing motivation while working on it kind of, in a way, helped make it what it was.”
Ouch! dropped roughly a year after Lazy Eye Records was created. Did anyone else from Lazy Eye help you in any way with the EP?
“No, this was very much something that I created in my room, by myself, at nighttime. Carson was pretty crucial, because, throughout the entire production process, he was one of the few people I would share songs with, ask for his opinion, and kind of spitball ideas back and forth with. He was someone from the beginning who would give me a lot of feedback about the tracks I was working on.”
“But overall this was something I did wholly by myself — which I guess is one reason I am proud of it; I haven’t really done something like this that I said I wanted to do and actually finished it, because I have a really bad habit of starting projects and then not finishing them.”
The Overwhelmingly Positive Reception
I went on to gauge Matt’s feelings on the EP prior to its release, as well as discuss something that many artists and creators suffer from.
Your latest Spotify numbers showed over a million streams and over 72,000 monthly listeners and counting. What was your expected response prior to its release?
“I wasn’t sure — I was very very nervous because I know there would be a group of people that really liked it because my followers and viewers of pretty much anything I make would probably like it, but what I was scared of was that even that group of people wouldn’t like it, or anyone outside of that group wouldn’t like it or would find it to be a very mediocre EP. […] But I wasn’t expecting the tsunami of overwhelmingly positive support and positive reception that came when I released this, because I didn’t expect it to blow up at all.”
“I was not expecting at all to hit #1 trending on Twitter or even get a million streams in one weekend on Spotify alone. I’m very blown away — it doesn’t feel real. I suffer from imposter-syndrome so it still feels fake and still feels like I don’t deserve any of this and it’s just a weird dream.”
I can understand how difficult that is, and I don’t know if it is any consolation, but I was blown away by this EP, and thousands of others were too.
“Thank you so much. I just feel like everybody is lying to me. [Laughs] I have this thing where I feel like everyone is just being nice and saying, ‘Oh, really great job, Matt! We’re proud of you! Your music is so good!’ and deep down they’re just saying that. […] It’s something I don’t think I can wrap my mind around, and I don’t think I ever will.”
Behind the Lyrics
Matt and I went track by track, and he gave me some info about each track’s production, the meaning behind the lyrics, and his creative process. I won’t go into every detail about every single song’s production, but just know that this EP was not created overnight, despite the long nights spent on Ouch!
“Jello originally had lyrics and was a bit longer, but I ended up deciding that I wanted to start the EP with something that was just very calm. […] I also did this because I wanted to introduce tracks that didn’t have lyrics, since this is something I plan on doing in the future. I don’t want people going, ‘What the hell? Where is he?’ But the original song did have lyrics, and I debated taking those out or leaving those in for a while. And maybe I’ll release the version with lyrics onto SoundCloud or something.”
“I created this sitting in my room one morning, playing my guitar, and figuring out chords that worked, and I got Jello!”
“I didn’t fully expect this to become as popular as this did. I guess I sort of did, just because it was cheery, and a lot of people I sent it to said it was their favorite. Creating this, I just messed around on my keyboard and found this little combination of keys that sounded really nice, which is where the little intro bit comes from. I started layering it and got these Sugar Ray vibes that I made into my own style.”
“The lyrics, ‘I wish I pushed myself all the way’ and ‘I wish I wasn’t tired every day’ are both things I struggle with. I decided to write about these things that I’m struggling with right now, and that I’m sure a lot of people can relate to.”
“I really do like [Come Over] — and if I make a music video, it’ll be for that one.”
“This one was the one I was most iffy about putting on the EP since this was so different from the rest. This is one I worked on since about February. I was messing around one night and got the main chorus, and I sat on it for months not knowing where to go for this. The original version actually had singing instead of the sort of rapping that it has now. I went back later and decided to go with a hip-hop flow because I knew a lot of people already knew me for that.”
“The meaning of Nokia is basically realizing that you can help somebody that you once cared about, but can’t be bothered anymore, but also realizing that’s not your responsibility at this point in time — it’s your own responsibility to help yourself.”
“This was by far my favorite track, and my favorite song I have ever made. I really liked Margie because I liked the genre, and I think if I went any direction off these songs, I’d choose Margie.”
“This song was about having someone in your life that you cared about so much and after a falling out, you realize that you’re better off now. You can take the negatives from it and turn it into positives on how you can grow. The last minute or so is my favorite part of the EP by far. I would really love to make a music video for this as well, but probably ‘Come Over’ first [Laughs]”
Feel This Way
“I actually made this in one sitting. It was the afternoon on a Saturday, and I was sitting at my desk. This was one where I was kind of playing around with one of my instruments and went, ‘Oh, that sounds nice’ when I found some fitting notes.”
“This song is actually about 2020, and how everything has changed and none of us want to be where we are right now.”
“When I was putting together the EP, my biggest thing was I wanted it to feel like a story or a consistent piece of work. Some of my favorite albums of all time feel like they have a beginning and an end.”
“I actually made ‘Sleep Tight’ the night I uploaded Ouch! to streaming services. I wanted to do a track that was kind of down-to-Earth and cheesy to close it all out, which is why there is an audience in that song. I want to make sure my music has some of that too, even when it gets serious. I don’t want people to think I’m just making these super serious, highly produced songs — I want some of that DIY goofiness in there as well, because that’s who I am.”
“I actually sampled the track from this old Sega game called ‘Space Harrier’ — it was the credits music. I threw some of my own instruments over it and made it, well, me singing on stage! I just wanted to find a little track that would close out the whole thing, and leave everyone feeling happy, on a good note. I want to make sure I do that with all my projects.”
Plans for the Future
“I have several tracks I’ve already been working on, and I definitely want to make another EP first, maybe even two. I want to wait to do a full album until I have a little more under my belt because I produced, mixed, and mastered all the music myself. But I plan on making another EP, but right now I’m focusing on dropping a few singles.”
“With depression and everything, the motivation is gone, and I’m very feedback based, so seeing the positive response has me hyper-excited to start working on new songs and finishing old songs.”
“So that’s the next step — making new songs and dropping them, on top of that, start working on the music videos — I have a really good, talented team of friends, and everyone on the Lazy Eye crew as well.”
Apart from music, you have a channel called SuperMega, where you have various uploads including let’s plays, podcasts, vlogs, etc. so how do you envision balancing the work you do for the channel and your music?
“When I first announced I would be working on music, there was this mixed response of people saying ‘well, there goes SuperMega’ or ‘he’s going to pull a Joji.’ What I’ve been trying to stress this whole time, is that is not true. I love doing SuperMega — it’s my passion; I love working with Ryan and I have no intentions to stop.”
“I want to create more projects I’m motivated for and passionate about, and SuperMega is, of course, one of those, but music is also a way to do that. But I have no intention of leaving SuperMega, and they’re not mutually exclusive — I can definitely do both at the same time and balance my workload.”
Inspiration and Collaboration
There were too many artists for Matt to name, and that really shone through during the interview. Occasionally Matt would remember an artist while talking about an individual song or anecdote, so if he missed a band or artist here, I will update and include them!
Were there any artists that inspired you or that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
“Jack Stauber, Still Woozy, Jakob Ogawa, Roy Blaire, George Clanton, Sarah Bonito, TV Girl, Crumb, and Joji. I don’t know, dude! [Laughs] There are so many people that influenced me that I would probably have to sit down and make a whole list.”
“For collaborating, I actually have a long list of people I’d like to collaborate with, people like Jack Stauber — honestly any of those people would be so cool to me. I don’t know, I’m just excited to do some collabs, because I don’t know what those would be like. I’m excited to work with someone else on music since it’s just been me making everything. But I am very open to collabs, and it is something I will be doing very soon in the future.”
Matt Watson is not only an extremely talented musician — he is extremely genuine, honest, and passionate about what he does. I trust that whatever high bar he has set for himself here, he will be able to leap miles ahead of moving forward.
Thank you to Matt for sitting down with me and talking about Ouch! I look forward to reviewing some more from Matt and Lazy Eye in the future.