SomeKindaWonderful is a band that blends the West Coast with the Midwest to create a soulful rock sound that will have you dancing in no time flat. Tonight the band–which has roots in Cleveland–will return to the House of Blues where they will support New Politics. Bad Suns are also on the bill. We had a chance to sit down and chat with guitarist Matt Gibson about the band’s roots, the perils of getting hangry on tour and what makes the Midwest best.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to like everything. Everything from Green Day and Blink 182 to sixties stuff, old hippie rock and roll, folk or Bruce blues from that era.
What got you interested in making music?
I don’t know. I remember watching the Beatles when I was in third or fourth grade and I remember thinking, yeah, that’s what I want to do, I want to make music in the studio and then go play out. So I guess the Beatles made me want to make music of my own.
How did you meet the other members of your band?
Just from being a musician in Cleveland, playing in bands, I met Ben, our drummer, because I was in studio at the best studio around. I went to Spider Studios to record and I realized that he’s a really good drummer and talented musician and I kind of linked up with him.
Me and him one night just went to a little dive bar by his house and we were drinking beer, I had my guitar, was just kind of noodling around with some chords and all of a sudden this dude walked in and started humming along some melodies and that dude was Jordy. Those melodies actually became our first single, Reverse. And from there we just sort of filled out the band with people we knew, both from California and Ohio.
You said you were noodling around on your guitar in the dive bar when Jordy walked in. How do you approach the writing process now?
I never really thought about it until now. The writing process really hasn’t changed too much since then. A song will start off with a basic music structure from me or a melody from Jordy, and I guess with the first song that’s how we did it. I had a musical idea and he had a melodic idea and we just kept going. That’s what we still do. It’s never high pressure, it’s never high stress. It’s just kinda somebody’s feeling an idea, they send it out and everybody responds to it. We don’t force ourselves.
What do you think makes making music in the Midwest different than elsewhere in the country?
I think it’s just homey, it’s more comfortable, it’s very real-feeling. In the big city, you hear about your fake people and I think that’s kind of true. You have an authenticity out here, I think that helps provide I nice backbone to the creative process. It’s very honest. It’s more heartfelt, instead of trying to follow some fads.
What do you think makes being from Cleveland, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, cool?
The Rock Hall definitely makes it cool. The thing I love about Cleveland is that I love being out on the lake, I love jet skis and boats. I don’t know what that has to do with making music, but that’s one thing I like. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a hotbed for creative energy or anything like that, but it’s an honest place and authentic, and I think that’s what helps Cleveland as far music.
I haven’t been able to stop listening to “Shine on Me” off of your album. I think it’s really uplifting and powerful. Is there a particular song on that album that you really love playing?
That’s tough. I think they change, what I like to listen to, what I like to play more. “Shine on Me” is one of my favorites. I always like “In Chains” a lot for some reason. It has a heavy mood to it, you kind of get taken away. Also “Burn for Me” is maybe my favorite one to play. It’s so fun, so upbeat. You just look out and see the whole crowd dancing, it’s like you had a hoe-down in a bar. Everybody’s just getting wild with friends; it’s fun.
You’re touring with New Politics and Bad Suns this fall. How did that fall into place?
To be honest, I don’t really know. I just got a call from our manager Nima and he was like, we got this tour lined up. I just heard the news and I was like, oh, that’s awesome. We met the Bad Suns guys and they’re really cool and the New Politics guys put on a hell of a show and they seem like they’re really funny dudes, so it’s going to be a great tour.
I think it’s going to be a really fun show to go to when it’s freezing in Cleveland. It’ll be like a return to summer.
Yeah, exactly! That’s why I’ve been telling people. This whole show is going to be energy, this young rock-n-roll energy; it’ll be a party in a way. It’ll be a great way for people to escape the dreariness of fall.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from touring?
Don’t drink too much before you have to wake up early because that’s not fun. Other than that, I’ve learned to sleep as much as I can because you’re just tired and you don’t have opportunity to get rested. Make sure you get some sleep and that everybody eats because you don’t want anybody to get hangry.
Yeah, you don’t want anybody to get hangry.
No, not in the van or bus when you know you’re stuck there for the next four hours. You gotta keep everybody fed and rested.
What advice would you give your younger self about pursuing a career in music?
I guess I would tell my younger self to keep it up because you’re going to get on a sweet tour with Bad Suns and New Politics eventually. I guess I would tell myself to write more and practice more and play more because that’s how we got where we are. I would tell my younger self to do what you did, just more of it because it’ll really pay off.
Tonight, SomeKindaWonderful supports New Politics at House of Blues Cleveland with Bad Suns. Tickets are still available here. Doors are at 6:30pm.