The Blank Tapes: The Familiar Originals

By C. Price

Some could say that, Southern Californian, Matt Adams was born to do what he has been and is doing with The Blank Tapes. Making music with that all too seducing and familiar sound of the late ’60’s and yet producing a sound as fresh as the morning breeze. 

Adams is a prolific songwriter with the knack of conjuring up good time pop vibes and hard beat Rock N’ Roll in an effortless and full mix of authentic musical soul.. 

This interview was a pure pleasure. Matt Adams is a very uncomplicated, easy-going fella. A few days ago they just ended the first leg of their California tour with The Mystic Braves and Hindu Pirates promoting their latest title Vacation.He took the time to talk to the GTC about Willie  Nelson, moving to Germany and mix tapes. ENJOY!

Don’t get me wrong the interview is gonna be all about The Blank Tapes but as someone that feels now connected to somebody that met Willie Nelson I have to ask you guys HOW WAS IT, HOW IS HE DOING and WAS IT JUST UNBELIEVABLE?
It was totally surreal meeting Willie, although it was very brief. I wish I could say I smoked a joint with him, but I just shook his hand and got the picture.   He’s getting pretty old but he still puts on a great show.  The pic was taken a few minutes after he finished playing so I’m sure he was a little worn out.  It was definitely unbelievable.  

We all can read in various interviews and your bio that you are from Southern California. Having been to so many different places over the years do you sometimes wish you would have grown up somewhere else?
I don’t really wish I had grown up somewhere else other than Newport Beach, although at the time I definitely wanted to.  My family has been traveling the world since I was a kid, so I’ve seen a lot of the world: Africa, Russia, Scandinavia, Germany, Rome, Hawaii, Japan, China, & a bunch of other Asian countries.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to permanently leave California, but touring has opened my eyes to some amazing places.  I actually really love Germany and wouldn’t mind moving there for a bit.  My grandpa was a German (“Spitzer”) so I got some roots there.

When I read that sometimes you’re still recording on cassettes I couldn’t believe it, it was so cool. I wish they would have never disappeared. When you were younger did you make mixtapes for people or yourself?
I still record on tapes although it’s been a few years since I’ve made a mix tape.  Back when I was a teenager, I made them all the time!  My early albums ‘Landfair’ & ‘Daydreams’ were kind’ve assembled to sound like a big mix.

Now this is very interesting to me. How is it possible for a person like you to have more than 200 different songs in your head? It has to keep your mind busy at all times. Is your work (writing, recording, designing etc.) relaxing for you?
Ha! My mind is a bit cluttered, but it’s not too difficult to sort through.  My musical memory is pretty good considering how much weed I smoke, although I have a hard time remembering lyrics.  Writing the music and melody is always relaxing for me, lyrics not all the time.   Recording is work but usually always fun, design is a little less fun but very rewarding.  The most gratifying part is relaxing and listening to a finished recording.  That and playing the songs live!

There are many magazines talking about you. My favorite one said: “The Blank Tapes sound like The Archies if Lou Reed has written the songs” (The New Yorker). If you are not a music dictionary which artist/artists would you compare your music to, well I mean in the last 20 years?
hmmm, I’d compare myself to the Magnetic Fields, Sonny & the Sunsets, Beck, Little Wings, White Stripes, Wilco, Ween, Allah Las, the Donkeys, Foxygen, Dr. Dog…

When you go on stage does it happen that you have to improvise?
There are some songs where I do almost exactly the same thing every time I play them, and there are a lot of songs where i improvise guitar solos and sometimes vocal melodies.  I like having a bit of both. Tight and loose.

Going back to the beginning of The Blank Tapes what was the most exciting part?
My first pressed CD in 2003 was pretty exciting. Moving to San Francisco in 2005 changed everything in a BIG way.

What comes after “Vacation”? Are you already working on the next album?  
Yup!  I have 2 studio albums in the works.  One was actually recorded before VACATION and the other was recorded shortly after.  Other than that, I’m putting together a couple tape releases of home recordings I’ve had sitting around for a few years. 

When will we get to play respective parts, I as fan and you guys as performers here in Germany? 
It’s been a little over a year since we last toured Germany, so we’re dying to go back.  I’ll come over anytime.  Set up a show, get me a plane ticket and I’ll be there.

3 things on your bucket list?
1. Finish the lyrics to all of my songs 2. Record every song I’ve written. 3.  Tour the rest of the world

3 songs that are gonna be part of your life forever?  
1. Happy Birthday (there’s no escaping it!) 2. Guns ‘n’ Roses “Patience”  3. Pachelbel’s Cannon in D

Worst venue you have ever played in?  
There have been sooo many bad venues and more specifically, bad house shows. There was an absolutely awful white trash bar in Anaheim that I played in prior to The Blank Tapes and they didn’t even give us mics.  Another similar bar in Apple Valley did the same.  I’ve played some horrible basements in my time as well.

One nasty habit you can’t live without?  
I wouldn’t say it’s nasty, but I can’t go for too long without smoking weed.

Would you leave your phone at home for at least one day?  
I’d love to, but then people would think I was dick for not answering them..

Danke Matt!

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