A little while ago we featured an article on Matt Dragstrem, an up-and-coming songwriter, who is rapidly gaining recognition with his melodic songs paired with simplistic, yet compelling lyrics. Having just released a behind the scenes video from his most recent tour throughout the Chicago and Nashville areas, Dragstrem is being deemed as an audience favorite and hailed as the new talent in town to write with by respected Nashville songwriters. He is currently in the process of recording for his upcoming full-length album, after receiving great reviews on the release of his EP “Heritage.” Recently, we’ve had the chance to throw out a couple of questions for Matt about things such as his influences and what he hopes are for the upcoming year. Our mini-interview is below. Enjoy!
What are some of your favorite places to have played?
Rockwood Music Hall in New York City has always been one of my favorite places to play. There’s such a great energy in that little hall. Everyone is straight up crazy and I love it. The audience at Rockwood typically sing and often scream my songs much louder than me. Another favorite of mine is the Elbo Room in Chicago. It’s my home town hang out. I love seeing the familiar faces.
What is one of your most bizarre fan encounters?
Well I have a lot of fans from Ireland and England who email telling me all the time how much they love my record. Not really a bizarre encounter but a cool thought that people from overseas are jamming my record. Id love to play over there soon.
Who are some of your inspirations?
I would say my current inspirations: (sifting through iPod) I have Jay-Z’s new record, One Republic’s, John Mayer’s, and the new Norah Jones. But my biggest influence stylistically are Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald primarily for there approach on singing. These two sing behind the beat and add a little improve to every performance without being forced.
Where do you get your song inspirations from, lyrically speaking?
I am a very in the moment kind of writer. I don’t plan on writing about someone or something specifically that day. I think if you’re honest with yourself in the moment and how you are really feeling about a situation the words (and melody) flow easily. So to answer your question the inspiration in my writing comes from a real place. A side note, when I write don’t know if it’ll be a pop, ballad, or country song. You can’t plan songs out like that but you can focus on creating something great.
What are some of your passions outside of music?
Lately I’ve been obsessing over vintage Ford and Chevrolet trucks. I might cave-in and buy one soon here. Im a fan of road trips and redvines (hopefully at the same time). I’m also crazy about Great Danes though I’m not sure how that beast will fit in the truck.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing?
Well in the beginning Genesis 1 (bad joke) but really in fall 2007 when i started writing songs i didn’t have a focus on my sound. I really played and wrote songs for fun because some of my friends liked what i did. But now after touring, writing, and recording my music has naturally developed into a organic pop sound. And while my voice is more ‘organic’ I’ve always desired to write big songs. Songs that could reach people everywhere.
What are your hopes for the upcoming year?
Well ill share a few things that are going down this year. I’m working on a new EP as we speak. Ive actually got a friend coming over to overdub vocals in a few moments. The EP is going to be sick and have been youtubing my progress on my page (youtube.com/mattofthedrag). I have hopes to write for other people’s records as well, to be touring, and just to be mad busy with what i love to do. Writing, playing, and eating redvines.