Matt Costa [Interview]


If there is one singer/songwriter that I have always loved and respected just so damn much, it will always be Matt Costa. In the early 2000’s I was a huge fan of everything that Brushfire Records was putting out. I loved Jack Johnson, and if you check out Part 7 of our From The Vault series, we still defend Jack to this fucking day. I love many of their other artists, but I can say without a doubt that Matt Costa was always the best, and is still the best to come out of that line up.

And Matt has proven that he is a creative mastermind with his latest project doing the original soundtrack for the film Orange Sunshine, that is absolutely beautiful. It’s something completely different from what his fans might expect, but it is fucking brilliant and needs to be heard. It is absolutely brilliant, and must be heard. The album will be out on November 11th, and is a must hear. You are going to love this album, I can guarantee it.

So, with that, I am so happy to say that we got a few words from Matt, talking about how he got into the world of music, what keeps him going, and a bit about his work on Orange Sunshine. So please enjoy!


When did you first realize that music was meant to be the reason for your plain of existence?

When I was a kid I heard Jerry Lee Lewis playing piano. A little later my Dad showed me The Who’s Tommy and Cream’s Disraeli Gears, I wanted to live in those worlds; the sounds were so powerful. I wouldn’t say that those influences are obviously apparent in my music, but that was my first introduction to Rock and Roll as a very young kid. I didn’t start writing music till I was 19. Since then I keep going further down the rabbit hole.

When did you first have that “Holy Shit, I’m a working musician now”. Basically, when did you  realize your art was officially your world?

When I started being able to pay rent from money I made performing or selling records. My girlfriend at the time was working and going to school. We we where living in Sacramento. She would come home, after I had gone through about two pots of coffee, and I would be running around the house like a mad man singing melodies and running over to catch them on the piano with a tape recorder. I was also learning a lot of songs. Whatever songs I could get my hands on; preferably the older the better. She couldn’t handle it but my wife now can.

Can you please tell us a bit about Orange Sunshine? How did you become a
part of this project? And  what drew you to this story?

I received an Email from a mutual friend of the director his name was Klee, named after Paul Klee the Artist, but pronounced Clay. Because his name is Klee I always trust him. He explained that William Kirkley was making a documentary on the Brotherhood of Eternal Love called Orange Sunshine. The title was familiar to me and the story was a local one. I had read some stories about this group and their drug smuggling history. I currently live in Laguna Beach where the story took place. Klee connected me with William Kirkley. He asked me to write a few songs for the film, and shortly after I submitted those he asked if i would be interested in scoring.
While the sound is obviously a bit different than those just tuning back in from your days on Brushfire Records or your recent EP’s, that is obvious, there is also a strange essence to this amazing record that is undeniably appealing. But, what else was different for you in completing the music for this film? What were the main things you were looking to do differently on this record, and do you feel like you accomplished them?

I let the film dictate the moods. It was a different approach for me, with the exception of about 3 songs, there aren’t many with vocals. I let the film be the lead and that was refreshing.

And I must throw it out there, “Call My Name” is a brilliant single. Simply goddamned brilliant! Can  you tell us specifically what you were trying to convey in this beautiful
psychedelic doo top (as I would call it) track? Is there a personal reason this track exists?

Well thanks!! The song is a traditional sounding love song but untraditional in a sense that it is referencing enlightenment brought on with the Orange Sunshine LSD that was spread throughout the world. Its refrain “I Need Your Love” is a call out to the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. It appears for brief section when two of the characters get hitched. They start a conservative life in Orange County and quickly realize after taking LSD that they need more from life.


I read on your website that John Steinbeck was once a fellow dweller of your community. Did you find  that his essence still lived among the residents? Real question, would you
consider Steinbeck’s work to be a major influence on your own work?

The Cottage where Steinbeck wrote “The Pastures of Heaven” sits on top the steepest street in town. You wouldn’t know that one of the most Important literary figures in the 20th century lived here, there no placards and there aren’t any streets named after him. I do a radio show on Tuesday nights and the DJ before me has a screen saver of the western flyer; the boat Steinbeck traveled to the Sea of Cortez. Sometimes he will quote Steinbeck on his show or he and I will talk about our favorite scenes from his novels. My favorite Steinbeck book isn’t an official novel but “A Life in Letters,” where his personal trials and creative process are revealed. Steinbeck has definitely brought me closer to my home state California.

Your hit single “Mr. Pitiful” appeared in numerous films and trailers and yada yada yada. I know this  is all old news. But, I have to bring it up because our old friend and fellow TWS interviewee, John Hamburg, was the man behind the Paul Rudd fronted comedy I Love You Man, so I have to ask, how was it hearing your track set as the background to such a goofy, yet undeniably sweet, moment in comedic history?

Honestly I’ve never seen it, but I have seen all his other films and loved them. The one thing it did do is make my family believe I really made it as an entertainer.

What would you consider to be your greatest non-artistic influences?

My Wife, Family, and Friends.

I know you are currently on the Orange Sunshine kick at this time, but do you have any foresight into what will be next? What is the next thing we can look forward to hearing
from you?

I’m writing new record and looking forward to sharing it.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My friend lost a tooth. It was one of his front teeth. He has long hair and
A beard and a big missing tooth gap. It’s a strong look. I love him.


You can catch Matt Costa on a few West Coast dates. Each night features a screening of the acclaimed film Orange Sunshine with a concert to follow by Matt Costa performing songs from and inspired by the film. A Virtual Reality Component is included taking you inside the minds of “The Brotherhood of Eternal Love”. Here are the dates for November:

November 15th – Los Angeles, CA @ The Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary

November 17th – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s

November 20th – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon

November 21st – Portland, OR @ The Albert Rose

November 22nd – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s


About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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