I’ve come to the conclusion that Matt New doesn’t sleep!!! This man seems to have his finger in a lot of pies. I caught up with him to talk about his new business venture Pedal to the Metal and a cool side project he has happening called Band Together: Isolation Covers Project

You seem to be one of the busiest people in the industry! Every time I jump on fb all your socials have something going on….

I like to remain active and creative. Even before the pandemic, I would also keep myself occupied with something to do. Whether that be through songwriting, producing music, attending gigs and writing reviews. But the one thing that I have now more than anything is time since losing my full-time job. So rather than sit on my hands, I’ve been wanting to expand upon my musical endeavours. Figure I may never get this amount of free time to pursue so many projects. It’s amazing to see that my hard work is getting noticed across social media.

Pedal to the Metal is your new online business venture with a cool side project attached.  How did that all come about?  (The business and the side project)

Pedal To The Metal was born in 2018 beginning as a pedalboard building service for musician’s that needed a professional setup to their live pedalboard rigs. A skill and service I was in demand for when I used to work at The Guitar Factory in Gladesville in the inner suburbs of Sydney. As time progressed I have realised that my skill set transcends beyond this service, and it was time to expand.

I have elaborated the business into an all purpose online music service business which will be going live very soon. Focusing on my strengths as an artist including services like production, composition, musical instrument servicing, management and promotions. 

Yes, the side project is very exciting that is connected to this business. Band Together, which is an isolation covers project on YouTube. This was an idea that came to me early on with the pandemic. The thought and mission behind Band Together was to unify musicians from all across the country, or the world with a common love for a cover song of a favourite artist. I feel a tad conflicted about pushing new music in this current climate due to the inability to play live or physically connect with an audience. So a familiar piece of music is the next best thing to connect over, like a warm hug. 

Episode one of Band Together: Isolation Covers Project had some impressive musicians involved. How has the response to your call out been? What can we expect in future episodes? 

Yes, indeed. Episode one was an amazing experience and I’m so proud of how the final product turned out seeing everyone involved really delivered something special. I’m a massive fan of Osaka Punch. Their music has had an extra special drive for me, as I battled some serious depression issues around the time Pedal To The Metal began. So it seemed natural to have Jack sing on the Incubus cover as I know he is massively influenced by them, and secondly I’ve begun to get to know him better as a friend. Chris who drums for Full Scale delivered his blistering drums all the way over from Perth. Jeremy who runs Scale Records in Brisbane originally was going to play drums on this video, but to show the depth of his talent and cooperation, let Chris play drums and he focused on bass. 

I’m super excited and overwhelmed by the response to the project and the call out for musicians to participate. With no end in sight with this pandemic and no clear idea when musicians can hit the stage, I see this as an opportunity for musicians to remain relevant and have some fun. Also to overcome some of the mental health stress caused by isolation and the lack of work we are all used to in this industry. So far I have episodes scheduled and booked fully up to September with artists, some of which are international!!

You guys are performing covers – is it a group decision on what you cover? A song that resonates with all of you. And any hints as to what’s to come….

It all really starts with whoever is singing on the track, or whoever is the most influential member of the lineup. I merely suggest a band to cover based on knowing the collaborating musician’s influences. Naturally with what is suggested there is no resistance to the song we proceed with. I also like to suggest a track that isn’t the most notable song. I feel it’s an opportunity to dig into an artist’s back catalogue and reimagine a hidden gem.

Episode 2 we are covering “Eulogy” by Tool. This will feature Doug from Hemina/Anubis on vocals, Pete Borzeta from Cirrus Crown on guitar, Cam Swales and Jason Hogan from a new and upcoming Brissy prog band called Dimensionist, and of course little old me chugging away on the guitar. I can tell you that we have covers locked in for Karnivool, Deftones and possibly a Sia cover.

I loved the first episode. Do you think this might be something you continue with after restrictions have lifted?  I know everyone will be itching to get back to live audiences, but I love this idea and it’s great to see musicians from different bands jamming together.

I’d like this to be able to continue as long as possible. The other cool element to this project is the opportunity to work with a musician you may never have thought you would have had the chance to collaborate with, albeit on a cover. I’m all about the music community. My sole purpose in this industry is to bring us closer together and support each other more. 

Let’s face it within a lot of hard rock and metal genres, the majority of the fans are fellow musicians in other bands. The industry is now too small to have the larger than life rockstar attitude. The success of a scene is reliant on everyone supporting all their friend’s endeavours and reciprocating the love. 

I also believe the lack of festivals and overseas acts touring will pave the way for a rebirth of the local scene like in the 90’s and early 00’s. Band Together is a means to keep us connected and educated on what everyone is doing and who they play with. Plus everyone involved is making new contacts and friends in the industry. 

What’s next for your other projects Painting Fires and Code Atlantic? 

Sadly Code Atlantic is taking some time to rebuild after some line-up changes. Something I don’t want to go into in much detail, however I am working on a four part concept album that depicts four different psychological states of mind that we identify in society. I haven’t decided whether these will be released as individual albums or two double albums. All will be revealed in the not too distant future.

As for Painting Fires, I’m furiously trying to get this album demoed and written so I can begin tracking. Like Band Together, this upcoming Painting Fires album will be a music community driven incentive. I have a long list of fellow musicians from the Australian prog, metal and doom scene loaning their talents and instruments to the project. I am to use this music to raise awareness and raise money for mental health in the music industry. A large portion of the sales of the album and merch will be donated to selected mental health charities. I’m aiming to hopefully have this album ready to release by late 2020 or early 2021. The main challenge is coordinating so many other musicians on so many different tracks. I’m very confident this will do very well and I hope the music I wrote for this project resonates with people that struggle with mental health, to find the power to overcome it like I have been doing. 

Episode 2 of Band Together goes live tonight.

Check out Episode 1 below. Hit that subscribe button!!

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