Brand new Christian EDM artist and DROM's latest signee Matthew Parker has just released his debut single "We Go," which is already climbing up Christian Rock charts now. Then on September 30th, he is set to release his new Christian EDM album "Shadowlands." We are so honoured to catch up with Matthew for this Hallels' exclusive interview.
Hallels: Matthew, so grateful that you can do this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, who is Matthew Parker?
MP: Hi, great to be here chattin' with ya! Well, I grew up in Michigan in a relatively conservative Christian family. I was one of 8 kids--6 brothers and 1 sister, and yes, the sister was the oldest. We also had parents, which was nice. I was mostly homeschooled, although that doesn't make me a weirdo. I'm just a weirdo because I'm a weirdo. Anyway, growing up in a big family was basically a party all the time, and I loved it. I'm currently 20 years old (although in a couple years, I'll most likely be older than that). I also like making jokes which my friends rarely laugh at.....due to their lame-ness (the friends, not the jokes). I enjoy playing soccer, eating food, and walking around enjoying nature. Oh, and I kinda like music.
Hallels: How did you become involved in music, especially Christian EDM?
MP: As far as music goes, I wasn't especially interested in music when I was a kid. But to make a very long, boring story short, my brothers and I started to spend a bit of time "jamming" on various instruments, and I learned to play most of the popular instruments out there. Then I began to write my own songs and started to record them at home. Soon I had my own studio and spent a lot of my time recording my songs and producing electronic music, and for the most part, that's what has gotten me this far in music---Just a love for making good solid music that isn't cliché and isn't boring. That's how I got into making music in general, but how I got into Christian EDM is a whole different story. It mostly happened just by uploading a few songs onto a website called Soundcloud.com. I uploaded the songs and just left them. Then some random guy came around and wrote on my facebook wall, saying he stumbled upon my songs on there and loved 'em, and I was like "Whaaat? Someone actually heard them?" So then I got interested in Soundcloud and in getting feedback from people on there who heard my music and commented. And there I found a whole little online community of people who were more interested in my music than the people I knew in real life (Don't get me wrong, my family supports me and likes most of my music, but they're not like raving #1 fans). To cut to the chase, I was exposed to a ton more EDM on Soundcloud than I'd ever heard before, and I really got involved in it quite naturally. I became part of the online "Christian EDM scene". So I guess that's how I got into "CEDM". I like to think of me as more of a Christian making EDM than a guy making Christian EDM. But yep, I really love what I do!
Hallels: I have read in your bio that you have also done quite a bit of producing, can you tell us more?
MP: Yes, well I produce all the music for my own songs, but I'm assuming you are referring to the remixing that I've done for a few artists. I've done official remixes for Capital Kings and Press Play, as well as a few unofficial remixes of Lecrae, Andy Mineo, and others. If you're not familiar with remixing, it basically means taking just the vocals from an original song and making new music and a new beat behind it and giving it a whole new sound. I really enjoy remixing because it gives me the chance to work with amazing vocals by pro people like the ones mentioned above, and gives me the chance to just be creative! Remixes are typically given more creative freedom to go anywhere, instead of making a song that's....'musically politically correct', if I may invent that term.
Hallels: How did you sign with Dream Records' DROM? What is it like to be working with DROM?
MP: I originally signed with Drom when they came to me and offered a record deal on the new label.
They had heard about me through David Thulin, one of their artists at the time (and currently still signed with them). I was good friends with Thulin and he was apparently impressed enough with my work to recommend me to Drom. The signing process was a little rough though, as I had never negotiated a contract before, and I took so long that they almost dropped me, but it finally happened in the end.
It's pretty awesome to be working with Drom, partly because of the larger span of exposure that I can get, but also even just having someone who's like my boss, and has all the know-how of the music industry behind his back. I mean, you learn so much about the music industry when you're doing stuff Indie, but you learn so much more when you have someone actually TELLING you how stuff works and what's going on. I'm really enjoying where things are going, and having someone behind me makes things a lot easier most of the time.
Hallels: Congratulations on your new album "Shadowlands," can you tell us the meaning and inspiration to your album title?
MP: Yeah, so this album is the product of about a year's worth of work, give or take a bit. It was the product of me thinking to myself "I keep just making music that's pretty good, and then releasing it. Ya know, I want to make something that's the BEST I can do, with no apologies." So I spent a bunch of extra time making sure this album was good. With that said, the theme of the album's title track is darkness and light. Many of my songs have included the concept of the contrast of light and darkness. It's a sort of analogy. The light is the Good--is God--and the darkness is the power of evil. And there's a tension there. In the story of the title track, we as humans are lost in the darkness, and we're crying to God to "Send your Light". And of course, we already know that Jesus is the Light of the world. I just really like the analogy of darkness and light, and the spiritual application of it. It just really resonates with me, and I think it's a good way for people to visualize our human condition.
Hallels: Dance music has been deemed by some to be "the music of the devil." As a Christian, how would you respond to that? I'd tell them that it's not "the music of the devil", because God made music. Ideas may be bad, and concepts, words, and attitudes used in songs may be bad, but I don't believe any rhythms, melodies, chords, or harmonies are inherently evil and belong to the devil. Frankly, I think that's stupid. Sorry if I'm getting a bit strong-tongued here, but it's how I feel. I understand where they're coming from, but I think it's about time we take back the music that has been mostly in the domain of the devil until now. There's some good stuff there, and as Larry Norman so eloquently put it, "Why should the devil have all the good music?". I think countless Christians have been asking that for a long time, and I'm here to help them out with what I hope is "good music".
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase "Shadowlands" or find out more about you, where can they go?
MP: My album is on iTunes and Amazon and everywhere, and you can just type my name in the search bar--you'll be able to find me. And I'm on facebook [https://www.facebook.com/eyesontheking] too, under my name. Would love to connect with all of you! And most importantly, to be directly in-the-loop, take a look at my Soundcloud profile [https://soundcloud.com/eyesontheking], because I regularly post new music (released and unreleased) on there, and it's a lot of fun.
Thanks for interviewing me! It was a pleasure. Peace!