Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
Tony Whitlock of Matthew & the Arrogant Sea: I grew up in Indianapolis, and always loved music, was always moved by, some of my earliest memories are dancing in the house to my parents records – Elvis, Beach Boys, Stones, Beatles, etc. By the time I was 12, I had convinced my parents to buy me a used guitar for my birthday, and started taking some lessons soon after. I never decided to become an artist, I just do things I enjoy.
Exposed Vocals: How did you come up with that name? What was your inspiration behind it?
Tony Whitlock: As far as MATAS is concerned, My recollection is that Matthew found an old book of sailor’s poems in a used bookstore, titled “The Arrogant Sea,” and decided it should be the name of the band and his brother suggested it should be Matthew and The Arrogant Sea.
Exposed Vocals: What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
Tony Whitlock: Music has been shared since someone figured out how to capture it, it’s what people do with something that moves them, it’s human nature. Yes, you can stream MATAS music for free at the usual places – Bandcamp, Spotify, etc., why? Because hopefully someone will hear it, be moved by it, and want to share it with people they care about. Maybe some of those people will come to a show, buy a record or shirt, say hello, become a friend.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Tony Whitlock: Go see other people play music, support your local community, become a part of that community. Don’t be shy, say hi to people, get to know them, be genuine, be sincere. Show up on time, remember the name of the sound person and the people that work at the venue, be nice to people.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Tony Whitlock: HAHAHAHAHA, of course, keep moving, keep playing.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Tony Whitlock: Yes, it’s always an adventure. The best part is seeing old friends and meeting people along the way, sharing experiences with people you care about. Our last trip through the quad cities was great, doing Daytrotter sessions, meeting and staying with the good people at Rozz-Tox in Rock Island. The only thing that is consistent with every tour is, at some point, Matthew will make a terrible decision about some gas station food.
Exposed Vocals: Do you remember buying your first album? Who was it? What was going through your head?
Tony Whitlock: It was ZZ Top “Eliminator,” I was so excited to pull the record out of the sleeve, to drop the needle, look at the jacket and sleeve, to smell it. Billy Gibbons was a big part of why I wanted to play guitar.
Exposed Vocals: How do you juggle the rest of your responsibilities while trying to stay ahead in your music life?
Tony Whitlock: It’s all a balance and it’s important to give everything in your life the time and effort it deserves. It’s hard sometimes, to not let the things one HAS to do overwhelm the things one wants to do, and vice versa. The older I get, the more important it seems to really consider priorities and goals. Though I’m not as diligent about it as I should be, it’s helpful to write them down. Being forced to document them in that way really makes you think about what’s important, and what you’re doing or not doing.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in 2018 / 2019?
Tony Whitlock: A new record from Matthew & The Arrogant Sea, more film/video projects, we’ll probably pull some more from the archives (we recently posted one of the earliest MATAS EPs on Spotify, which includes early versions of some of the songs from “Family….”), some tour dates should start popping up later in the year, I keep pushing for Kiss-style solo albums, I think the guys are finally starting to warm up to the idea.