Interview with music producer Matthew Shell about his new album “Towards New Beginnings”
Q: Please introduce yourself to the readers, how you first got into this field of work, and who were some of your influences growing up?
My name is Matthew Shell. I’m a music producer, sound engineer, eLearning professional, guitarist, percussionist, and family man.
Q: What kind of training have you had, if any?
I was classically trained on piano by my Mom and taught the basics of guitar by my Dad. In my early years, I expanded my knowledge of guitar, piano, drums, and percussion instruments but checking out instructional books and training videos from my local library. For audio production engineering, I studied at Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, MD. I also have an undergrad Batchelors degree in Business Management and Administration from UMD, College Park.
Q: What has been your favourite project to work on so far?
My new album “Towards New Beginnings” (TNB) (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=g0cmE04RLwM) has taken a year to perfect with my collaborators. Some things happen fast, like my previous album “First Light” that I arranged from start to finish in eight hours and then got done with my collaborators shortly there after. And some things take longer, like TNB which took over a year. Honestly, both of these albums were some of my most enjoyable projects, but the title track from TNB is the best song I’ve had the honor to create with this amazing team of musicians.
Q: How did you get the gig?
Narked Records reached out to me to make a relaxing instrumental guitar and piano album. While this is how I perform live, oddly enough, I had never made an album whole-heatedly focused in this direction. As a producer, I’ve always focused on finding the best musicians in the world to bring to life my ideas, so this album is no different. TNB features Sami Turunen on guitar and my long time collaborator Vahagn Stepanyan on piano, among others.
Q: What sports do you enjoy watching?
Basketball, billiards, and ping pong are my favorites. However, since there are no organized sports happening right now due to the state of the world, I very much enjoyed Michael Jordan’s documentary “The Last Dance”. It’s incredible, especially the insight into how Phil Jackson coached The Bulls.
Q: What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
Getting to work in the studio as an assistant engineer with Philip Lawrence for his song “It’s A Jungle Out Here” (https://youtu.be/RfRLAypDn9M) was very inspiring. I simply pressed record as Phil did his vocal takes and gave my advice here and there. Phil’s lead engineer Jeeves was amazing to watch work. Jeeves and Phil has such an amazing chemistry, and I learned so much that day about what it means to be a great vocal engineer like Jeeves.
It was one of the most wonderfully educational and inspiring days I’ve ever had in the studio. After that four hour session at Blue Room Productions with just me, Phil, Jeeves, and their collaborator Steven, the very next day I was in a stadium with my wife as Phil performed with Bruno Mars to a sold out arena crowd. That was definitely surreal two days that meant a lot for my education and growth as a producer and engineer.
Q: If you had a chance to work alongside anybody who would that be?
Now that I’ve worked with Phil, I’d be honored to work with his buddy Bruno. No pressure if Phil reads this.
Q: What projects do you have coming up?
TNB Volume 2 is well on it’s way to be completed and will be released in 2021.
Q: Who is your inspiration?
God, my wife, daughter, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and life in general.
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
David Emerald’s book “The Power of TED” is amazing. Any description I try to give would spoil it, so just go check it out. It has nothing to do with music but is a great read.
Q: What are your favorite venues to perform in?
The Beacon Hotel has the most breathtaking rooftop view of Washington DC. That has been my most favorite venue, so far. Perfect for a classy, relaxing, groovy Spanish guitar, piano, and DJ vibe.
Q: Social Profiles:
Find me on Instagram and twitter: @MTS_Music
Links to my other social media profiles can be found at www.MTSmusic.net