Matt Mays has shared the video for the song “Talking to The Sky” from his latest album Dog City. The video is a collaboration between Matt and his friends Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis of July Talk. Both Leah and Peter contributed vocals to the project.
Says Matt of the collaboration:
“Leah and Peter are some of the most magical people I’ve ever met so when they approached me to make the video I was over the moon. The song (I hope) reflects all the mixed feelings we all have these days, and we wanted the video to evoke the same but introduce that glimmer of light at the end of the beach that everyone deserves to see again soon.”
The undisputed star of “Talking to the Sky” is Matt’s dog Rhuby, whose performance powerfully captures our collective feelings of confinement in 2020. She is truly a good dog.
When the world went into lockdown in March 2020, Matt Mays took the opportunity to challenge himself as a songwriter, musician, and producer. Dog City was written from the perspective of a rescue dog and recorded in a make-shift studio in Mays’ garage. Going one step further, he asked fans to choose a release date during one of his Mantle Music online concerts. May 17th was selected, and, in the wee hours of the morning, Mays uploaded Dog City to Bandcamp. In August, Sonic Records released the mastered version of the album to digital music services worldwide and the vinyl LP arrived in September.
As it turns out, Dog City is a triumph, showcasing Mays’ versatility as both a songwriter and performer (he even contributed tenor sax to “Talking to the Sky”) and reflecting his wide range of musical influences. Mays described the songs as:
“About pure freedom, love, contentment, companionship and all the stuff in between. I wrote every note and lyric over the last 6 weeks in confinement in my cold garage and a few other empty spaces. Except for the Stooges cover :-)”
While the album was produced in isolation, that doesn’t mean Mays was entirely without his buds. Long-time collaborators Tim Jim Baker (drums, percussion, programming) & Serge Samson (bass) contributed their parts from their home studios. More recent band mates Asa Brosius (pedal steel) and Melissa Payne (vocals) also sent parts via the wires. Leah Fay sang back-ups on “Talking to the Sky” while her July Talk bandmate Peter Dreimanis added his distinct voice to “Number Canine”. Kate Dyke added her vocals to “New Tricks” the day before Mays was to upload the finished album (because he wrote the song earlier that day).
Since departing seminal alt-country collective The Guthries in 2002, Matt Mays has alternated between solo projects (his self-titled debut, the film soundtrack …When the Angels Make Contact) and band projects (the eponymous Matt Mays & El Torpedo record and 2008’s Terminal Romance). Following the dissolution of Matt Mays & El Torpedo in 2009, Mays released Coyote in 2012 to much acclaim, including a JUNO Award win for Rock Album of the Year.
In 2017 Mays released Once Upon a Hell of a Time… to be followed a year later by the album’s ‘woody’ companion Twice Upon a Hell of a Time…. 2019 saw the release of the “Let There Be Love” single and the Howl at The Night Tour which successfully brought together both the intimate and electric sides of the Matt Mays concert experience for the first time. As the pandemic shut down touring in early 2020, Mays set up a studio in his garage and produced Dog City, an inspiring album written from the perspective of a rescue dog.
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.