Matt Eckstine – Interview

Americana and indie-folk singer-songwriter Matt Eckstine is interviewed about his influences, favorite songs he’s written, thoughts on the local music scene, and much more.

What first got you into music?

My first memory of connecting with music was when I was a young boy and discovered my grandpa’s 8 track cassette player in the basement. I loved the Beach Boys and would listen over and over to the tape. Music hit me hard and I began running down a dream early. I remember seeing some guys from school who started a band and that really inspired me to start learning guitar and I wanted to start a band too. Some like minded friends and I formed a pop-punk band called Krebstar and we were playing original songs in clubs in Cleveland by age 16!

Who are some of your influences?

I really love so many different styles of music. I like to think of genres of music as a “seasoning” that I can add to my spice rack if you will as a songwriter. My favorite songwriters are Tom Petty, John Prine. I have spent a ton of time with their music. Too many others to list … American Blues and Folk, the British Invasion of the 60’s and 70’s, and Alternative 90s. I also should add the folk boom of the 2000’s with bands like The Lumineers.

Matt Eckstine at the River House

What draws you to your preferred genre?

I tend to be labeled as a folk singer / Americana Artist. Folk songs are stories that are accompanied by music and a melody. That is what I try to do. Sometimes I am even successful in that mission.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe, how can you expect others to? Also, Fake it till you make it.

All of a sudden they are there in complete form and it didn’t even exist when you woke up that morning

Any favorite songs you’ve written, and why?

Usually my favorite song is the one I am working on currently. If I had to narrow it down, I would choose the ones that come through you like a lightning bolt. All of a sudden they are there in complete form and it didn’t even exist when you woke up that morning. Fascinating really! “Townes Blues” – by The Accomplices is something I’m really proud I made up one night.

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How did you get your start in the Savannah music scene?

Good Luck mostly. It’s one of those classic show business stories….In the right place at the right time. I was very fortunate to be discovered at a gig in Beaufort by the management crew that opened up the Bohemian Hotel in Savannah. They offered me a house gig that ended up lasting two years. I was given a budget to create a band and that was how The Accomplices got their start. This turned out to be a life changing opportunity that sealed my fate as a professional musician.

Name a Savannah artist you’d love to collaborate with, and why?

I have been pretty lucky in this category. I have got to work with so many great players on events like “Life is a Carnival”, “Homegrown Holiday Hoedown”, and “Dreamer of Pictures.” The band that comes to mind that I would like to collaborate with would be Eric Jones Trio. I hope that happens some day.

I hope that local bands and artists will be used as opening acts for these shows at the new venues

What are some of your favorite local places to play?

I always have a great time playing gigs on Tybee Island. I play at Sea Wolf, Cockspur Grill, and Chamacos regularly. My favorite venues in the area are Victory North, Tybee Post Theatre.

Your thoughts on the Savannah music scene …

Music scenes are always evolving and changing. Losing the Jinx was definitely a blow. I see places like Over Yonder recently stepping up to the plate and offering artists a place to showcase their original music. I have faith in the music scene. I can’t believe all the shows that are being announced recently in Savannah. Big artists and artists on the rise. I hope that local bands and artists will be used as opening acts for these shows at the new venues. That is what Savannah has been missing in my opinion and now that opportunity looks to be here.

Matt Eckstine at the Cockspur Grill

What’s next for you?

I have a few things on the burner currently. I am part of a group who is organizing a big “local star” show the night before Thanksgiving at Victory North. Also, I would like to bring back a big Holiday concert this year that has been sorely missed by the Savannah music community … Wink, wink.

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