Interview with Matthew Good About 'Vancouver'

Comments 10 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last Friday I met up with Matthew Good while he was hard at work in the studio. He graciously took a few minutes to chat with me so that I could write an article about his upcoming release for my weekly E!Online spot. An extended version follows below…

Photo credit: Dan Lilly on Flickr

Matthew Good’s Vancouver

“It’s a funny thing, I think you know, me and my best friend whose lived downtown for 20 plus years, we talk about it all the time,” noted Good when asked about the changing face of Vancouver. “I think you know, if we, in 1990 were sitting outside at Taf’s Cafe and would have said that you know in 18 years from now there would be a big screen television across the street at like a music mega-store we probably would have entered into a suicide pact.”

It’s been only a few months since he released Live from Massey Hall on iTunes but Canadian singer and songwriter Matthew Good is currently recording his next record which will be called, Vancouver.

With regards to the songs on Vancouver being about the city of Vancouver itself Good said, “Some of them are overtly about it, some of them moreso my reflections on it or more personal introspection — I’ve lived downtown for 18 years and I’ve watched the city change very dramatically in those 18 years. I would like to say it was for the better but it hasn’t been in my opinion. I think this town has lost a lot of soul — it’s lost a lot of its culture.”

Taking a very hands-on approach to his craft, Good is currently laying down all of the tracks required for Vancouver, while also producing the entire album.

“It’s a lot different than Hospital Music in which I had everything exactly the way I wanted it and it ended up translating exactly the same way onto the record. Whereas with this record I had everything I wanted and some of the ideas with regards to sounds are changing once I’m getting in here, which is something that I planned on doing.”

“Vancouver” – Matthew Good on Flickr

This will be Good’s fourth solo (studio) album. His most recent, Hospital Music, soared to #1 on Canadian charts in August of 2007 while also conquering the online realm, topping, iTunes Canada, and the first single Born Losers was the #1 alternative song on iTunes USA.

Good spent the better part of 2006 through 2008 touring Canada and the United States, performing solo acoustic concerts as well a few legs with a full band. Having recently moved outside of Vancouver’s downtown core he is looking forward to his change of environment.

“I find that within the dichotomy of the city, especially within the downtown core and its neighbourhoods, there’s just not a lot of realism within the people – not as much as there used to be. I’m in no way trying to be disparaging about all Vancouverites, I’m just saying that in my experience I’ve noticed that, that it’s just changed a lot.”

He added, “Who knows how the economic downtown that I think personally will hit this city like a ton of bricks, because it’s been flying high for quite a while now – it’s going to be really interesting to see how that affects the attitude of people downtown and whether or not this kind of Playland or Fantasyland or new ‘West Hollywood attitude’ will survive it.

“I really just couldn’t live down here any more because I just felt hypocritical every time I left my house – I felt like I was part of the problem instead of part of the solution.”

Song titles were released late last year on Good’s website and with tracks like The Vancouver National Anthem and Empty’s Theme Park the title and theme will definitely flow throughout the entire release, expected this year.

10 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Surrey TTuesday, January 20th, 2009 — 4:19am PST

    This is just another incident of Matt Good using an opportunity to insult the City. If he hates it so much, leave and see how famous you are without the Vancouverites that supported you. I think you’ll find that every city in the developed world has it’s yuppie class and of course Vancouver is no exception.

    Sounds to me like he hasn’t had an opportunity to live anywhere other than Van and is starting to take it for granted… A guitar wielding “Jim Carrey” is all you are…

  2. rachael chatoorTuesday, January 20th, 2009 — 8:23am PST

    Cool to read this, I lived downtown about 15 years ago, and it truly has changed, but then again so has everywhere in the Lower Mainland. 🙂

  3. Miss604Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 — 8:43am PST

    Yeah I learned a lot more about Vancouver’s long lost rockin’ roots when doing my short-lived punk series. I think it’s more a matter of seeing a city with such potential go in different directions, one of which leaves us with one of the poorest and downtrodden neighbourhoods in the region; everything is connected.

  4. steve k.Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 — 1:12pm PDT

    Surrey T has no idea what he’s talking about really… Matt loves the city just doesn’t like what’s become of it. That’s fair to say from anyones point of view.

    Can’t wait for the new record, everything Matt does is of excellent quality.

  5. VancouverRocksFriday, May 1st, 2009 — 9:35pm PDT

    I guess we have to wait and see what will be said about Vancouver, until the CD comes out this summer… I really hope it’s all good. I would be really upset if it wasn’t and wouldn’t suuport Vancouver bashing by buying the CD, like I have with all his others – just because I love Vancouver. I think it is a beautiful city, even if it has changed, (which I’m sure every other city in the world has.)

    Also, when I was watching the “Weapon” music video on youtube, I scrolled down and noticed a comment.

    “symbolicalcohalic (3 weeks ago)

    Matthew Good will have his revenge on vancouver”

    What is this all about? I kind of remember something happening in the media about people calling him an asshole… were they from Vancouver?

  6. Ian DixonWednesday, June 3rd, 2009 — 3:47pm PDT

    I think he has hit the nail on the head, this city does not have the charector it used to, it is slowly becoming a bland city with bland people with more money than sense!

  7. gord099Monday, June 8th, 2009 — 8:58am PDT

    Matt does not bash anything, he is noticing changes and he is trying to be a positive influence on the city and try to change it for the better with his only means of doing so (his music). he doesn’t hate the city he just see a change and he is being proactive about it. and he always comes out with music that is tasteful and has a point that people can respect. i listened to a few demo’s today and i really enjoyed it, its not all blatant about pointing out flaws, its more about his experiences and his life within the city, his point of view.

    and Surrey T, you are way off…read the article again, I did not find a single thing Matt said as offensive or Vancouver bashing, he is trying to help the city not take it for granted.

  8. RyanThursday, August 20th, 2009 — 9:47am PDT

    He’s right, downtown vancouver is turning to shit. The music scene is being erradicated by fucking DJ’s. Richards closed down so more condo’s could be built, having to see bands at the Biltmore is torture, and the shows have to end early because of dance partys. The only good streets with any character are Commercial and Main st, and even Commercial is slowly giving way to Tim Hortons and Dairy Queens.

  9. Rob TothSunday, August 23rd, 2009 — 7:42am PDT

    “I find that within the dichotomy of the city, especially within the downtown core and its neighbourhoods, there’s just not a lot of realism within the people”

    “it is slowly becoming a bland city with bland people with more money than sense!”


    I’m used to hearing these perceptions from predominently arts communities such as Commercial Drive… and I often wonder why “artists” see beauty in their own art but people around them are shallow, bland, not real, etc, etc.

    Oddly enough, those outside the arts communities often view such statements as egotistical, self-absorbed, arrogant. And while a lot of my own friends very neatly fall into the “artsy” crowd, I can’t help but notice that they place their own chosen passions/arts on a pedastal while judging everything and everyone around them.

    Is that really an ideal way to live?

    Your community is what you make of it.

    I meet very real, amazing individuals all the time. And I live downtown.

    On another note, Matt does a great job with his art… his music just keeps getting better. Some of the best live shows I’ve ever seen were Matt at small venues. Keep up the great work!

  10. repliderium.comMonday, September 7th, 2009 — 9:04am PDT

    The album is available now on his site and I am listening to it as I type. As per usual- it kicks ass. I think SurreyT is just feeling a little pissy because what Matt says about Vancouver rings very true. I lived downtown for years and it is becoming soulless. Don’t get me wrong- there are pockets and corners that aren’t, but on a grand scale, it’s slid the wrong way down the slippery slope.

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