Mt. Joy’s Matt Quinn Talks Lessons Learned and His Return to the Road

Erica Campbell / December 28, 2021
The vocalist and guitarist has a new appreciation for live shows after releasing the band’s latest album during lockdown.

When five-piece indie rock band Mt. Joy released their Rearrange Us album in the summer of 2020, they were faced with the challenge of connecting with fans without the ability to play live. They decided to get creative. “We did a number of things differently,” vocalist and guitarist Matt Quinn shares in a new episode of our Co.Lab Sessions podcast. “We did a lot of Instagram live-type moments to create concert-esque moments surrounding our release. It was leaning into the idea of, ‘How do we get in front of people with some of these new songs and try to be creative?’”

Now, with some artists starting to play live again, Quinn has a renewed sense of gratitude for the live concert experience. “Our shows have changed during the pandemic because the energy has shifted so much,” he shares. “There's a negative side to that for sure. But there's also this positive side to that coin too. I think people need music. We need music as musicians.” Where touring previously felt like part of the job, Quinn now sees it as a necessity. “I feel like I need to be doing this,” he says. “It's hard to sit in your house for a year at a time and not have the thing that you love available to you.”

An Opportunity to Try Something New

For Quinn, figuring out how to connect with fans amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic meant making space for experimentation. “At first we were reluctant to try certain things, but it's gotten to this point where, if you're comfortable with those things or you think it's good for your band or your project, I think you have nothing to lose,” he shares. Quinn also thinks that this new normal is fertile ground for taking risks. “This is unchartered territory for everyone,” he says, “so it's free ground to make mistakes and try and learn.”

Releasing While Reading the Room

“It was also a time where the world was having this pretty incredible reckoning,” Quinn shares about the months around the time Rearrange Us was released. “Not just with the pandemic, but with social reform. All over the world, but especially in America, I think it was a delicate moment to be promoting yourself in general.”

For Quinn, that meant being sensitive to what the band shared with their audience and when. “Quite a bit of thought went into, ‘Hey, is this moment about Mt. Joy,’ or, ‘Is this a good moment to promote my music?’” Releasing their album at that time was a learning experience for Quinn. “That was a good lesson for us in general, just to know that it's not always a good time to sell. Sometimes you have to sit back and show your fans that you have common sense and you are aware of the world that you're putting music into.”

Appreciating the Power of Live Music

Since returning to touring, Quinn is not only appreciative of the live experience, but he sees how thankful attendees have been as well. “There's a special energy there where you do feel like you're providing this thing that's been missing. Whereas before, there were shows every day and you're just the next band in the venue,” he shares. Quinn is also excited about the potential to bring people together. “If I could put my finger on it, I would, but there's just this really special thing [about concerts],” he says. “We're such a divided world, and it's such a unique time to bring people together; and just the power of people singing songs together. It gives me chills just thinking about it.”

To hear more from Matt Quinn, listen to his episode of our Co.Lab Sessions podcast below, and click here to browse more episodes from the series.

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Erica Campbell / December 28, 2021
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