Featured Artist: Matt Duke

October 23, 2013

Singer-songwriter Matt Duke is collaborating with our friends at Buncearoo & Music 4 More for a benefit show this Saturday night at Foundation Gallery & Liveroom. We decidedly reached out to the New Jersey native to get to know about him and the fantastic tracks he continues to put out there for everyone to hear. We learned about how he became the musician he is today, musical inspirations, how became involved with this benefit show, and much more! Get to know Matt Duke below. 


For anyone who has yet to get to know you or take a listen to your music, could you tell us about your backstory and how you became the musician you are today?

I’ve been writing and performing since I was a you kid back in Mt. Laurel, NJ. My love for music really stems back to my parents – my Dad has great taste in songwriters and musicians and my Ma has a beautiful voice. As kids, we were surrounded by wonderful music and encouraged to learn an instrument. I began with piano and then ultimately – inspired by a profound desire to learn the Great American [Grunge] Songbook – picked up the guitar and really found my calling. My taste in music grew more eclectic as I got older and I was fortunate to meet and perform with inspiring songwriters, teaching me new tricks and exposing me to music that I might not have ever heard otherwise. Basically, my musical style and persona is an amalgam of family, friends, love, and perfect strangers.

What past or present musicians influence you and the music you make?

Like I mentioned at the top, I was a huge (HUGE) grunge freak. Strike that…I AM a huge grunge freak and I have no problem admitting that fact. While my early education came from Springsteen, Bowie, Costello, The Band, and others of that ilk, I connected in a truly visceral way to bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, STP, and so on. Even now, that music still resonates with me – the angst, the fury, the rawness of those records, coupled with the incredible riffs, odd time signatures, strange tunings, animalistic-like vocals…there was so much to appreciate and connect with as a young kid and even more to inspire me to be a better musician. That appreciation opened me to other genres (all things Alt-Rock, Metal, Classical, Singer-Songwriter) and I fell in love with bands like Tool, Mastodon, Yes, Dave Matthews Band, Fiona Apple, Ani Difranco, Tori Amos, Jeff Buckley, Sunny Day Real Estate, and others. Lately, I’ve been revisiting Flaming Lips, Sufjan Stevens, James Blake, and some new Beck singles that were just released. But if I had to name my biggest influence, I would have to say Peter Gabriel – I celebrate everything he’s ever written. The man is fearless, his voice is so affecting, and he so perfectly crosses genres and explores nontraditional themes – all in an effort to make what are both excellent LPs and an excellent live show.

You’ve got plenty of shows lined up on the East Coast, one that makes a stop at our FNDTN Gallery & Liveroom for Benefit for Music 4 More – how did you get involved with Music 4 More & Buncearoo to put this show together?

You’re reminded time and time again that, in the business of entertainment, it’s all about who you know. In this case, that same rule applies – I’ve known the wonderful Deidra at Music 4 More and the Bunces of Buncearoo for a little while now and that’s how I got involved with the upcoming benefit show at FNDTN. It’s my honor to know and be involved with such ambitious minds and even kinder hearts. So when I was offered the chance to play, I jumped at the opportunity.

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You’ve also got a big event coming up next year in March, the Off The Record Fest, featuring many talented singer-songwriters. What do you look forward to most during that event?

Are you asking me to choose between the time spent with great friends and music fanatics, getting the opportunity to play music around the clock, and the fact that the event takes place on a beach? Can I answer, “All of the above?”

You collaborated with your fellow musician Tony Lucca back in July. If you could collaborate with any other musicians, who would they be?

Trent Reznor. I’m still a big Nine Inch Nails fan and I’ve always been fascinated by Reznor’s work ethic, his ability to create these beautiful sonic landscapes using tones and effects traditionally considered hard-edged or abrasive, and I just want to see what it would be like as a part of that creative process.

You released your EP Love On A Major Scale last last year, do you have plans for a full-length anytime soon?

A new record is tentatively slated for release in March!

Current guilty pleasure musician?

Paramore. Always Paramore. But, honestly, no music or musician is a guilty pleasure. Not even you, Billy Ocean.

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Thanks for talking to us. Looking forward to your FNDTN show! Any last shout outs for the readers out there?

Yes – JOIN ME AT THE BENEFIT SHOW! It’s going to be a blast. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

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