Artist Profile: Matthew Ebel
Matthew Ebel tells stories. The Boston-area piano rocker is fond of putting his listeners in the shoes of characters he creates. He’s made a name for himself using cutting-edge technology, blazing a trail through the new music industry. Now he’s taking his latest story about a boy from New York and turning it into the most complex, genre-spanning project of his life.
Matthew’s story begins in Washington State with twenty years of piano lessons and a BA in Music. His 2001 release, Filling The Pages, told stories of a young life in the Christian faith. He soon packed up and moved to Nashville to make it big. “Christian music is why I moved, but I realized it wasn’t for me,” Matthew says. “For the rest of my life I’d have to write every song about the same subject. There’s no way I could do that.”
Much like his boy from New York, Matthew struggled to deal with his new identity. He released The Wee Hours EP in 2003 as a demo with the help of a former classmate. They created the project during off-hours at one of Nashville’s premier studios, working well into the morning. “It was a small enough town that I could make a name for myself,” says Matthew. ”I backed up Billy Currington at the Grand Ole Opry and played with some great people.”
In 2005 Matthew found the perfect marriage of music and technology: podcasting. One of his most successful albums, Beer & Coffee, spread across the globe that year thanks to a wave of music and tech enthusiasts. “Podcasting is what exploded me out of obscurity, and social media is the reason music is my new day job,” he explains.
From Nashville to Outer Space
Matthew launched his own show as well, literally. He produced an outer-space-themed show, High Orbit, featuring independent artists, robots, aliens, and guests like CD baby founder Derek Sivers. His 2007 release Goodbye Planet Earthcontinued the sci-fi theme as a musical journey of a man lost in space.
Two years later the podcast returned as The High Orbit Holiday Special, a Christmas album complete with spaceship battles, original music, carols, and space sharks. More than just music, Matthew produced the album as a classic radio drama.
As the podcasting hype diminished, Matthew performed regularly in the burgeoning virtual world Second Life, but his audience quickly outgrew the capacity of SL’s servers. Live web streaming emerged in 2007 and Matthew became one of UStream’s featured performers, producing shows that would catch the attention of everyone from NPR heavyweight WBUR to Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls. In 2008, though, his entire musical world would change.
Bringing The Fans Along For The Ride
“Gas was over $4 a gallon that summer,” explains Matthew, “so touring was pretty much shot. My fans were scattered all over the globe, making it difficult to stay in touch.” After three months of programming, Matthew created a subscription site to deliver new music, live recordings, and more to his hardcore fans as a premium podcast.
But who would take a chance on this new concept? Matthew’s fans, accustomed to the cutting edge, stepped up. For the first 22 months of Matthew Ebel dot net he released two new songs every month, releasing them as archive albums called Songs from the Vault. Fans regularly receive behind-the-scenes updates and exclusive goodies from Matthew whenever he can provide them, making his subscribers part of an elite club.
Now Matthew is using the site as a means not only to pre-order the next big project but to be a part of the journey of creation.
Who Is Dexter Peterson?
Matthew’s next project involves an album, novel, graphic novel, and radio drama all based on aNaNoWriMo story he wrote in 2005. The Lives of Dexter Peterson, a sci-fi mystery, is scheduled for release by autumn 2011. For this effort he’s teamed up with independent artist Genesis Whitmore, creator of the webcomic series Little Tales.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better partner,” says Matthew. “Gen’s enthusiasm, talent, and sense of humor set a high bar for me to meet. This project will rock.”
After a long, long wait (have I ever released one of these on time?) I’ve finally managed to kick Songs from the Vault, vol. 3 out the door. It really wanted to just stay and continue sleeping on my couch, eating my food, and playing Ratchet and Clank into the wee hours of the morning, but I felt it was time for it to start earning its keep.
Every track has been remixed and remastered. I’ve learned a lot about engineering since the last release, this one represents my best efforts to date! Also, thanks to Bandcamp, I’m now able to offer fully uncompressed audio to anyone who wants it! The physical CD isn’t ready for purchase just yet, but you can get the digital version with complete album artwork today.
Members Get 50% Off!
Entourage and Robot Army
Once the physical CD’s are ready, you’ll get your framed, signed copies as soon as I can go get frames for them! In the mean time, you should be able to download the MP3 version in the Album Archive
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