A good friendship is hard to find, so when one comes your way – it’s best to hold on tight. Just ask Dave Walsh and Matt Hock of Space Cadet. Almost 25 years later and they work so well together, they were able to develop audible joy by way of their March 2021 release, ‘Lion On A Leash.’ We talked with one half of this pair about the album, out March 26th, if we could see a resurgence of actually purchasing music, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: You two have been friends just as long as me and my best friend. With that, we have developed this sort of mumbled language that seriously freaks people out. With that, when it comes to creating music, do you share some next-level communication that others just do not get?
Matt Hock: Well, there’s not much mumbling in conversation, but we have developed a language of our own over the years. I wouldn’t call it next-level, though. If anything, it’s a total devolution of the English language. Mumbling plays a role in the writing process for me. If I have a melody for a song, I will record a mumbly vocal just to get it down and see where it takes me. Sometimes those mumbles help create a starting point for lyrics.
Kendra: With each of you having made music your life for so long now, are there any mistakes you made early in your careers that you feel you’ve learned from and made you better today when it comes to writing, recording, and executing an album?
Matt Hock: I think we’ve learned to embrace self-editing a lot more. When we recorded ‘Lion On A Leash,’ almost everything was ready to go before we went into the studio. We did a lot of remote pre-production with Pete Steinkopf, which made things way more efficient. Songs can and should change once you start recording, but it helps to hone the vision of an album beforehand. I don’t know that we focused on that as much in the past and think it makes a huge difference.
Kendra: You have to be making all the right moves because ‘Lion On A Leash’ has not only you two killing it, but features the likes of Brian Baker, Matt Olsson, and many other talented musicians. Were these people you wanted to work with before the record was even recorded, or did they come to mind as the songs started to take shape?
Matt Hock: Thanks for saying that. The band is just the two of us, so we knew from the very beginning that we’d need a rhythm section to sit in. Mike Sneeringer and Matt Olsson immediately came to mind and they were both happy to do it. Start Running Away, which is the song Brian Baker appears on, was the last song written for the album so that came to mind later in the process. He’s a monster player and once the song was a song, we thought he’d be perfect for it. Chris Gonzalez and Scott Engel both make appearances on the record, as well. Huge thanks to all those guys for helping us out – it’s great to have so many talented friends on the record (and in life).
Kendra: So your video for “Bad Luck” made me a little sad because, like many who love music, I miss concerts so much. Like, I found myself missing the summer heat of a festival the other day. Was this concept inspired by your feelings towards missing the live music experience?
Matt Hock: We don’t want to make you sad! We miss live music, for sure, but the video isn’t necessarily about that. My wife, Joanna Bovay, made the video and she wanted it to feel like you found a VHS tape and that’s what happened to be on it. So, there is a deeper concept, but we just wanted it to be fun.
Kendra: With live music on hold in many parts of the world, do you feel like the lack of concerts will drive fans to start to purchase music again instead of simply streaming?
Matt Hock: That’s a great question. I imagine there are a lot of people who got into vinyl when the world shut down and there was nothing to do, so maybe? We, of course, want people to buy the LP on vinyl, but what matters most to us is people listening at all. The album is on red transparent vinyl and looks super cool, though. Probably best to get the vinyl and stream the songs.
Kendra: It’s hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Matt Hock: Yeah, it’s really hard to plan right now and that can start to feel overwhelming sometimes. I think the best way to approach it is to work on the things we can control, like writing and making some more videos. We have a third single coming out before the album releases, so we’re making a video for that. We’re also writing a lot and getting our hands on more pedals – one of our favorite things. We’re trying to make the best of it and hoping that things will be back to normal soon.