Q&A with Pacifico: "All Any Artist Can Ask for Is for Someone to Have an Emotional Connection to Their Creation"
2017 has been a monumental year for Pacifico, the solo project of Matthew Schwartz and music collective of countless friends and talented musicians. On top of tour dates, which just wrapped up earlier this month, Schwartz celebrated the release of his long-awaited new album, Everest in October. With a more complex song structure and some of the most dynamic and exciting music from Pacifico to date, Everest has taken 3 and a half years, 5 studios and 12 musicians to create, and it has been well worth the wait.
Now, Schwartz gets to look down from the top of Everest, and the view isn't bad. With nearly twenty years writing and performing as Pacifico under his belt and plenty of friends to help along the way, the hard work that it has taken to get here is undeniable and possibilities for the future are endless. Read all about Everest and Pacifico's plans for the future below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Pacifico for any readers who might not be familiar?
Pacifico is a music collective that I started to involve my friends and heroes in the creation of my art.
After next year, you’ll be able to say that you’ve been writing and performing as Pacifico in one way or another for 20 years! When this was first just an idea or when the project had just begun, did you ever imagine ending up where you are now? What goals did you have in mind back then?
I don't think I had any real goals, all I wanted to do was to create and share my music. It doesn't surprise me that I'm still making music, as I can't stop creating. Hopefully, you could ask me the same question in another 20 years and I could give you a similar answer.
You’re currently wrapping up and incredibly busy fall with the release of your new album, Everest and a ton of U.S. tour dates! What has been the highlight of your year so far?
The highlight for me would be really just finally having Everest as a finished product and being able to share it with the world.
What are some of the most prominent ways you’ve grown or evolved as a musician over the years, or even just with the writing of your new album, Everest?
I‘m constantly pushing myself as a writer and producer to try new techniques and sounds that I've never previously attempted. This album marks the first time that Pacifico has used analog synths, electronic drums, co-wrote with a published poet, and tried several new and different writing styles.
The creation of Everest was a long process, as well. What were some of the most challenging aspects of working on this album?
I honestly didn't know if what I heard in my head would translate and sound decent as a finished product. I remember bringing songs to my guitar player and drummer and them asking “How is this gonna work?”. It wasn't until I heard the final mix that I myself was convinced that I was onto something that would actually work.
What were some of the most rewarding moments of the writing and recording process?
The most rewarding part of writing was when I would find the missing piece to a song that I've been working on for a while and it finally comes to fruition. The most rewarding part of recording is seeing and hearing my fellow friends and musicians adding new life into these songs with their soul.
One of the first songs you released from the album was “Go Alone.” What does this track mean to you?
Upon first hearing the title “Go Alone” people may think that this song is about having to go through life alone out of necessity. But in reality this song is written about making a conscious decision to move forward in life when everything is trying to push you down and hold you back. We thought it would only be fitting to draw from the imagery of Homer’s “Odyssey”.
What do you hope listeners will take away from Everest?
Much like visual art, I want my music to be open to interpretation, allowing each listener to get what they want out of the album. Ultimately, all any artist can ask for is for someone to have an emotional connection to their creation.
Looking forward to 2018, what are your goals for this project now?
We have plans to do music videos for two of the songs of Everest.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for having me and for supporting independent music. I hope people like Everest as much as we've enjoyed making it. Hope to see everyone at a show soon!