INTERVIEW: Denver's Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs Talk About Upcoming Shows & New Music
The last year has been a busy one for Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs. Following his move from Virginia to Colorado, frontman and founding member of the quartet, Matt Rouch released his first album, The Beautiful And The Damned last spring, then quickly began searching for musicians to round out his project and get his footing in Denver. Flash forward from early 2016 to August 2017, Rouch and the rest of the band have not only established themselves as a strong group in the Denver music scene, but they're also gearing up to play a handful of live shows in Colorado throughout August, September and October.
The band's upcoming performances include stops at The Gothic Theatre, Summit Music Hall and more. All upcoming dates can be found HERE. Get to know more about Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs and listen to The Beautiful And The Damned below!
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs?
Well we're a 4-piece Americana folk-rock band based in Denver. We've been together a little over a year. I recorded and released my first full-length album when I moved here two years ago and shortly after formed the band. We used to really only play in Denver, but now we're starting to play all over Colorado, things have been progressing really nicely for us and it's been really exciting to watch this project develop.
Now you’re originally from Virginia but made the move to Colorado a couple of years ago. What was it like getting your footing in the Denver music scene? I feel like I know a lot about it having grown up here, but I’ve never had the perspective from the outside looking in.
Yeah, I was a newcomer a couple years ago and it definitely seemed like a daunting task to break into such a strong local scene. I grew up in DC where there's not much local music happening, at least not when I was there, so it was probably a bit easier. My experience was pretty positive, I could have been shunned and turned away, instead I was welcomed and just told to work as hard as I could and its certainly starting to pay off. There's some serious challenges here, as there are in anywhere, but you just have to keep working and plugging away - the best advice I got when I moved here was 1) work as hard as you can and 2) be nice to everyone. It's pretty simple advice, and can be quite challenging to do in the music business, but if you can follow that recipe I believe you'll be successful.
Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs is now a four piece - how did you all come together to begin playing music?
Well after I put out the album then I started auditioning players. The problem was we didn't have a practice space. At the time we were all living in studios in Cap Hill. My girlfriend had a 1-bedroom apartment so to us that might as well been a mansion, so she was kind enough to let us commandeer her living room once a week for rehearsal. The name actually came about because her apartment was sandwiched in the middle of her building so everyone could hear us. Whenever we'd take a smoke break out behind her building, everyone that would come outside would comment on that "noise upstairs" that they were hearing, sometimes kindly, sometimes not so much.
Last year, you released your debut album, The Beautiful and the Damned. What inspired the album?
It was originally just going to be a demo to get my new solo material out there, but I had such a large collection of unreleased songs that I decided to make a full-length album. Half of the songs were written after I moved to Denver, but the other half span about 10 years of my career and are songs that never quite made it onto albums or EP's I recorded with other bands. The main inspiration behind the music is a failed relationship and the characters in those stories are kind of these flawed heroes, I love writing about the anti-hero, it makes them seem more real. Also, I can't take credit for that title, F. Scott Fitzgerald can.
Now that it has been out for over a year, what on The Beautiful and the Damned are you the most proud of?
In all seriousness, probably that I was able to finish the album and turn a lot of negative past experiences into something positive. I've always said I was never too concerned about other people loving the album, I didn't really do it for them, I did for me. It was really a way to exorcise some demons, let go of the past and be able to stop drinking whiskey on the floor by myself every night - as cliche as that sounds.
Have you been working on any new music lately? What can listeners expect for the future from Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs?
We're currently working on a new EP which should be out early next year sometime. It's still in the early stages, but the plan is to start working with Tyler Glasgow and the whole team over at Streetlight Audio. In the meantime, I've started a couple different video web series. I post a lot of videos of me covering songs from artists we perform with, those are all on Instagram and Youtube. We also started to have touring bands crash at our house in exchange for performing a song in the morning, sort of a "Play-to-Stay" type deal. We also make them breakfast, my girlfriend makes amazing Huevos Rancheros with homemade green chili, so we might have to call it "The Huevos Sessions at Rouch Ranch" or something. The first band we hosted was the Dirty Bourbon River Show from Louisana, the next one we plan to host is Esther Rose and her group, she's on the bill with us at the Gothic opening for Pokey LaFarge.
You have quite a few shows coming up throughout the rest of August and into October, including one at The Gothic on September 19th and one at Summit Music Hall on October 13th! What are you the most excited for on these upcoming shows?
Yeah, this will be our first time at the Gothic and Summit. I was beyond excited to get those shows confirmed, as a musician that's whole reason why you do this, all the hours of practice, all the long hours, all the rejection, endless gigs - to be able to walk out onto a stage like the Gothic or Summit makes it all worth it, it is the best feeling in the entire world, pure unbridled joy.
What can fans expect from these upcoming live performances?
Energy. I know that's probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think folk-country, but we never take a show off, I'm usually ready to pass out after we perform, we give every show our all, we're sincere, honest and passionate about the music we make and I think that comes through in the performances.
If someone is seeing you guys live for the first time in the coming months, what would you like them to take away from a live show?
I'd like them to think 'wow, those guys are really enjoying themselves up there, they're really into their music.' These days there seems to be so much emphasis on image and looking cool and making music that's trendy and we never wanted to be like that, we play the music that we want to play, because at the end of the day, we didn't get into music because of the way someone dressed or what their stage production was like, it was because they wrote incredible songs that you couldn't ignore, they really believed in what they were doing.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Absolutely, thanks for having me! I want to say that I'm very grateful to be a part of the music scene in this city. There's so many great musicians and bands here, it's really a thriving community, so to anyone who's interested in getting involved in the local scene, either as a musician or concert-goer, please do, support these bands, there's something for everybody!