Gimme Your Answers (Beyond the Stage): An Interview w/ Matthew Sartain

Ever wonder what happens beyond the stage? Well we do. These roadies, managers, guitar techs, lighting directors, A&R, and even positions you may not have known about make the music you love come alive! We caught up with Matthew Sartain to take us behind the scenes of our favourite bands!

AMBY: How did you first get into your industry?

MS: I kind of stumbled into it, I started helping out a friends band. Mainly for the love of their music-it was a way of going to the shows for free. Then I gradually started working for bigger bands and getting paid to do it. Now its a job that seems to take up nearly all my time and I love it.

AMBY: Explain to people what you do.

MS: I am what’s commonly known as a “roadie”, (the guy who, usually wearing a black, hands the musicians guitars/basses in between songs. The guy who you have to be nice to if you want a set list) you might also hear ” backline tech” or “guitar tech”, I set up, maintain and pack down the artist’s equipment. For example, right now, with Two Door Cinema Club, I look after Kevin the bass player Ben the session drummer & Alex’s keyboard.

AMBY: Which bands are you currently working with and which have previously worked with?

MS: Right now I’m with Two Door Cinema Club, but have spent the last couple years with Friendly Fires whilst doing bits in between. Other bands I’ve worked for are The Maccabees, The Joy Formidable, The Xcerts,The Paddingtons, Paul Steel.

AMBY: What is the craziest thing to happen to you while touring?

MS: I can’t think of one thing in particular that has stood out (not one that I can talk about in this interview anyway.) But I do have to pinch myself sometimes to check I’m actually not dreaming.

AMBY: What do you do for fun while on tour?

MS: Send postcards to friends and family or find some way to wind up one of the other crew members-usually our lighting designer.

AMBY: What is the best and worst thing about your gig?

MS: Best: getting to travel the world with great people that make me laugh every day without fail. Worst: missing my family and friends and not being able to have a real committed home life.

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

MS: Sigur Rós- Takk, The Strokes- Is This It?, The Xcerts- In The Cold Wind We Smile.

AMBY: Where is the best spot to eat on tour?

MS: It really depends on which country I’m in. Any where that sells a burrito will be my first port of call though.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about you that nobody knows yet?

MS: I’m a Formula 1 addict.

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Thank you very much Matthew, for giving me your answers!

Alicia Atout

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