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Matt Clark: “Don’t pay attention or be affected by bad reviews”

I’d say take what others say with a grain of salt. Just because somebody has been in the business longer than you doesn’t necessarily mean they know what’s best for you. Early on we listened to advice from managers, etc. that we shouldn’t have. Trust your gut. There are different paths to success. What works for […]

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I’d say take what others say with a grain of salt. Just because somebody has been in the business longer than you doesn’t necessarily mean they know what’s best for you. Early on we listened to advice from managers, etc. that we shouldn’t have. Trust your gut.

There are different paths to success. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. Everyone’s journey will be unique.

Don’t pay attention or be affected by bad reviews. There will always be haters and bitter people. We had a radio DJ in Austin that hated us. He just didn’t like the style we played. You can’t please everybody, nor should you try.


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Matt Clark.

Matt Clark is the vocalist and guitarist for Dead Soul Revival, a hard rock/post-grunge trio from Los Angeles. He is a co-founder of Freakhouse, a band successful in their own right since the mid ’90s.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

My dad was in the Air Force when I was a little kid so we were moving every year or two. My first memories are of living in Germany. Eventually, we ended up in Arlington, Texas which is where I spent most of my childhood. I was bit by the music bug early on. A friend of mine turned me on to KISS when I was in elementary school and my mind was blown. They are still my favorite band.

I got my first guitar when I was about 10. I took lessons from several teachers and really buckled down and got serious when I was about 15. For a while, I was in the school band where I learned about music theory and different styles besides rock.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I think it was really a combination of things. First, it was just the pure enjoyment of playing the guitar and listening to music. Soon after that it was creativity and playing live. I can’t imagine not being in the music industry.

I’m a mixing engineer as well so the production side of things is also very important to me.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Meeting people and seeing places I probably wouldn’t have otherwise is the first thing that comes to mind. There have of course been a lot of crazy situations as well. Playing in a band seems to make you a magnet for those.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There have been shows where the circumstances were right out of Spinal Tap. Sometimes those turn out to be the most fun gigs so it’s important to roll with the punches. One time I got distracted and fell down a flight of stairs right before starting a tour. Kind of funny in retrospect but I felt it for the whole 6 weeks we were out.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My band Dead Soul Revival has been in the studio recording our debut release which has been an awesome experience. Seeing songs come to life from the demo stage is always a lot of fun. We’re a hard rock/post-grunge act by the way.

The idea behind our name is that even if you are at your lowest point in life you still have to believe in yourself. You can rise above your situation.

Scott Freak, my bandmate from Freakhouse, is on the drums and Kendall Clark is playing bass. She also happens to be my wife so this is a really cool opportunity for us. With Dead Soul Revival I’ve taken on the vocal duties as well as playing guitar. I’ve always sung on songwriting demos and of course, background vocals live. But, singing lead vocals is a different ball game. I’ve had to work really hard to get that together to my satisfaction.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity is necessary to expand any art form. We don’t all have the same tastes & backgrounds, and including people from all walks of life forces the industry to broaden its horizons. In fact, if everyone were given equal representation the industry would be limitless.

People are afraid of what they don’t understand, and including more underrepresented groups allows people to relate to them more. We are all after the same things in life, and the “us” vs “them” mentality needs to be erased. Being familiar with different cultures is a step in that direction, and the entertainment industry is in a unique position to make that happen.

Everyone deserves to be seen and heard, and not feel like an outsider. With more diversity in entertainment, more people will feel and be understood. Nobody should feel alone.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

First, I’d say take what others say with a grain of salt. Just because somebody has been in the business longer than you doesn’t necessarily mean they know what’s best for you. Early on we listened to advise from managers, etc. that we shouldn’t have. Trust your gut.

There are different paths to success. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. Everyone’s journey will be unique.

Don’t pay attention or be affected by bad reviews. There will always be haters and bitter people. We had a radio DJ in Austin that hated us. He just didn’t like the style we played. You can’t please everybody, nor should you try.

Don’t feel like you need to take every opportunity that is thrown your way. Embrace the “no.”

Anyone who brings negative energy into your life should be asked to depart your train at the next stop. Life is too short to not be surrounded by positive people.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

It’s important to learn to have balance in your life. That has certainly been a lesson I’ve had to learn. Making time for your family, friends, and interests outside the music industry is really important. If you’re working so hard that it starts to become joyless that’s an awful feeling.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d want to bring music programs back to schools. I know how important music classes were to me when I was a kid and how much I learned. I hate to see kids missing out on that experience.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It would be very difficult for me to pick out one person. There are a lot of people that have helped starting with my parents and family. Bandmates, fans, and friends are certainly right up there. I’m a lucky guy.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When I was a senior in high school my English teacher walked into the room the first day and wrote “respect” on the blackboard. He explained that being respectful of others and them being respectful of you was the key to all relationships. I’ve found this to be not only true but critical to any type of relationship whether it’s business or personal.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Gene Simmons. I’d love to thank him for inspiring me to write songs, be in a band, and work hard.

How can our readers follow you online?

www.deadsoulrevival.com

www.facebook.com/deadsoulrevival

www.instagram.com/deadsoulrevival

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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