Track-By-Track W/ The Sometimes Island: Bad People EP

“Depending on the water level, the islands are either emerging from the surface teeming with life, or submerged and hidden, waiting to be reborn.”

And sometimes you name your music project after those random “sometimes islands” in the middle of Lake Travis located near your hometown of Austin, TX…and that’s exactly what Matt Blankenship Jr. did. Because all things in this life – love, the weather, music, White House Chiefs of Staff – are pretty much like those islands: subject to change, so it’s probably best to simply be open to it and go with the flow.

With years of musician experience behind him and now based in Los Angeles, on Friday July 28th came Matt’s aka The Sometimes Island new EP, Bad People: a 7-song collection radiating with summery grooves, electro beats and lyrically fluid songs all written, produced and performed by Matt, himself. It’s all a little delicious and reflective of Matt’s here and now, which is why I asked him to give us a tour of Bad People track-by-track…

Stick To Yer Guns

“Trying to make a chillwave song in the style of Washed Out, I got completely sidetracked and created this instead. It’s so much fun to sing, and the guitar part after the chorus is like playing Guitar Hero on expert. Which means I had to practice it for hours. I gotta say, the lazy summer vibe throughout this song is right in the vibe pocket of The Sometimes Island, it’s like floating on a wakeboarding boat in Austin near the actual ‘sometimes islands.'”

Can’t Move On

“Catchy pop songs are what I tend to write when I’m sad. I was sort of happy with this one early on, but wanted to capture some of that human condition sadness on the recording, because it didn’t come through enough in the raw song. It needed an energy release after the last chorus. No joke, I spent hours and hours making that climactic synth part. I openly cried at my production desk when I finally got it right. The last chord at around 3:10 is probably the most emotional chord I’ve ever recorded with a software synthesizer. Also, it’s healthy to cry.”

Golden Rule

“I’ve covered a lot of ground writing songs since the age of 14, and it’s pretty rare that I write something completely novel. Enter this song. I don’t normally write reggae flavored tunes like this one, and on top of that, this song more or less wrote itself. I was like, ‘Is this done?’ It was so simple…I was confused…there had to be more to it, right? Then I played it live. Oh man. I kind of forgot where I was, and so did the audience… There was this awareness of an infinite depth in between the notes, like being on a space station and looking out at the stars. I decided the song was done.”

Bad People

“I tend to write songs at a brisk walking tempo…when I take important phone calls, I am constantly walking through every room of my apartment. It helps me think clearly. I was taking a walk and the ‘Bad People’ chorus began to take shape…the rest of the song took much more tinkering. I went with lyrics I could effortlessly remember, because I felt if I couldn’t remember something it wasn’t any good. My friend and fellow LA musician Tolliver inspired the last bit, with the crazy falsetto stuff. He does that so well, and I was too inspired by him not to channel my inner Prince.”

*SIDEBAR: Good job on the “last bit” Matt and high fives to Tolliver for the inspiration.*


“‘Succulent’ was originally actually about a succulent, these lovely desert plants that can survive anything and grow in beautiful, fractal patterns. Then I got a puppy dog. I re-wrote it slightly to make it about succulents AND my dog. Then I realized the song was actually about Mother Earth, or rather the womb, and female reproductive organs. You know, Georgia O’Keeffe always resisted the view that she was painting vaginas disguised as flowers, but that’s the beautiful thing about art…it lives in the mind of the audience. So, yes, this song is about succulents…”

Mornings Are The Worst

“Sweet and sour. The lyrics to this song are regretful, but the music is hopeful and naked, like a sunrise. I love juxtaposing lyrical themes and musical feeling. That’s the power of music, things that are difficult to describe with words can be plainly expressed through song. The ‘happy-sad’ herein, it’s the beauty and pain of being alive.”

Wish I Met You Before

“After I wrote ‘Golden Rule’ I wanted to explore that vibe more deeply, because it was so new to me. I was in love while making this song, and it does a great job capturing those feelings. This came together so effortlessly. I was rehearsing it with my band before a big show, and as a goof I pulled my lighter out of my pocket and played the melody with it instead of my fingers. My bandmates at the time, friends-who-are-twins, Trent and Troy, both looked at me like, ‘DUUUDE.’ It sounded so good! Slide guitar with a lighter! No freakin’ way! There it was.”

Lighters, dogs, vaginas…it’s all in there. What more could you want from a summertime EP? You’re welcome.

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