Matt Pond just remembered it’s Mother’s Day, and he nearly forgot to make that sacred phone call. The slip is justified. There’s a lot on the mind of the namesake behind the New Hampshire-via-Pennsylvania-via–New York chamber-pop outlet Matt Pond PA. Not only is his band in the final-week stretch of their ten-year anniversary tour supporting their celebrated 2005 album Several Arrows Later, but Matt Pond PA have a bigger issue: They’ve just been robbed.
“I almost don’t want to think about it. We’ve just got so many things to do — it just goes on and on,” said Pond, calling in from Chicago. His band played Lincoln Hall the night before (in a performance Pond refers to as one of the tour’s best), only then to find that their computers, passports, personal writings, and money had been stolen.
“I’ve yet to talk to everybody [in the band] this morning, so after I get off the phone with you, we’re going to have a bloody mary and figure it out,” he says, exhausted. “They’re alive, and not to sound like a hippie or too sentimental, but I love these people.” The band has set up a crowdfund to raise the $12,000 in damage, and as of May 13, they’ve raised over $8.5K in donations.
Although this theft has been a disheartening invasion of their privacy and a strenuous setback, Matt Pond PA pick up and move on. It’s not like these twelve tracks off Arrows are going to celebrate themselves, and due to their relentless releasing of new music (a new Matt Pond PA album titled The State of Gold is expected to arrive June 30), some of these treasured tracks might never see the stage light of day again.
“It’s crazy — we probably won’t play some of these songs again. I wrote these songs within a mile or two from the Bowery Ballroom,” he says. The May 15 gig will be the closest to a homecoming show for Pond, and the thought of playing out this album one last time among his family and friends occasions a light anxiety.
“I don’t know — it’s really strange. My mind races and it almost blacks out when I play because I am thinking about these things that I’m saying and sometimes it’s just too much — you start flashing out,” he says. “There’s no way you can do this without experiencing the whole thing over and over again.”
Reliving 2005 might seem nightmarish for anyone today found in the then–target demographic for the neo–soap opera The O.C., which gave the band their biggest boost when their cover of Oasis’s “Champagne Supernova” was featured on its highly revered soundtrack. For Pond, it’s a throwback to a small, green room in Greenpoint.
“It was my favorite place to sleep in my entire life,” he says of the spot where he wrote Arrows. “I had the windows entirely blacked out and would sleep [with a] sleep mask, ear plugs, and a noise machine. I would not know what time it was, or where anything was, and would just wake up and write as much as I could. Walk, write, sleep — that’s all I did. And it was pretty much my love and connection to New York City that was happening as I was writing it. There was no separation from anything.”
Continuing on, he says, “People are motivated and ambition isn’t frowned upon [in New York]. Experiencing that…the songs wouldn’t stop sometimes. It was kind of too much for me. I still get lost on the subway.” (Pond has left the city and currently resides in upstate Kingston.)
On the next page: “After we figure out our move, that’s probably what we’re going to do — it’s in the lyrics!”
In 2014, to coincide with the ten-year anniversary of their 2004 record Emblems, Matt Pond PA ventured out on the road in a similar fashion. It’s not that Pond can’t seem to shake the past, but that he can’t give up on presenting the album in its proper long-play form.
“I like to write albums; I don’t like to write songs,” he explains. “I know people might not get past the fourth or fifth track in this modern world, but I’m still going to do it because that’s what I want to do. I think that the arc of an album — if you get it right — is probably the greatest thing.”
The only mention of Matt Pond PA found in the online Village Voice archives that revolve around this time period is a blurb describing the June 30, 2006, concert in Prospect Park with TV on the Radio, and even though it’s been a decade, Pond recalls the show fondly.
“It was kind of rainy but it was a perfect day. I don’t think there was anything heavy about that day. I made a lot of inappropriate jokes — I know that I enjoyed making them,” he says. “It’s weird: I think of these times when there was nothing to worry about and I wasn’t worried about anything on that day. It felt good. I wish I could bottle that and drink that right now, but that’s not possible.”
And alas he can’t, and neither can any of us who look back at 2005 as if it were some distant romance. I don’t think I want to think about it, from the Arrows single “So Much Trouble,” is a lyric that comes to mind when discussing the irretrievability of the past — and that current, infuriating theft. And with that, maybe, comes a little solace.
“After we figure out our move, that’s probably what we’re going to do,” he says in regard to the reference, before breaking into a laugh. “It’s in the lyrics!”
Matt Pond PA will perform their 2005 record Several Arrows Later in its entirety at the Bowery Ballroom on May 15 with Oxford, Mississippi’s Young Buffalo opening the show. Tickets can be found here.