Matt Pond PA is a New York-based band formed in Philadelphia by singer-songwriter Matt Pond. They have released eight LPs and eight EPs since 1998.
Pond has been the only consistent member, although Chris Hansen is considered to be a core member of the group.
In the studio, they often collaborate with other musicians including former members to achieve their diverse instrumentation and expansive sound. In recent years, Pond and Hansen have produced the recordings from a cabin in Bearsville, New York.
The son of a minister, Pond grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire, and graduated in 1988 from Hanover High School, which proved a major influence on his music and lyrics. His first instruments were French horn and trumpet. He began teaching himself guitar in college, which materialized as his own unique brand of "professionally awkward" playing. Soon, he started playing in bands. His first two shows were opening for Superchunk and Bikini Kill.
Their debut Deer Apartments (1998) gained them recognition in CDNow's "Unheard?" competition for unsigned artists that same year. These first albums feature guitarist/bassist Josh Kramer, cellist Jim Hostetter, and drummer Sean Byrne.
Measure (2000), the first of three albums produced by Brian McTear, garnered comparisons to the Cure, showcasing a shifting agglomeration of acoustic guitar, cello, violin, French horn, flute, bass, and drums.
A third album (and the band's first release for Polyvinyl Record Co.), The Green Fury, was released in spring 2002. Now joined by cellist Eve Miller (Rachel's), it melded orchestral-type arrangements over pop songs much as their previous records had, however, their solidification as a full-fledged band was beginning to emerge.
The band returned with their fourth full-length, 2002's The Nature of Maps, marking the band's third release in two years. Although Pond remained the primary songwriter of the group, The Nature of Maps began a more holistic, collaborative process with each band member contributing heavily to the songwriting process.
In 2003, Pond relocated to Brooklyn and reformed the band with Miller, Brian Pearl, Will Levatino and Dan Crowell for the recording of Emblems, released on Altitude Records in May 2004. The album was produced by Louie Lino who also helmed the follow-up, Several Arrows Later, in 2005. These albums present a more immediate and rocking expression of Matt Pond PA's music.
Like the previous album, Last Light was recorded at the legendary Bearsville Studios near Woodstock, New York, where Hansen was an engineer. It would be the last album recorded at the famed studio. Co-produced by Grammy nominee John O'Mahoney (Coldplay, The Strokes), Last Light features a list of guest contributors that includes Neko Case, Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith) and Mike Stroud (Ratatat).
For The Dark Leaves, Pond holed himself up in a cabin in Bearsville, New York, with producer Chris Hansen. The intimate nature of the sessions commenced a very productive period for the pair. The Dark Leaves was released in 2010, and additional material from those cabin sessions found its way onto several EPs, including the free digital release Auri Sacra Fames and The Threeep, a series of three limited edition 7" singles whose sleeves fit together to form a cube.
"Somehow EP's are less stressful. We don't have to be as cautious -- which helps make them freer than our albums. We left the door open while making our last EP. We let in all the ambient noise -- the scratches, the chirps, the hiccups." - Matt Pond
During this time, Pond and Hansen composed the score for the film Lebanon, PA starring Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town) and Samantha Mathis (American Psycho).
A relentlessly touring band, Matt Pond PA has performed with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Neko Case, Nickel Creek, Keane, Mick Jones, Mae, Youth Group, Guster, and Liz Phair.
The band's music has been included in the soundtrack for the Fox television program The O.C., specifically cover versions of Oasis' "Champagne Supernova" and Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane over the Sea". Their song "Wild Girl" was in the TV series Chuck in the episode "Chuck vs. the Wookie." In November 2010, the song "Snow Day" off their Winter Songs EP was featured in Starbucks commercials for the company's "Buy one holiday drink, get one free" promotion and seasonal beverage advertisements. The band's song "Specks" has been included in the soundtrack for the movie The Vow (2012) starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. "Love to Get Used" appeared in the 2013 film Delivery Man.
After fronting the band he shared a name with for over a decade, Pond dropped the "PA" from his performing name in late 2012. Working again with collaborator Chris Hansen, Pond recorded the first album to be issued under his own name, The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand, released in early 2013.
"I think I just write a ton of songs, for some reason or another. In one way, I feel lucky and in some ways it's like a burden. I never really thought I'd do this be a musician. I thought I'd be some kind of lazy history professor, so this is a weird thing. I just keep writing songs and keep the best ones and throw out the clunkers. I mean, we might come out with another album this year. I don't know. You gotta get some kind of ... It becomes how you live your life. When you make an album, you go on tour and all of that, so it's part of my life. I just don't know anything else." - Matt Pond
Matt Pond - vocals, guitar,
Chris Hansen - guitar, vocals,
Tierney Tough - keys, vocals,
Tre Hester - bass, vocals,
Ranson Vorpahl - drums