Finding Joy In Life and Music; An Interview with Matt Baron of Young Man in a Hurry

Within Matt Baron’s apartment straight in the heart of Chicago is a bedroom that also suits a sound studio. Baron informs me during our phone conversation that he is hard at work putting together twenty-five videos that will be posted on YouTube centering on an education program he participants in known as Future Hits. Since its inception in 2011, Future Hits have focused on creating music for young children shown in academic schools from all over the world. 

Baron’s other project Young Man in a Hurry has released its debut album, Jarvis, at the end of March. Focusing their attention on the substantive lo-fi sounds of the 80s and 90s, Baron, Meyer Horn, Nick Harris, and Teddy Rankin-Parker has shaped the band’s overall approach to deliver a post-modern rock atmosphere. Produced by Brian Deck, Jarvis (the name of a gentleman that Baron has called “the kindest person I’ve ever met”) has been set up to be an album that needs to be listened to again and again. That’s mostly in part due to the various instruments and sounds that have been incorporated in the tracks. One of the tracks on the album “Give Me Patience” is a prime example; soaring guitar riffs seize the electrifying keys throughout the duration. “Larkin” gallops to what is possibly one of the heavier tracks on the album while “Eau Claire” offers a more experimental element to the festivities.

The band hasn’t been officially together for a long time. How long has it been? Maybe less than a year?

Yeah, we have an interesting kind of history. I was at my dermatologist’s (Horn) office and I was chatting him up about music like always. We shared some recent records we had made and I liked what he had done. I then saw he had worked with two people that I have worked with on other records, so I hit him up to just jam; that might have been in the fall of 2016. We brought on Nick and Teddy then started recording Jarvis and tracking it in June 2017. Over the next year and a half, we were able to spend a lot of time in the studio; we brought in all these guest musicians. Young Man didn’t play their first show until I think September ’18, maybe September ’17, I would have to look back at the archives. So we have only played five shows. We got a new lineup about a year ago. It’s kind of a long answer to your question, but we are a three-year-old project but like a brand new project too.

With the work on creating kid’s music already in full swing, did you have any apprehension moving forward with YMIAH?

Yes, but I think it was the guys around me that helped me. I really respect them. Teddy at the time was touring with Iron & Wine and had just gotten off a tour with Primus. He was also guesting with Father John Misty. He had all these high-profile gigs and he was such a champion of these songs. So it was the feedback that I was getting from all these guys around me. David Vandervelde, who I remember hearing about the first time about fifteen years ago. I loved his record and was a fan of his. We became friends over the years and he devoted a lot of time to this record. And there was Brian Deck. If someone told me in my college dorm room looking at the back CD cover of The Moon and Antarctica (Modest Mouse) that later on I would make a record produced and engineered by Brain Deck, I wouldn’t believe them. These people were so encouraging. The more we worked on stuff, the more we realized had something. It took all the apprehension out of the window.

The album lyrically from what I have read and listened to feels that there’s an inner monologue of life being conducted. There’s the give and take—the pull of growing and wanting to live passionately without forgetting anything. Am I wrong to say that?

I am always curious to see how other people interpret the lyrics because they are written in bursts. Then I can trace the meaning looking backward, which is fun to me. A lot of the times even the songs are musically and lyrically written in one run, and out of nowhere. If there had been a fourth single it would have been “Tired of the Telephone.” The opening lyric was written about waiting for a message or call back from an unrequited love and just staring at the phone and waiting for it. Again it takes on a whole new paradigm today because, like everyone else, I imagine I’m on my device way more than I’m used to. So I’m needing to set new boundaries and structures around that time.  

I think you’re right; time is a big overarching theme of the record both overtly with some of the lyrics and with some of the musical landscapes; there’s a lot of evocation or time passing at different speeds. 

When I was reading about you, I discovered that your father is a musician. Is that what inspired you to be a musician as well?

That’s a good question. He would blast jazz music in the house when I was a kid. I’m thankful for that now because I don’t think I would be a huge fan of listening to jazz if I wasn’t primed for that. I also had an interest in rock and roll, which comes from my mom and her interests. Some of the obvious artists she liked were the Beatles and Cat Stevens. 

As a kid, my parents supported anything I wanted to do with music. I wanted a drum set and my mom bought me this crappy drum set. I wanted to play guitar, and they signed me up for lessons. I wanted to see New Kids on the Block and they got me tickets. They would just really support any musical inclination I had. I remember my dad took me to Record City, which was in Skokie; the two LPs that I walked out with were Tiffany’s self-titled vinyl and Motley Crue “Girls, Girls, Girls” because I had heard that song on the radio. Looking back, it’s not a very appropriate record for a child to walk out with, with the imagery but I loved that song. I didn’t know what it meant. I just loved the melody. It’s fun for me to recount this because I didn’t remember a lot of this until now.   

It’s great that you have parents that had very different tastes in music and be supportive of allowing you to listen to a lot of various artists.

I’m very lucky as I think about it now. My dad still only just listens to jazz in the car (laughs). We were out in California recently, and they have Sirius radio. My fiancé and I put on a 90s rock station in the car and then there was a Phish station we stumbled on. We started blaring Phish in hopes that my dad would like it because it’s a little bit like jazz stylistically. We are still trying to get him to have a different station on other than the Beatles station to appease my mother.

You had your father join in on Jarvis. How rewarding was that for you? It had to feel like it was a full-circle moment.

It was awesome. It was cool to see him standing with Brian looking at the charts and giving him some improvisational direction. Ever since I sent him the masters, he is just so proud of it. He is listening to it and telling his friends about it. I have made a lot of records over the years, but I could tell with Jarvis he enjoys this one. He’s only on one or two of the tracks, so it’s not just because he’s on the album (laughs).

Speaking of Brian, was he an advocate to experiment with sound during the recording of Jarvis?

When Brian and I had our first phone call about the record, the band that I referenced to him was Cloud Nothings. I told him that I wanted to do an eight-song, thirty-minute rock record. We tracked the sessions, but before that, we had a production rehearsal with him. We showed him all of our songs; we were working with twelve with the intention to pick eight. Brian dug them all, which meant so much to me.  We saw that there could be a lot more here, so Brian and I did a bunch of sessions. Those were my favorite days in a way because it was just him and me in this room in his home. At the end of “Tired of the Telephone,” I wanted to hear this Nine Inch Nails kind of thing. He had this World War II canteen in the basement, so he mic’d it and started banging on it for the sound. We were able to actualize something. A lot of the baseline experimentation came from those sessions where it was him and me in his house in the suburbs of Chicago in a beautiful, well-lit room looking out at a bunch of trees. The sounds were cool and sounded right; I probably spitballed five thousand ideas at him and we kept three thousand.  

Does the band have any new music coming down the road? 

I would love to release a split single over the summer or the next few months from a different group of sessions. There are still two tunes from the Jarvis sessions, which according to some of our bandmates might be the strongest songs. 

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