Friday, April 6, 2007

Classical Electric Guitar: Matthew Nichols

Matthew playing

Interview with Matthew

Artist: Matthew Nichols
Medium: Electric Guitar
Location: 14th St. station on the uptown E platform

Matthew is from Chappaqua, Westchester (that’s upstate NY) and has been studying classical acoustic guitar since before college. He migrated to electric guitar, though, when his “neighbor was threatening to kill [him]” for making noise all night because he could play it with headphones.

Although he started in upstate New York and is now in the City, Matthew has moved around a million times in between and held a variety of jobs. Matthew attended grad school in Milwaukee for steel string guitar but dropped out (and clearly doesn’t need it), lived “in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania” where he was a garbage man, lived in his car in San Francisco, spent time living in Las Vegas, and eventually returned to upstate NY where he had a “shit job” at a hardware store. It was at his latest stop in upstate NY that he found his true calling. Although Matthew’s friend had asked “why don’t you go play in the train station?” when he was in San Francisco, it wasn’t until he got sick of his job at the hardware store that he decided to give it a shot. So far he’s been giving it a shot for 3 years.

When asked if he likes playing on the street Matthew has this to say:

“when the money’s good I love it, when the money’s not good I hate it. But it’s not only the money. People may think, you know, well, only money makes you happy…but if there’s a crowd around you…and they’re saying you’re the best thing since sliced bread, you know, you feel the love.”

While Matthew enjoys playing for happy crowds in public, he also does gigs – in fact he’s got one coming up in June with Neil Mongrane, a Youtube legend. However, although he likes to play gigs, Matthew finds them a bit of a hassle because you have to get people to show up. Instead, Matthew uses them as more of a supplement to street performing by doing fewer gigs and making them into real events.

Aside from being a great place to perform, Matthew also loves New York because it is a great place to learn. He says he loves the city because there are a lot of great people with whom to study and collaborate as well as access to shows. Although Matthew’s friend avoids this aspect of New York in an attempt to keep his music original, Matthew is happy to take advantage of what New York culture offers and goes to shows all the time.

Like what you hear? Check out
Matthew’s influences - Michael Hedges, Bach, Neil Brauer, Erik Mongrain
His website -

Really like what you hear? Hire Matthew


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