Recipe #5: The Suitcase Junket [Mixtape & Interview]

From Amherst, MA, Matt Lorenz is the one-man-band known as The Suitcase Junket. With a throaty voice, a guitar, and an assortment of cans and other re-purposed percussion items, Lorenz is able coordinate and coax his body into producing heartfelt blues-rock tunes that originate, despite the odds and ends he is surrounded by, inside the man. The one-man setup is no mere gimmick, and is executed with such skill, precision, and passion that it can easily be forgotten that there is indeed only one man running the show. With such a spectacle on stage, it’s a pleasant surprise for some that the real entertainment comes from Lorenz’s honest and intimate songwriting. His latest work and third full-length album, Make Time, was released in January of this year.

For the 5th installment of our Recipes series, Lorenz put together a strikingly organic collection of music from the likes of Tom Waits, tUnE-yArDs, Denney and The Jets, The Kinks, and more. From blues, to folk, to classic rock, the strongest collective thread within the track list is that we can certainly hear Lorenz’s taste throughout. Wanting to know a little bit more about exactly that, we asked a few questions to The Suitcase Junket himself, and we’re excited to share the answers with you here. Enjoy the music while you enjoy the insight.

What drives you to make music? I’ve always been drawn to music and I’d be a pretty miserable human without it, but I imagine what drives me is probably the same big mystery that drives a lot of creators: the ongoing pursuit to make some small and, if possible, beautiful sense of the world.

What artistic or logistical factors informed your choice to perform as a “one man band” rather than with a group? This one-man-band project spun out of a group and I very much enjoy playing music with other people and continue to do so.  What keeps me at the solo thing is a sort of personal challenge to make one person sound as big as possible without any loopers or effects, combined with a certain affliction whose symptoms include tinkering, systems, simple machines and assemblage.  It’s all for fun.  I’ll keep doing it till it stops being fun.

How has your creative process changed since you first started writing music? I suppose I’ve refined it over the years, but a lot of my process is based on chance and the expansion of error or blunder.  After years of developing a creative practice, I am now a bit quicker to identify the different channels of inspiration and how best to guide them into the material world.  As in, “Oh, you’re THAT type of idea, OK, I know what to do with you, I’ll dig a hole, put you in it, pour booze all over you and check back in a couple weeks.”  (It’s actually a rare one that requires that treatment.  Often it’s more of a pin-it-it-down-and-dissect-it-with-tweezers situation, or a get-it-in-a-book-with-ink-then-smash-said-book-with-head-till-osmosis-occurs kind of operation.)

What sources of inspiration do you draw from outside of music that affect the way you write and perform? Nature is the big one, after that it’s other people, (both the wild and the drone-like) long drives with no one to talk to, some drawings, paintings, sculpture, dusk, altered states.  Lots of things.  I continue to be surprised by where and when inspiration decides to present itself.  It’s a sneaky little beast.

Is there a work of art (of any medium) that stands out in your memory as being particularly influential for you? Pretty much everything by Andy Goldsworthy sets me on fire and when I first saw his work I felt oddly ancient and tragically modern.

Check out one of our favorite tunes by The Suitcase Junket: “Earth Apple”

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“A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.” — Pat Conroy