Hi Matt, How’s it going? Tell us a bit about yourself etc
Hey.. I’m Matt Godina and I’m an LA based Music Producer/Songwriter and Session Musician with multiple genre hit songs on the Billboard Music Charts.
How did you get into music? Has guitar always been your go to instrument?
My father was a bass player and he had a few guitars always laying around the house. I was about 12 yrs old when I decided to pick up one of his acoustics. I kinda danced around doing like an Elvis type impersonation with it. He stopped me, and sternly said “why don’t you try and learn to play for real.” Later, he showed me the basic chords that he knew and gave me a chord book to practice with. From there, it became a labor of love to rush home after school and practice for hours at a time. Guitar is definitely my go to instrument
Tell us about your gear? Is it true that tone is always in the fingers? 🙂
For the guitar side of things, it ranges from Godin Guitars to a Fender Strat, Semi Hollow-body Jazz guitar, a P-Bass and a Dunlop Crybaby. I also have an original Roland Jazz Chorus amp from the eighties. On the music production side, I use an MPC 2000XL, Native Instruments Maschine, and a newly acquired Ableton Push 2 to flip samples and drum program. I do believe that tone lies in the fingers yeah. And I think that comes from playing frequently, and being able to command the instrument.
You’ve created some amazing videos on Instagram – Has this become your main output for marketing and being social?
First off thank you for that! It really has allowed me to have a platform to connect with other Artists and Producers. And that in turn, has led to working with some of them both directly and remotely. I’m no stranger to the power of social media. In fact some of my very first tours came through connecting on myspace.
Biggest influence both on the guitar and in music / beats etc
I believe I was about 16 years old and this was back in 1996, I saved up some money and purchased a Larry Carlton VHS lesson tape (no youtube back then btw) It was that tape that really helped expand my mind to the idea of a great tone being key as a guitar player. At the same time, growing up in Southern California I was heavily drawn to the soulful rhythmic G-Funk of West Coast Gangsta rap. One of the main guitar players on those particular albums is a man by the name of Rob Bacon. He will forever remain one of my biggest guitar influences. Obviously other influences would be guys like Hendrix, BB King and George Benson but Rob Bacon’s guitar playing on DJ Quicks records is what really helped me to solidify my voice as a musician.
Tell us about the session world. How did that come about? Is it stressful?
Session World.. It really came about while I was touring with Smooth Jazz artist Brian Culbertson. Just being a part of that tour (side note: the smooth jazz industry is made up of tons of LA industry vets who have played with a who’s who of artists) Constantly being around musicians like that naturally leads to conversations about “this project” or “this artist” and before you know it, you’ve earned their respect as an equal, and you’re being recommended for sessions directly by them.
It can be stressful in the sense that, your job at that very moment is to capture the vision of the Music Producer. So its sometimes necessary to take even your own expertise out of the equation, and do what’s best for the song. On top of that, Artists usually will have an entourage of people with them in the studio, and it can become super distracting.
What’s the key to a great guitar tone if you’re working in the box?
For me, its all about great plugins like Native Instruments Guitar Rig, Line 6 Variax and even Output Portal for some sound design type effects. The benefit of working in the box for me is that I can decide later down the road that I want to either change the FX all together or I might just need to make some minor tweaks to a preset.
Any go-to mixing tips and secrets?
My go to tip would have to be getting the levels right even in the early stages of creating a song. I’m really big on trying to make sure that everything I’m placing in a song first off has a purpose, and then secondly that it gets tucked in appropriately to blend just right.
What are you working on currently?
I’m finishing up production on my first Instrumental Beats Album. Its a blend of ChillHop and Lo-Fi Hip Hop with a heavy West Coast influence. Also, working on various projects for Artists over at Top Dawg Entertainment (Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Zacari) with my Production Team “The ThrowAways” which consists of fellow Producer/Writers Juan Rios (The Game, Royce Da 59, Rick Ross, Common Kings) Serlatheo Quinlan (Lauryn Hill, K-CI & Jojo, Dj Battlecat).
Thanks dude this has been amazing!