Why I Made "Kiss The Enemy"

I was half way through recording the EP when this question hit me one day. Why am I making this ep? Immediately I justified my work to myself by saying that I finally had the time, resources, and musicians to make something. But these were really just favorable circumstances, not legitimate reasons for making music. 

I haven’t officially released anything in something like 6 years. The last “real” project I did of my own music was “Strangers”, the album my wife and I released under the name Trees of Lyres right after we got married. We played a lot of shows in the the northwest but then... we got pregnant with our daughter Bella. This was the best thing that ever happened to us, and it was the still the best thing that could happen to us when our second daughter Imogen was born, and again when our son Noah was born. Around the time we found out we were pregnant with Bella we decided to move to Austin. Then we decided I should go back to school. So I went back to school and taught guitar/flipped burgers/raised support  did odd jobs to pay the bills and to feed our ever expanding brood. Its been a crazy few years. In the last six years I’ve also had the privilege to record and produce five or six of my friends eps. Each one has been a unique challenge and its own unique kind of fun. All along I kept talking about how I was going to “soon” begin working on my own project. But I never did. I told myself it was because I didn’t have the time, resources, or musicians to really make something. But these were really just unfavorable circumstances, not legitimate reasons for not making a record.

So why did I make this record? Because I forgot how to.

That might sound a bit melodramatic, and it probably is but let me explain anyway. As I started the project I realized I’d forgotten how to be disciplined in working on my music. I don’t really have this problem when I’m recording other musicians but it nearly kicked my butt on this ep. I was so eager to try out all the things I’d been thinking of for the last six years that the songs got away from me pretty quickly. Way too many instruments on songs, disorganized sessions, no game plan. It was a mess. I made the ep at night from 8-12 after our girls went to sleep. We also had a newborn. I was a bit overwhelmed. But slowly I found my footing, I learned to kill the bad or superfluous ideas, I relearned how to do the work, I learned that I really could do the work.

 I think the ep reflects the manic, learning approach I ended up taking to make the ep. The songs are all pretty different in their sounds (or so I’m told). Even the artwork reflects this. I didn’t connect this until everything was completed, but the overlapping pictures/versions of me on the cover are a pretty decent representation of what’s going on in the ep and what it was like to make the ep.

These five songs are the best songs I think I’ve written over the last six years. They are songs I needed to get out of my system before I could start working on newer songs. They had become so connected to dreams and ideas I had about making music that I couldn’t do anything else until I finally sat down and recorded them. Making this ep was a lot of fun. It was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done artistically. I am grateful for everyone who supported the kickstarter and made it possible for me to finally release some music. They helped remove all my excuses so I could finally address the reasons I hadn’t released any music in a long time. They helped me keep my head. Thanks for reading and if you go listen to the ep at www.mattoakes.bandcamp.com thanks for listening!


Posted on March 4, 2014 .

Kiss The Enemy Releases Today!

I'm happy to tell you that you can now hear and purchase my new EP "Kiss The Enemy"!

Thanks to everyone who supported the project through kickstarter! Thank you Joanie Oakes, Kelsey Shields, Matt Irving, Jim Echels, and Trevor of Doom for playing on the EP. Thanks Dave Wiley for producing and mixing "Across the Sea" and thanks Chris Graham for mastering the project. Thank you to my kids, Bella, Imogen, and Noah for learning to sleep through daddy recording late at night.

To get Kiss The Enemy, go to www.mattoakes.bandcamp.com or use the embedded player below to listen and purchase!

Posted on March 4, 2014 .

The Kickstarter Reached Its Goal!


The kickstarter has reached its goal! I'm so grateful for the support that will allow me to make this ep! Our son was born last thursday, but things were calm enough last night I was able to work on the ep. Its going to sound great. There is still time for you to pledge and get some sweet rewards for the next 9 days. "But if the project has funded why would I pledge?" you may ask.  Here's why:

1. Sweet Rewards: I'd still love to make you brisket, write you a song, play a show at your house, or get you one of the sweet prints ben roberts has made. I'm excited about the rewards and I think you'll like them.

2. All the extra money will go into our studio, The Root Cellar. It won't go towards a cruise, designer plaid, or a beach house. Our studio exists to help artists make great music who might not otherwise have a chance to. We do this by being super affordable, not charging an hourly rate so artists can be more relaxed while recording, and developing artists through coaching, songwriting, and production. A few of the artists we've worked with include Dane Gudde, Kelsey Shields, and City Life Music  (Check them out!) The pledges we receive above the initial goal will help myself and other artists make great music with the Root Cellar!

Thanks again for your support I can't wait to share my EP with you!




Posted on October 15, 2013 .

New Video for "Til the Day I Do"

Here is one of my newer songs "Til the Day I Do". It's one of my favorites. 

I was 22 when I married Joanie. I got my first real job 1 week before we got married. I didn't have a car, credit, or much of a plan. When I look at Matt-at-22 I can't help but think "that guy is an idiot". The only thing I really got right was marrying Joanie. But more than not having a plan, I had no clue what it meant to love my wife.  No one is ever ready to get married. You're never ready to give all of yourself to someone all of the time. The only way you ever learn how to is by having to do it. This song is about the poor way I unknowingly loved Joanie at the beginning of our marriage, how our love has grown up, and my promise to keep learning how to really love her. 


This song will be on my EP coming in January.  Preorder it through kickstarter here: 

Posted on October 9, 2013 .

Behind the Scenes with Kickstarter Rewards: Brisket

So we've got 22 days left in the kickstarter campaign, and I thought I'd give you a little "behind the scenes" of my favorite reward I'm offering: a smoked brisket. The brisket should start out between 12-14lbs and you can feed about 20-30 people with it (depending on appetites) 

Here's how I make it: 

I trim up and season a raw brisket. Usually very early in the morning. My rub is made up of salt, pepper, garlic, and coffee. You leave a good deal of fat on it, because over the course of the 12 hours that it will be smoking, the fat renders down into the meat, making it tender and moist. 

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Then I get the smoker going. I've been using hickory wood for a long time, though I'll probably switch to oak soon. The brisket smokes at around 185 for 12 hours.  Halfway through I wrap it in foil.



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After around 12 hours it comes off and looks like this:  


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So that's how the brisket is made. I think it pretty good too. If you' like me to make a brisket for you, and want to help me release my new EP visit the kickstarter  and back the project!

Posted on October 2, 2013 .

New Video for Last Night

Here is a new video for Last Night. This video was filmed by Andrew Prewitt.  

Last Night will be one of the songs on the new EP. If you like it share it with your friends and check out the kickstarter to pre-order the EP and get some sweet rewards.  

Posted on September 27, 2013 .


Today we are launching the kickstarter for my new EP "Kiss the Enemy". I'm excited for the oppurtunity to share more about the songs and reasons for making this ep. Check it out here:


Over the next few weeks I'll release some new videos of songs from the EP, play a show or two, and share more about the recording process. We might even have a baby. 

I'm especially excited about the rewards. My friend Ben Roberts has created an awesome print for project. Here are the plates:


Other rewards included an online show, original songs written for you, and most importantly smoked meats.  

Make sure to check out the project and watch a video explaining what's behind the ep.  And if you like what you hear, share it with your friends!




Posted on September 25, 2013 .

A little bit about "Across the Sea"

So recently I released a new song called Across the Sea. Please download it for free below! We actually recorded this almost a year ago. Our good friend Dave Wiley produced and engineered it. He was awesome to work with, this was easily the most relaxing recording experience we've ever had. Our friends Trevor of Doom and Jim Echels played bass and drums (respectively) and Joanie (my wife) played piano and sang. 

The song was recorded in a number of different environments, for instance the drums and guitars were recorded in a large warehouse. 


And the piano and vocals were recorded in the comfort of our old living room. 


We had a blast recording this and I really appreciate all the hard work Joanie, Dave, Trevor, and Jim put into this song. 

This song is the story of a criminal who has recently completed his sentence and who is now being pursued by a member of his old "gang" (crew, posse, band of unmerrymen, etc.) who is attempting to get him to return to his life of crime.The story follows the ways the protagonist attempts to stay out of trouble, and the eventual extreme measures that must be taken to guarantee that he does not return to a life of crime. Its a story about how we do things we hate doing. 

Download it for free here, and stay tuned for more news. This week is gonna be a big week! 


Posted on September 23, 2013 .

New Video for "Low"

I'm excited to share the first of a few acoustic videos I did recently. This first one is for my song Low. It was shot and edited by Andrew Prewitt. We shot it in my backyard and I'm really grateful for the great job Andrew did on it.

A little about the song "Low": I wrote this 5 years ago when we were living in Oregon. I wrote  as we ( my former band Trees of Lyres)  were finishing our first record. It took awhile to finish but ever since I wrote it I have know I've wanted to have it as the first song on whatever project I recorded next. 5 years later it is finally happening. "Low" will be the first song on my new EP "Kiss the Enemy" coming in January. Stay tuned for how you can support the EP. Also if you haven't yet, make sure to download "Across the Sea" for free from noisetrade!


Posted on September 10, 2013 .

New Site!

Welcome to my new site! I'm excited to be sharing more of my music with you over the next few months. Make sure to check out the video for "Low" shot by Andrew Prewitt and to download my song "Across the Sea" (produced and recorded by Dave Wiley) from Noise Trade for free.  

Stay tuned for more videos, shows and a new EP! 


Posted on September 2, 2013 .