Radio has arguably become very predictable these days.
But somewhere between the thumping beats of EDM or the sugary feel-good pop hit, you’ll find Matthew E. White and his particular brand of lush 1970s-inspired soul.
amNewYork chatted with White, 32, about his unique sound, the pressures of the sophomore record and the community that bred this new wave of R&B magic.
Your music has a distinct 1970s vibe to it. Was there ever a conscious decision to be different?
I was really aware that it wasn’t like anything else, [but] it didn’t come from a proactive stance of trying to make something different. That’s just what I grew up listening to. And the whole thing came together [because of] the strengths the community had and how I was able to utilize it. There’s a natural progression to making music like that.
This community you’re referring to centers around your label Spacebomb Records. Talk to me about how this community helped shape your music.
It’s just really a unique group of musicians. It’s a lot of people who are really good at playing their instruments. I’ve truly been lucky to be a part of it. It’s a great place to live and there’s a lot of creative energy there.
Sophomore albums — especially following critically acclaimed debuts such as “Big Inner” — tend to be expectation filled. With “Fresh Blood,” did you feel any pressure when you were writing this album?
I try to be very self-aware and honest with myself and it would be disingenuous for me to say that things hadn’t changed. Certainly the circumstances around how I make music [now] is different than it was with “Big Inner.” But two things ring true for the most part. One, I put more pressure on myself to make something good than anyone can put on me. And then also, I’ve been handed this opportunity to make a record. It’s something you always dream about. You don’t know if it’s ever going to happen again. So for 99% of the time you’re just thankful for having the opportunity and you’re having too much fun to feel too much pressure around it.
If you go: Matthew E. White is at Baby’s All Right Monday at 8 p.m., 146 Broadway, Williamsburg, 718-599-5800, sold out.