From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Chris Hansen

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

Pond: When people ask about life on the road, they want to hear about the magic, the wild adventures, the spiritual awakening, the triumphant debauchery. Mostly, I just try to stay awake on my driving shifts. The magic is in the motion. It’s not really a shareable whale’s tale—it’s more of a feeling, a sense of having a demented dream and making that dream come to life. Even though I clumsily named the band after myself, the crux of the operation is collaboration. Interacting and arranging through rehearsals, and then bringing all those instruments and voices onstage to play as intensely as possible. (That is the dream.)

And we are close, real close. We go overboard, beyond the edges of intimacy. We share hotel rooms and backstages. We have insomnia together, we get sick together. There is no real glory except for what we give to the audience and what the audience gives to us. Then back to packing, loading, driving, sneezing, sleeplessness, rock. All as one. Along the way, there will be some stunning nonsense. Dancing all night in Omaha, wrestling in Kansas City with rock ‘n’ roll writers, trusting strangers and their erratic automobiles in Los Angeles, beach fires in Florida, Portland parties, brilliant petty crimes in New York City. Every city has a story. But these are the factual fables we try to keep to ourselves, the hushed and ridiculous histories of me and my bandmates. I’ve had a million musical colleagues. I’ll probably have a couple more before it’s all over.

Chris Hansen has chosen to take a step away from touring. There is that point where he’d like to focus on his stationary shore-life. Things like dinner, family and friends. He’s been to hell and back with me. We’ve lived through desperate downfalls and totally unexpected victories. We have driven each other bonkers, even to that terrible threshold of fisticuffs. But I could not have asked for a better co-conspirator in this entire lifetime. Though he can be the most aggressively passive jerk in the world, he’s the greatest person I’ve ever gotten to know.

Thank you.