He may be going under a different brand name these days, but Matt Pond is still chasing after the same things. The self-titled debut LP from his latest band, the Natural Lines, is the fully realized result of some lengthy interactions between various friends and collaborators. As a living, breathing entity, the Natural Lines are less a seismic departure from Matt Pond PA than a vehicle for a more lush, sophisticated, melody-driven sound. All told, this is Pond’s catchiest batch of tunes since his lone solo album, 2013’s The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand.
The Natural Lines’ core studio lineup included longtime Pond cohort Chris Hansen (guitar, bass, keyboards, sax) and Hilary James (cello, vocals), as well as Hansen’s wife Sarah (horns) and brother Sean (drums, bass). There are contributions from drummer Kyle Kelly-Yahner, keyboardist Louie Lino and vocalists Kat and MJ Murphy. Pond’s partner, Anya Marina, also sings.
“I changed the name (of the band) because I changed the way I think about what I’m doing,” says Pond. “I’m trying to make something that’s more focused, less frustrating. While I believe in the music I’ve written up until this point, I think I finally know who I am.”
The video for “Artificial Moonlight,” a standout track on The Natural Lines (Bella Union), was shot over a few hot summer nights with a skeleton crew and some close friends. “In the video, in the song and in real life, we keep chasing this dream of making music,” says Pond of the general theme.
Director Jesse Dufault initially began shooting along Pine Road in New Paltz, N.Y. “But the police shut us down because we had an SUV with a generator and two big stage lights attached to the roof rack pointing back at the convertible,” says Pond. “They said they could see us from miles away—a moon thief chasing an earthbound spaceship.”
Pond built the moon for the video in his backyard. “I wanted a two-dimensional, basement-theater moon—something straight out of Waiting For Guffman,” he says.
The second night, they returned to Pond’s adopted hometown of Kingston, N.Y., to finish filming. “We clipped cameras to the car and used mostly ambient light,” says Pond. “Nobody at the QuickChek (convenience store) cared; none of the cops in town cared. All around us were flashes of lightning from an imminent storm—better than any special effects we could’ve imagined.”
MAGNET is proud to premiere the video for “Artificial Moonlight.” Check it out now.