We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Fosket and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
For me, balance is something I look for on a larger scale than simply day to day. I am not a full time songwriter, I am also a Sommelier. I have to find a balance between writing music, and pushing that side of my life, while at the same time building my Sommelier career. I find however, that I am less productive trying to balance both passions simultaneously, I end up doing neither thing very well. What I’m working towards is this. When the muse shows up, I engage myself entirely in songwriting. On January 6th I started working on a song, and by February 14th I had written a complete record. I would wake up at 6 every morning, write until I had to go to work, and then come home and keep working. The last thing I want to do in a situation like that is shut off the valve, before everything has come out of the hose. Once that season of writing comes to an end, I can set that down and start working on what’s next. Right now I’m helping a friend of mine open a restaurant in Oregon, and again it takes my entire focus. I wake up as early as I can and work on his wine list, his cocktail program, and how his dining room will run. I will go up there for a month to help him open, and then once I can step away, I will work on getting my record recorded and released. I used to compartmentalize between my “pipe dream” and my “day job”, but I get older I’m learning that the two can exist cohesively. And, there is actually something really compelling about that.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
There are certainly pros and cons to be an artist that is essentially unknown. I don’t think the cons have to be explained in too much depth, but the pros are interesting. It is easy to see the difficulty in creating, when there is demand and expectation from outside sources. Presently, I can be patient, and wait for the muse to show up. If it shows up, I can chase it down any rabbit hole that it wants to go. For example, my latest batch of songs are written trying to understand human’s appeal to the occult and welcomeness to write off reality for the belief in fantasy. Musically, I’m trying to find some kind of through line between “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust,” and Lennon’s “Imagine.” It’s abstract and strange, but there is a freedom in knowing that no one is breaking down my door for demos. I can work through that process, and if nothing comes from it, fine. But I also may find something, just by letting myself be open and receptive.
For me it’s less of a challenge of process, and more of a challenge of finding peace. Somehow a desire to have successes as a songwriter has always equated to not having a day job. And somehow, those two things couldn’t peacefully co-exist. I think I’ve finally moved past that, and accepted the idea that not everyone’s roads look the same, and they certainly don’t all go in the same direction.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First of all, we are going to eat and drink way too much, but I suppose that’s a given. We’re also going to hike a lot. Delia’s in Eagle Rock is one of my favorite under the radar spots. If you’re a fan of homemade sopes, and actually handmade everything on the menu, this is the spot for you. We’re definitely going to Ricky’s Fish Tacos in Silver Lake, and we’re definitely having dinner in Koreatown. We’ll start at Jae Bu Do for all the seafood anyone could possibly eat, and then head to Dan Sung Sa for skewers and lots and lots of Soju.
The next morning we’re waking up (as early as possible) and heading to Malibu. My wife and I have a white Miniature Schnauzer, and one of our favorite beaches is Leo Carrillo State Park. Dogs have to stay on leash because the waves can get pretty intense, but it’s a great morning. If we don’t know to make the drive however, we’re headed up the backside of Griffith Park. The trails go on for miles and miles, and the views are just amazing.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When I was 20 years old I walked into a restaurant called that Painted Lady, that was still under construction at the time, in a small town in Oregon. I asked the owners if they needed any help, and Allen Routt and Jessica Bagley hired me to help with getting the restaurant open. Once the restaurant opened, despite my complete lack of experience, they kept me on as a daytime prep cook. Fast forward 14 years, and I was the Wine Director, and managing the dining room. The two of them are exclusively responsible for my career in the restaurant world. Beside them, Ryan Bailey hired me at the NoMad Hotel in DTLA when we moved to LA, and has been an incredible mentor sense.
As a songwriter, I never would have started in the first place if it wasn’t for my wife Rachael Perrell Fosket. When we started dating, I had never finished a song. Looking back I realize it really was as simple as her saying my writing was valid. Maybe not necessary all that good at the time, but worth doing.
Chris Camargo Adam Boyd