On The Road with Matt Tompkins of Electric Six

I recently caught up with Matt Tompkins, the bassist for Electric Six, about a collection of interesting topics pertaining to his interests and hobbies. On top of being part of the E6 family, Matt also does a great job at web design. (The proof being that he recently redesigned the band’s website, as well as Journey of a Frontman!) Matt is currently on the road with Electric Six until October 14th, then they’ll be headed to Europe for a month in 2018. Be sure to see them live, you will not regret it.

What have you taken out of being a member of Electric Six, both in the studio and on the stage?

Being a part of Electric Six has been an immense learning experience, and a great opportunity for personal growth. It’s a fantastic group of dudes who value ongoing positive day-to-day interaction and understand how to best work within the boundaries of the industry. There is a clear idea of bottom line and a reliance on functionality as a group, but with all the room for the fun associated with both touring and time in the studio. I’ve never felt restrained in terms of what I could be allowed to experience while we’re traveling, but have also had a clear idea of what is and isn’t acceptable. I think this level of ubiquitously understood discipline has allowed the band to continue for as long as it has.

With the upcoming tour dates, which venues are you personally looking forward to playing at?

At the risk of sounding too far-sighted, I’m looking forward to February. I feel most elated when I’m overseas, which is in part because of the way we’re received in Europe and in part because I adore being across the pond in a deeply personal way. Every time I get back from a Europe trip, whether touring or otherwise, I find myself counting down the days until I get to go back. I guess at the end of the day I’m a bit of a Europhile. Nobody’s perfect.

How would you describe the audience at an Electric Six show?

As long as I’ve known them (us?), the Six have always had a diverse and accepting crowd of followers. People come out to have a good time, and when we get in front of some crazies that are there to rock out, that energy transfers to the people around them and it transfers up to the stage, for sure. Nothing is better than looking out a crowd that’s really moving. It makes the show so much more rewarding as a performer – particularly when you run the risk of accumulating some complacency with the repetitiveness that professional performing can sometimes bring.

On a tour like this, what are your preferred places to eat at?

Eating all depends. We were in Baltimore and ate at a diner we love to go to that’s right next to the venue called Lost City. It’s a total greasy spoon, the food is great, and it’s 50s sci-fi themed. That’s a spot we’ve been looking forward to for a minute. When we were in NYC, I walked down to Chelsea Market and hit Los Tacos No. 1. I used to work right next to the market and that taco spot is absolute fire. I don’t care what anyone says about New York Mexican food, go back to LA if it sucks so much. In SLC, we used to hit a place that did Belgian waffles and sausages. They had a sandwich called the Machine Gun Sandwich – it was a whole french baguette with two Merguez sausages, topped with french fries, and drizzled with chili mayo. It was ridiculous. But it’s been closed the last couple times because we were there on a Sunday, and Salt Lake City can suck my balls because everything is closed on Sundays.

How do you feel about the release of You’re Welcome and the accompanying live show which is on the special two-disc release?

I didn’t have a huge part in You’re Welcome, but I can say it turned out sounding great. I did the guitar solo on Dirty Laundry – which I’m pretty proud of – but otherwise I was only involved in the live recording. The live tracks sound fantastic, though. The show was a complete blast, we had a fantastic time on the quick little run surrounding that event. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Who are some bands that have opened for Electric Six that have personally blown you away?

Big shout-outs to In My Jerusalem, We Are Z, and In the Whale on this one. All great dudes. Fun people to hang out with make the difference. I can’t say I’m much of a rock listener these days (not that these aren’t all equally great bands), so I tend to appreciate the openers that are genuinely chill between shows, loading in, days off, etc. We’re all going to the same bar together for three weeks straight – it’s best if you have some palatable drinking buddies.

What helps fill the time on the road from show to show?

I do a lot of web development, as you might know. I usually spend my time learning new facets of the trade. Or Spanish. I spent a tour learning Spanish. This tour I’ve been a little lacking in motivation, but I try to stay busy. If I don’t, I tend to get sluggish, depressed, or irritable. No one needs that shit.

How did you get into website development? Can you take readers through remodeling the Electric Six website?

I got into development in my time on the road, honestly. I think in a way I saw the writing on the wall respectively, and I became fascinated with coding as a skillset. I’ve worked in restaurants for 10 years either bartending, serving, or as a wine steward, and moving to a heavy touring schedule woke me up to the fact that I could be using my time more wisely. And, frankly, a 55-year old web developer and former rocker is a better look than a 55-year old bartender and former rocker. If I live to be 55. The E6 website was a real pleasure. It very much needed a facelift, I’m not sure the site had been truly updated since the early days of mobile browsing. It’s always fascinating to peer back into only 10 years ago when the iPhone was just hitting the market and mobile websites were a brand new concept. Now mobile websites are actually pretty scarce, because responsive design has come far enough to all but eliminate the necessity for separate mobile sites. The E6 site is of course an example of this. But for the most part I was given carte blanche on how to build it. It was a good experience, and it’s something even approaching a year later I still think looks great. I might hop back in soon and tweak it a bit, who knows.

What do you have to say to those who are going to see Electric Six for the very first time?

Welcome. Remember what it was like before Electric Six. Because soon, it’ll all be a distant memory, and you’ll be consumed by madness. I’ve seen it happen before, and I’m sorry to say you’re no different. You fly to close to the sun, you lose your wings. Wehhh.

If you have a website and are looking for a fresh new look, contact Matt HERE.

Check out Electric Six: Albums, Tour Dates and More

Display photo by Gavin Christopher Photo

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