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Blue October Bassist Tries On Producer, Manager Hats

Matt Noveskey steps outside the studio.
Matt Noveskey steps outside the studio.
Courtesy of Matt Noveskey

Musicians guiding musicians may sound like the blind leading the blind, but his firsthand experience with music-business pitfalls showed Blue October bassist Matt Noveskey otherwise.

"I've worked with a lot of producers that, well, they think their shit doesn't stink," Noveskey says of his experiences. "They're really stubborn, they talk down to bands and they tend to think that because they've been doing this for X amount of years that they have all the answers."

This frustration led Noveskey to turn his production hobby into his own company. The way he sees it, no one understands musicians better than, well, musicians.

"In my opinion some of the best producers out there are musicians, because they've been on the other side of the coin; they've been treated the right way and they've been treated the wrong way, and they have learned from those experiences."

Noveskey's Wanderlust A.M.P. (Artist Management and Production) was spawned from Not In the Face Productions, which has acted primarily as a publishing company in Blue October's name since its introduction in the late '90s. When the bassist's production projects started to stack up, so did the need to become a completely separate entity.

Five Dollar Friend
Five Dollar Friend

"I'm still learning; I'm not an engineer," says Noveskey, who has worked with numerous Houston artists including Deep Ella, Five Dollar Friend, and Adam Jermstad of Giants in the Earth. "But once I got a couple of projects under my belt several years ago, I started to realize how much I enjoy it - and that's always the role I've played in every band I've been in anyway.

"You know, 'Maybe we should structure out the song this way'; 'This is really the hook of the song.' I write a lot of hooks."

Since Wanderlust's launch, Noveskey has begun dabbling with artist development, co-managing bands like Language Room, I Am Dynamite (formerly Mahoney) and, soon, Tyler's The Vehicle Reason. He's not seeking the next big pop star, he says, rather artists "with their head on straight" who are serious about their craft.

  "I'm not sure what the latest trend is, and I'm not really a scene guy. I just like to create music that has a classic sound," he says. "I think that's why I work with a lot of singer-songwriters.

"It's great to bring in friends to kind of be session players - I get to step in and play some bass, guitar and some keys and engineer in some instruments," Noveskey adds. "To me that's a really fun environment."

Asked about his immediate goals, Noveskey says he'd like to own a commercial studio soon, somewhere he can work hands-on with bands as well as expand on his own projects.

"Just finishing a record, an EP, or even a song, always feels like an accomplishment," he says. "Every time you see that the band is happy and you've brought something out of them that they've never done before, and now they feel like they've got this really incredible piece of music sitting in front of them and you had something to do with that, that's a pretty amazing feeling - it really is."


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