Justin Mattock recently released his new single, "Seventeen", and to celebrate we asked him to tell us about the track. Here is the story:
My old band had just called it quits and the pandemic was in full effect so my future in music was up in the air for quite some time. There had never been a point where I didn't have some sort of music project going for the past 15 years so this was brand new territory to me. I was really considering just calling it quits and sticking to being a hobby musician as I'd just turned 25 and thought I was a bit old to still be doing this - cue "Seventeen". Country music had taken over as my go-to genre a few years back but I'd never really thought about writing a country tune. I scrapped almost everything I knew about songwriting and took a brand new direction, starting with the lyrics and trying to paint a picture of a memory or a story. Within 15 minutes I had a chorus (not so different to the final version of the song), and a upbeat chord progression with a banjo in the back. As soon as I had the demo recorded I knew this was something I wasn't going to be able to give up anytime soon.
"Seventeen" tells the story of remembering back to the naive highschool nights and reminiscing about the care free life we were all living. Writing this song when I was actually 17 wouldn't have had the same feeling or impact it has compared to writing it now, as I'm actually able to appreciate what it was like 7-8 years ago. It wasn't about a specific night or memory, but more a collection of everything put together that could be compressed into one song or story. The intro kicks off the tune with a catchy, swingy banjo riff supported by acoustic guitars and mandolins. From there, the lead guitar comes in with the whole band and plays the simple yet memorable lead that would show up multiple times in the song. The lead line was actually the very first thing I wrote for this song so I'm really glad it made it to the final cut. New and different instruments are introduced throughout the song giving it a country twang, but strong hints of my Pop-Rock background still manage to sneak through and steal some of the spotlight in this one.
As mentioned before, the lyrics tell a story of accumulated memories and events. You could almost say the song spans over a number of years throughout my teenage life. It centres around a classic summertime bonfire night, meeting a girl, having a few drinks and sparking that summer fling. I was really in to Dan & Shay at this time - specifically how well they were able to create an image in the listeners head with their lyrics. This was a huge focus for me on this song as all the lyrics I had written before had been more "tell" than "show". I worked out a rough draft of the entire song and hit up my producers which is really when it came to life. We switched out a few lines here and there, simplified some of the chorus lyrics, and they drew up this instrumental that ended up being pretty much the final version of the song. This one will always be a special one for me - it was really the bridge from one version of me to the next.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about Justin here
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