Q: When did you first discover Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros?
A: I started listening to them in back in 2009 and had a pretty magical concert experience in 2010 when I saw them with a group of close friends. I actually ended up also doing a few projects with the band that opened for them that night, He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister. So needless to say, I was definitely an enthusiast of their music before getting the chance to design for them.
Q: Can you describe the experience of seeing Edward Sharpe live?
A: The first ESMZ concert I saw was in October of 2010 at The Ritz in Tampa. For myself and the group of friends I went with, it was the first time we all had a really communal concert experience. The energy was fantastic, and we were in the perfect spot in the crowd to really play toss the vibes with the band. Toward the end of the set, Alex came down into the crowd and sang Brother. I ended up getting to sit right next to him for that, which was great. I think every concert we have been to since … we’ve subconsciously compared to that first ESMZ experience, haha. I’ve been able to see them five times all together.
Q: You’ve actually created poster art for two ESMZ concerts in St. Petersburg – the Oct. 1, 2012 show and the Sept. 12, 2013 show. What were you trying convey in your ESMZ posters?
A: I think for both of the posters I have done, I wanted to incorporate some natural elements that I felt people in St. Pete could relate to. For me, being in the secluded natural areas of Tampa Bay gives me some of that same peace of mind that I find in Edward Sharpe’s music. I also wanted to give a touch of the eclectic nature I hear so much of in their music.
Q: How did you get into creating poster art for musicians?
A: Getting into doing gig posters was a pretty natural process that I started following. I’ve been playing in bands since high school and had started one band during my senior year of art college with some of my classmates, called Buffalo Wizards. We started designing flyers for our gigs, as well for other local bands. That same year I had been trying to get in touch with Ed Sharpe. By the summer of 2012, I started talking to them about doing a print. I can really thank them for launching my poster designing career, as they were the first big band to give me a chance, which I’ll always be grateful for. For me, that’s really a testament to the philosophy of the band – being open and giving everyone a chance to be a part of the experience.
The second print I did for them turned out great as well. After the show, they invited us to the St. Augustine Gentlemen of The Road Stopover the next day as their guests. Alex, Jade and everyone else in the band have only ever shown me generosity and openness. They’re a truly down-to-earth group of people.
It’s been a really excited journey for me since that first poster I did for them. I’ve been able to continue getting nationwide clients and have had my art spread across the country… which is really all any visual artist can ask for. I have also started my own screen printing studio with my girlfriend, Chelsey Curtin – so everything from the deigning to printing is done in house. Being able to see Edward Sharpe perform so many times and watching them grow as a band has only inspired our music making as well, and we continue to play shows and record.
For more information about Matt Decker, visit www.matthewstuartdecker.com
Click here to purchase ESMZ tour posters.