Matty Marz conveys gender euphoria and romanticism on new single, “EPILL”

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With an on-stage persona that she says causes her to become “like lightning”, New York-based pop artist Matty Marz is ready for you to enter into her electric and romantic world of poetic artistry. Her latest single “EPILL” is an intense and cathartic club anthem that is fueled by gender euphoria and expressed in a sense of heightened nirvana. Released ahead of her upcoming debut album m.w.u., slated to be released later this year, Marz spoke with Melodic Magazine about the upcoming project, her recent single, and how she hopes to offer solace through her music.

Thank you so much for taking the time today! To start, how were you originally introduced to music?
I started doing musical theater when I was probably six or seven and really wanted to be an actor. I was doing regional theater, local theater, and almost got onto Broadway at one point but my parents said they weren’t going to be stage parents; I had to have a normal childhood. From there I really started to take an ownership of music. Probably around 10 or 11 is when I started diving into vocal training. Then, as I went into my early teen years, I started classically training in opera and jazz. That was my first exposure into the world, and then I started to compose. I was really interested in big orchestras and wanted to know the intricacies of how music is crafted from a classical standpoint. It’s so complex and so heavy. I really started to find songwriting as a solace, and now here we are.

How has your theater background influenced your music career?
I think theater backgrounds are actually so important in terms of being a performer in music. So many of the greatest artists have come from some sort of theater background. There’s so much that you learn in terms of building a character. Having that ingrained in me from a really early age, being able to place situational things onto an entity or something that is fictional, allows you to step outside of yourself. As I started to create music as Matty Marz, I really started to think about that person as a character representing the best versions of myself or the most exaggerated forms of what I aspire to be. I always like to think about the persona at large and what feeds that persona. I think doing that through this idea of myself is somewhat more liberating, and I think having that theater background is so essential to what I do. 

Where does Matty Marz the character end and Matty Marz the person begin?
It’s funny because sometimes I find myself asking the same question, especially now that I’m transitioning and going on this brand new chapter of my life. I’m really trying to pinpoint where my creativity in lives and where I find moments of intimacy for myself. I feel like the writing process and the crafting of the music itself is always deeply personal because I do so much of it myself. The persona really takes over when I’m on stage. I think that is the biggest switch that I flip where I’m able to forget about everything and exist in the excitement of these songs. As I get further in my career, I hope to do more that defines what this persona is. But it changes all the time, and sometimes when I step into the persona that’s when it makes sense to me the most. A big aspect of what I do is based off of connection and being really honest and intimate. I think in some ways having a persona does allow more people to impose their own feelings on you, which can be great. But I really want people to understand and resonate with the work first and foremost.

You’re part of this new wave of trans women who are taking on the pop scene. How does your gender identity impact or correlate with your artistry?
It’s correlating so heavily now. I’ve always been queer, but I cite the person I look up to the most regarding my transition and this moment of my life as Ethel Cain. I was at a point where I was living in LA and I was listening to her music non-stop. I eventually realized why I resonated so much with it. Similar enough, that’s not her personal life. She’s crafted a character around this arc. Having a persona that people can impart their own emotions and experience onto becomes more powerful because it’s fictionalized and romanticized to a certain degree. With her work, that allowed me to see the deeper part of myself and realize this is who I’ve always been. I’m only about seven months into my transition, so I’m at this very interesting phase where I’ve started to develop and find deeper parts of myself as a budding woman. But I’m still not quite there yet, and I think whatever project I wind up doing next is going to be very telling. My song “EPILL” I definitely cite as a moment of gender euphoria before I even realized it.

What’s the story behind “EPILL”?
Before I even had the full idea for the whole project, what struck me about “EPILL” was the spontaneity of it and just how exciting it felt. With this song specifically, I wanted it to feel like the opening montage of the movie “Blade”, with the blood raining down in the vampire club. In tandem with having a persona, I sometimes write songs from that perspective. Dance music is kind of nonsensical. It doesn’t necessarily always need a reason to be created. The whole song feels very intense and then it releases into this beautiful pre-chorus and it comes back to this really aggressive chorus. I wanted this duality between those two. My friend, Akira Akira, produced it. I think we created a soundscape that was just really intense, fun and incredibly euphoric. 

I noticed “EPILL” is heavier than your previous songs. What was the inspiration behind the change and going down a darker route?
I think a lot of the songs on this project are on a darker line idea-wise. When I was becoming aware of what the project wanted to be, I wanted to dive into some of those emotions I was having and be able to articulate my bad experiences and scary moments in a way that was euphoric to me and really healing. I think one thing that’s going to be interesting moving forward is defining this project as one sound and then defining the next project as another specific sound. A lot of my earlier music is a lot more cheery and happy, so I think it was essential to tap into this darker sound. I also think that as a trans person and as a queer person I wanted to express certain things that don’t necessarily get expressed all the time.

You’ve also said the song is inspired by the 90s electronic movement, and it’s definitely a club song. How did club culture or this particular electronic movement inspire you?
I think club culture and queer culture are so in tandem together. I’ve spent years in the nightclub scene. I worked in fashion for a long time in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and a lot of my friends were either Drag Queens, event promoters or club kids. So much of the creative scene in New York stems from people who feel like they’re outcasts, and I think what’s euphoric to the queer community is going to a space and dancing your problems away. I wanted to touch more upon that in this project, especially because I understand how powerful it is. And there was so much profound sound work in the 90s. One of my favorite albums is Madonna’s “Ray of Light”, produced by William Orbit. That album is monumental for club music in such a creative and intelligent way. William is originally an orchestral composer, and he took that and applied it to dance music.

Your debut album is coming out later this year. You’ve talked about it already, but what can listeners expect? When will the album be released?
I am so excited for it to be out because I feel like it’s been so much planning. I visualize each single as a character. The initial single, “m.w.u.” was the angel. This idea of freedom and self-expression and finding it in the answers of the questions that you ask yourself. I find “EPILL” to be almost like the witch. The cover is much darker. It’s very Victorian. The next single is the sporty character. She’s ready to fight, but she’s also ready to win and score big. Then “Sing Me to Sleep” is more of the quiet grunge character who’s in the corner scribbling in a notebook. I feel like all of these little gemstones make up this euphoric, fun, straightforward, hit it over the head, dance record.

What can listeners expect to find in the world of Matty Marz?
Listeners can expect to find a lot of self-empowerment anthems. Songs about superseding expectation, taking your own willpower and making it something beautiful. I think that that’s going to be a staple of my career, being able to write songs that allow you as a listener to feel empowered. Not even by me, per say. I don’t even necessarily want it to be like I’m inspiring you. I think the beautiful thing about music is you put yourself in the perspective of whomever you’re listening to, and then that might change your perspective on how you get out of a bad situation. I also think they can find irreverent, fun music. Everything I do I like to have a sprinkle of something different and interesting to bring you in. Even if it’s not necessarily your genre that you love. Whether it’s blending genres, an interesting instrument choice, or a melody, I bring in a unique perspective while also being irreverent, confident and fun.

I love that so much. It was very good talking to you, thank you so much for taking the time today!
Until next time!

Follow Matty on socials:
Instagram // Twitter // TikTok // Spotify

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