The Obelisk Questionnaire: Matt Whitehead of Shun & Throttlerod

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creative ways to start an essay Custom Dissertation Writing Service Doctoral For Uc custom thesis theme design how to write a character analysis essay ppt The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Matt Whitehead of Shun & Throttlerod

How do you define what you do and how did you come to it?

I love to stay busy writing songs and stray riffs in my spare time and sing and play guitar in a new band called Shun. We’re a four-piece loud riff-based heavy rock band that also has melodic and moody elements.

How did I come to it? My first job at Little Caesar’s…. [big U.S. pizza chain for our overseas friends who may not be familiar.]

I worked at that pizza chain in high school with a couple of people that were in some really good bands, one of which I joined sometime in early 1995. That band happened to be one of my favorite bands around at the time and it was a real honor to get that opportunity. That experience ultimately helped shape my ideas about songwriting and melody. Whereas I had been primarily into metal and also Nirvana, I became an absolute sponge in college and listened to everything I could get my hands on. That’s when I found everything from The Melvins and Fugazi to Morphine, PJ Harvey, and Jawbox.

After that first band ran its course, I started Throttlerod with two of those same guys, put out a bunch of records, and did a lot of touring. Early on, our friends in ATP and Sunnshine encouraged us to move from Columbia, SC, to Richmond and we did. Not because we didn’t like our hometown (we loved it there). But Richmond had a really unique scene and is well-situated on the East Coast to hit a lot of cities in a short amount of time. Eventually, we recruited the Sunnshine drummer, Kevin White, and the bass player from my first band who moved to Richmond from where he had been living in Chicago.

I moved back to South Carolina in 2011 and put out one more Throttlerod record that J. Robbins produced. I was getting restless as I waited for Kevin to join me, so I started a band called Made of Machines with… a guy from that first job at the pizza place. Another guy from my first band introduced me to Jeff Baucom who played bass with Machines for a couple of years.

Jeff and I really connected personally and musically, and he asked me to come jam with a new project he had going with a drummer and a guitarist who had just moved to the area. Fast forward through a few hurdles with getting together, and we are now on a schedule and having a blast making music. So, in a way all of my connections to music began at Little Caesar’s. Weird.

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My first musical memory is listening to Beatles and Elton John records with my mom when I was probably four years old. I got really into other artists after that, but it was “Battery” by Metallica led me to go head-first into guitar. I more or less learned the instrument from obsessing over their first three Metallica records. A good friend of mine shared that obsession and we used to stay up all night playing metal covers, and we probably (definitely) knew every Metallica song through Justice at one point. There are a lot worse things we could have been doing! When I went to college though, I was exposed to a whole lot.

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I have been fortunate enough to experience a lot with Throttlerod: playing in front of 19,000 people in Shockoe Bottom; playing HF Festival, CMJ, or SXSW; and playing with all kinds of cool bands ranging from Clutch and Mastodon to Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. But my best musical memory is much more basic: touring in a van with my friends, seeing the US and Canada, sleeping on floors, and playing music that we loved every night. I was just telling this story a few days ago, but we always prided ourselves on playing the same to an audience of one as we did to an audience of 19,000. Once we played Des Moines, Iowa, early in the week and there was nobody there. Literally nobody. We got on stage and seconds into our set, Matt Pike (who we had met when we played with High on Fire sometime before that) walks in. We played our entire set to him headbanging in front of the stage. Ruled.

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I don’t know about that. I try and be open enough to other perspectives to where I don’t get too upset over people challenging me. It’s not a perfect system, but I can’t think of a situation off the top of my head where I got bothered or felt “tested” by someone or something challenging a belief.

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Who knows where it will lead? The old cliché “it’s the journey, not the destination” holds true here. People, interests, influences, etc. change over time and that should be ok as long as we’re still excited. I try my best to treat songs as a diary and not mull over them too much. To me, it feels more exciting to have a batch of songs we wrote in a short period of time when we felt a certain way and not overthink them versus mulling over every song for months/years thinking we’re going to make it perfect. The next album will be written with different perspectives because we’ve changed along with everything around us.

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Honestly, we feel like we’ve succeeded just getting to play music together in a new band at this stage in our lives. Having J. Robbins believe in it enough to want to mix our home recordings, having Small Stone Records interested enough to put it out, and Mark Morton (Lamb of God) contributing a solo to a song is a real high-five situation to put it mildly.

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I could get real dark here, but let’s keep this upbeat and positive.

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The next album. Upon finishing our last one, it took no more than a week for new riffs to start flying around.

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The most essential function of art depends on the situation. Entertainment, connection, self-awareness… all valid functions in my opinion.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Spending time with my family and traveling are always things I look forward to.

http://www.facebook.com/ShunTheBand
http://www.instagram.com/Shuntheband
http://shuntheband.bandcamp.com
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
http://twitter.com/SSRecordings
http://www.instagram.com/smallstonerecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Shun, Shun (2021)

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One Response to “The Obelisk Questionnaire: Matt Whitehead of Shun & Throttlerod”

  1. J. says:

    I love that Matt Pike anecdote

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