Between recording, touring, playing Mortal Kombat and enjoying time with his family and dogs, Mat Kerekes has a full schedule. Despite that, the Citizen vocalist still finds time to pursue other endeavors.
A creative at heart, Kerekes thrives not only making music, but also working on other projects, such as spending weeks building a recording studio with his brother.
“I think in terms of owning rather than borrowing all the time,” he says. “I could have just set my stuff up at a studio space in Toledo or some space [elsewhere], used it and came home. But what’s the point in that? If I make my own space at my house, I can use it whenever I want, even after the fact.”
“I just went balls out with my brother, and we worked really hard,” Kerekes continues. “We were out there from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., and then I’d wake back up four hours later. It was pretty brutal, but it was super worth it…I’m not even demoing anymore. I’m just recording, and I’m recording as if it were the final.”
The new space allowed the guitarist to record music on his own terms. He was even able to record the entirety of his latest full-length, Ruby, in the home studio. Naturally, there were some challenges along the way.
“I think the hardest part would be the long days doing everything myself,” he admits. “I like the process, I like the writing and I like playing, but when it’s all said and done, I have to go through and prep sessions and crossfade and whatever. I’m just fucking annoyed as hell the whole time.
“It was because it was just so much at once,” he elaborates. “If I record a song and I finish it, I’m like, ‘Oh OK, done. Cool.’ This time, I have 12 songs that I’m doing all at once. That was probably the most intense [and] overwhelming part, for sure.”
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This took us 6 weeks to build. After spending years recording out of moldy basements, garages, barns, bedrooms or just flat out taking all of my equipment to someone's house because I didn't have a spot to set up, I finally have my own studio/practice space. I had a lot of fun and feel like I have learned a ton of new things. Huge thank you to @chriskerekes and my dad for being the main brain behind the operation, and once again thank you to @chriskerekes for being out here helping me for around 10-14 hours a day every single day. Thank you to @gabbunnys and @madbear2010 for spending hours and hours out here helping us, and thank you to all of my friends who were nice enough to come lend a hand. I'm super stoked to finally utilize this. Time to write!!
While he was writing Ruby, Kerekes made it a point to follow his instincts with what was going to be included on the album.
“I tried not to think too much if something felt right. I was just like, ‘That’s it. That’s how it’s going to be.’ If I thought I was thinking too much, then I would just scrap the idea. I just had to really go by how I feel.
— Mat Kerekes (@MatKerekes) April 19, 2019
“It feels really good because it was a real passion project in the end, just going with the flow and writing these songs and recording them and not having any expectations and just doing what I thought felt best,” he adds. “It ended up working out better than anything else I’ve ever done.”
While he enjoys making music, Kerekes finds some of the necessary components to succeed in the industry, such as being on the road, tedious. Thanks to his new studio, he’s able to spend more time at home.
“I like playing the shows; I just get homesick,” he confesses. “I like to have a routine. When I’m gone, recording somewhere for six weeks, I’m just like, ‘Man, I want to go home.’ [Now,] all I have to do is walk five feet to my garage to do what I want to do. It’s pretty nice.”
Kerekes hopes listeners can relate to his music and what he had to say.
“I feel like it’s important to really write what you’re feeling and lessons you’ve taken away from life and make sure everything’s as genuine as it possibly can be,” he says. “I feel like I try to do that, and I definitely did it on this record.”
Ruby is available now on all streaming platforms now. While Kerekes recently wrapped a solo tour, he’ll be touring with Citizen through next month and part of June. Dates can be seen below, and tickets can be found here.
05/10 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre
05/11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
05/12 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
05/14 – Boston, MA @ Royale
05/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
05/16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
05/17 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
05/18 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
05/19 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
05/21 – Orlando, FL @ The Abbey
05/22 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
05/24 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
05/25 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
05/26 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
05/28 – Mesa, AZ @ Nile Theater
05/29 – Orange County, CA @ The Observatory OC
05/31 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
06/01 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory
06/02 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
06/04 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
06/05 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
06/07 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
06/08 – Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre
06/09 – Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
06/10 – St. Louis, MO @ Ready Room
06/12 – St. Paul, MN @ Amsterdam Bar
06/14 – Chicago, IL @ The Metro
06/15 – Detroit, MI @ The Majestic Theatre