Interview with Matt Sanchez of American Authors on new video
American Authors

American Authors return with a stunningly heartfelt video for “Before I Go,” off of their latest critically acclaimed album, Seasons. 

Best known for their triple-platinum single “Best Day of My Life,”  American Authors is a Brooklyn-based four-piece featuring Zac Barnett [vocals], James Adam Shelley [guitar, banjo], Dave Rublin [bass], and Matt Sanchez [drums].

“Before I Go” is a departure from the band’s previous work, as a powerful and emotive song featuring soaring gospel layered vocals, delicate strings and cinematic soundscapes. The touching visuals include footage of drummer Matt Sanchez’s wedding last October.

Culture COLLiDE had the pleasure of interviewing Sanchez, discussing everything from his wedding, the unique first encounter with his wife Katie, and the new music of American Authors.

Culture COLLiDE: I understand you were married last October, congratulations, can you tell me more about the day and what that experience was like?

Matt Sanchez: It started off really early, I was with one of my best friends and we went to go get breakfast; he is one of my childhood friends. He’d ask me, “So, are you ready for today?” and I’d say “Yes and no. I’m nervous.” It wasn’t that I thought anything would go wrong necessarily, but you never know, it’s hard to plan for those things. We got a hotel by the Brooklyn Bridge because we were getting married in Gowanus and the guys came and met up with me. If you watch the video you can see in the beginning we have my tour manager, Jesse, who’s not only my tour manager but one of my best friends; he was there. He’s the one who actually married Katie and me — that was really cool. Then, Dave shows up and everybody else just kind of shows up, drinking a little bit of Moscow Mule and putting on our clothes, getting ready for the day. Eventually, we made our way over then started the pictures and all that stuff. It was wild.

CC: Having that heartfelt moment captured in time as a music video is pretty personal and special, what inspired the band to use the wedding footage as the concept for the visuals for “Before I Go”.

MS: Yeah that was a wild thing. Zach said to me a while ago when he knew I was getting married, we should totally film a music video out of it. There are so many songs on this album, at least one or two, that it would be perfect for. At first, I was completely against it. I was thinking I don’t want to turn my wedding into this giant thing. Katie already has to share me with too many people and I wanted this to be a thing that was just between us, for us, but I talked it over with her and she was immediately into the idea. So it’s really weird the way it all came out. When we wrote “Before I Go” and I saw the mocked-up footage, the song was put up to raw footage and by the end of it we were in tears. It worked perfectly. This works too well, it was insane.

CC: Everybody loves a good love story, how did you and Katie’s journey begin? How did you meet?

MS: So Katie and I met a long time ago at this really sketchy bar where they give you a free pizza with every beer purchase. It was Halloween and I’m standing near the entrance and this random girl just comes up and grabs my crotch and starts dancing on me. The funnier part is there is this other girl who comes up behind her and says “What are you doing. You don’t even know him.” That’s the one who caught my eye, that was Katie who saved me from her friend. I said thank you and we went opposite ways. She was standing on the other side of the bar. I was there with James and him and I were talking and I look at him and say, “I need to go talk to this girl.” He says, “I think you should.” So then I went over and bought her a Bud Light and it was love at Bud Light I guess. We’ve been dating ever since and this was October 31st, 2010. What’s so special about our relationship is she was there before American Author’s took off and she was there when we were getting our feet on the ground. When we were hustling at Angels and Kings back in the day; she was there.  Once the band took off, our relationship did go through the wringer. At some point though, we decided we both were meant for each other and made it work.

CC: On the subject of first meetings, how did American Authors form as a band?

MS: We all met in college at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I had been playing in previous projects with Zach for a while. Then Zach and James met and they hit it off and James wanted to start writing songs with Zach and they started writing music. Zach brought me in to drum and I started drumming with them. Funny enough Dave met Zach and Facebook messaged him saying “Hey, we have similar tastes in music and we needed a bass player.” Zach asked him to audition so he did and killed it. It’s been that way ever since, we all moved out to New York together, hustled and just did our thing there.

CC: The single “Before I Go” is off your new album Seasons, which is a departure from your previous sound.  What was the inspiration behind the new album? 

MS: We are always evolving not only as musicians but also as people. We are known for these up-tempo songs that inspire hope. We wanted to keep doing that, but do it in a different way. We wanted to dig deeper and tell some more personalized struggles. The entire album, in general, is about wanting to experience everything you possibly could, but having the anxiety and fear of it all, too. We go through this world and we don’t ever know the direction we’re going, we just kind of go. We just hope that something happens and something works out. We are frightened by it every day sometimes and we just wanted to show that side of ourselves and you can definitely hear it in “Before I Go.”

photo by: Spencer Kohn