In today’s stagnant, ringtone-fueled, television-driven music industry, Matty Amendola is a breath of fresh air. Talented, versatile, determined fresh air. Matty has been playing drums professionally since the age of 13, has recorded on a countless amount of albums, released two of his own and has quickly become a recognized name as a producer and songwriter. Last January, he started the independent record label, 825 Records, turning out material from a wide-ranging roster of artists. With Matty’s music reaching the masses internationally, he is showing no signs of slowing down.
A Brooklyn native, Matty has been making big moves and is being recognized for his work in the New York City and national music scenes. Don’t let his young looks fool you – this experienced musician started on drums at age five, and within a few short years he was sneaking into bars and clubs to sit in with as many musicians as possible. As a teenager, Matty started working as a musician for hire, making his mark performing on major television shows, national tours and studio work with some legendary heavy hitters.
Encouraged by his father, Billy Amendola, who had three Billboard Top 10 hits with his band Mantus in the 1970s, Matty developed his talents beyond the drum set, deciding to pick up a guitar and write his own music. “I’ve always been the band member with a lot of concepts, ideas and direction,” says Matty. “I knew sitting behind the drum kit and humming out my ideas was not enough. I needed to be a step ahead of everyone.”
By age 13, Matty was playing with a variety of bands, opening up for larger acts in nearly every small venue in New York City. Throughout high school, Matty worked as a drummer for hire for studio work and live shows. He also started running his father’s studio, helping young talent by producing their music and giving them a professional, marketable product.
Matty was beginning his undergraduate music education when he embarked on a 22-city tour for “Jump,” a dance competition covered by Nickelodeon. He worked with well-known dancers and choreographers, including Laurie Kanyok (Movin’ Out, Come Fly Away), Dee Caspary (Justin Timberlake) and AJ Russo (Cirque du Soleil). Matty played drums and was later named musical director of the show, performing at such world-renowned venues as the Supper Club and Radio City Music Hall.
Through his extensive touring, Matty quickly became a well-known drummer within the industry for his hard-hitting rock/funk style. He became a Pearl Drums endorser and appeared in advertisements for the Pearl Vision Series drum kit in every drum magazine in the United States. “I was on tour, playing with a dozen local bands and producing artists,” says Matty. “But I needed to release a solo project. My songs, my outlook and my life.”
Matty funded and released =Ecstasy on his own. “It was a total experiment for me,” he recalls. “I wanted something that both musicians and commercial radio listeners would dig. I’ve learned that’s a very difficult dynamic to capture, but every day is a learning process.” =Ecstasy successfully combined Matty’s multitalented musicianship with catchy pop hooks, creating a unique sound and vibe all his own.
A short year later, Matty released his sophomore album, Life Commercials, a unique blend of funky drums and bass, scorching rock/pop guitars and honest lyrics. The record opens with “Now,” a burst of motivating energy that carries through to the Beatles-influenced “Hide” and the feel-good first single, “Summer.” He transitions easily between heavy rock, catchy pop and slow ballads, forcing the listener to wonder what style he’ll pull out next.
Besides writing and producing =Ecstasy and Life Commercials, Matty also sang and played all the instruments. Audio engineer Butch Jones (Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Madonna) says, “Working with Matty is hard to put into a few short words. But it’s a real charge for me!”
In between writing material for his solo projects, Matty developed all facets of his talents by performing and producing. He got his first taste of fame playing bass in TV personality Damien Fahey’s band, The Classic Futures. In addition to cowriting and co-producing their debut album, Another Way, Matty performed with The Classic Futures on MTV’s TRL and toured the Northeast. The band’s exposure created major buzz; they were covered by Access Hollywood and every major music blog. His experience with them helped him discover his skill for studio work. “I love making parts and sounds feel multi-dimensional,” Matty states. “I really love producing.”
The Classic Futures disbanded after touring when each member decided to pursue a music career in their own way. Matty chose to follow his talent for producing, spending more and more time behind the scenes, using his experience in the pop spotlight to create marketable music for new artists. “I quickly went from red carpets to being a hermit in the studio,” says Matty. “But it felt like home.” And so, 825 Records was born. Matty works closely with every artist on the 825 roster, using his songwriting and producing expertise to bring their raw material to a finished product. He runs all aspects of artist development, and has built a small team to drive the marketing and publicity campaigns of each artist.
825 Records has been gaining wide regard in the local music industry as a label that stays true to its independent roots. “Artist development is best put into the hands of the artists themselves,” said David Weiss in Sonicscoop.com. “Matty Amendola is making sure that bands have a chance to flourish.”
“I guess I should drop a bunch of fancy names of people I may or may not have played with, I won’t,” says Matty. “I think anyone who listens to anything I do can see I’ve been around, and I’m just gonna keep going.”