Get to know Brooklyn sensation Yellow Shoots and have a listen to his well-curated playlist of his top influences.
Brooklyn-by-way-of-Philadelphia musician Yellow Shoots (Greg Matthews) crafts softly soulful RnB which makes unique use of his not inconsiderable guitar skills. In his hometown of Philly, Matthews was renowned locally for his talent on the fretboard and even performed at Jay Z’s Made In America festival. Now, located and recording in Brookyln, he plays and records a whole host of other instruments to create a hybrid sound that’s all his own.
We noticed his strong More Alive EP a few months ago and he recently premiered a standout track in the form of “Stormy Weather”. Over a trans-Atlantic line, we got chatting to Yellow Shoots to find out more about his name, the strength of Brooklyn’s thriving music scene, and the pressures and pleasures of working alone. As if that wasn’t enough, he also compiled an eclectic little playlist of his inspirations for you to plug into – good guy, great artist.
Your name comes from the moment you saw sounds in the colour yellow. Tell us more about that?
Yeah, I’ve been seeing colours while writing music for a long time now. Since I was 15 years old. I think a lot of people have this ability, they just haven’t recognized it yet. Yellow Shoots came out of an experience while writing a song 3 years ago in my apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I was messing around with this quasi happy/somber groove and all I could really envision was phases and layers of yellow and golden rod colors. That’s basically the night I decided to become a solo artist so I thought the name was appropriate.
Your background is as a guitarist in Philly. How does that scene, and the effect it has on your sound, differ from the Brooklyn one?
There is a tremendous music scene in Philly. I mostly hung with the RnB and Soul crowd there though. That’s mostly where I got my guitar chops. So jazz, gospel and RnB has been an integral force in my music.
Yeah, Brooklyn has been inspiring on an individual level. I’m really thriving on the “openness” of Brooklyn. It’s a much more “liberal” music scene. Individuals here are always pushing the envelope. This is something I’m really attracted to and will continue thrive on.
You record most of the instruments on your music yourself. Is creating music very much a solitary, solo affair?
I kinda love it. It gives me absolute creative control over the vision. There’s a lot more pressure around the whole process, but it’s really pushed me to understand music and compositions in a whole new way. Whenever I feel I’m falling short, whether it be a bass or keyboard thing, I’ll call a homie in to help tweek things.
Your all time favourite artists?
That’s a tough one. It’s always changing.
Yes (the band), Radiohead, and Stevie Wonder.
You’re currently working on your second EP. How have things progressed since More Alive?
Things are progressing so fast. I’m writing a ton of material. I have about 20 songs moving into their finishing stages. Thinking of actually generating two EPs in the next 6 months.
How would you describe your sound in three words?
Melodramatic, dark, tragic
Outside of music, what influences you?
I’m very interested in sociology, psychology and the evolution of the American culture. Definitely paying close attention to how technology is changing the way learn new information as well.
What’s in store for 2016 (EP aside)?
I plan on putting out a few music videos and playing a lot of shows this summer, as a DJ and with a band.