He rocked out on stages and in video games as the frontman for Matchbook Romance, now he is apart of the band, DriftDivision, here is my interview with Andrew Jordan.
Alex Obert: First of all, what have you been up to lately?
Andrew Jordan: Since Matchbook, I have basically gotten back to college finally. And from there, got back into IT. I was always a computer guy. So now I just do IT stuff. And that’s what I’m spending all my time on. We had a baby, my wife and I. Got married shortly after Matchbook, we had a baby last January.
Alex Obert: How’s life as a musician in Poughkeepsie, NY? How does it differ from somewhere like New York City?
Andrew Jordan: I don’t really know because I haven’t lived in the city. But I know it’s way crazier living there. And you’ve gotta spend a lot of money to live there. The dollar doesn’t go that far down there. Tiny, tiny, tiny apartments and you’ve gotta give your left arm practically just to live in it. Poughkeepsie is nicer. You’ve got way more space, way less people. You’re not far from the mountains, you can get up there and go skiing or go hiking. I like being in the outdoors, so it’s nice. But then you can also just jump on the train and head to New York City. So it’s got that aspect as well.
Alex Obert: Where around Poughkeepsie do you go to purchase albums?
Andrew Jordan: To tell you the truth man, I don’t purchase albums very much anymore. (laughs) I pretty much just listen to everything on Spotify. I do have a favorite record store, Darkside Records, here on Main Street. Those guys are awesome. They’ve got a great store. But for the most part, I just listen to music on the internet. Times have changed. (laughs)
Alex Obert: What are your earliest memories of listening to music?
Andrew Jordan: I remember being real little, hanging out with my cousins, and they were total metalheads. And they introduced me to all the glam rock/hair metal stuff, everything from Bon Jovi to Metallica to Guns N’ Roses, Poison. And then from there, getting a little older and mysteriously finding a Nirvana Nevermind tape in my bedroom, randomly just showed up. I couldn’t stand the band when they first came out with their first track, but then I had this tape and I started listening to it. And then I just loved em. And that’s what got me started playing guitar eventually. So I’d say those are my fondest memories of music.
Alex Obert: What was the first concert you went to?
Andrew Jordan: The first concert I ever went to is actually kind of humiliating. I was real young. (laughs) I saw Color Me Badd. (laughs) Do you know that band?
Alex Obert: I don’t. Sounds familiar though.
Andrew Jordan: It’s probably one of the first boy bands. (laughs)
Alex Obert: Was there a particular concert you went to that led to you saying, “I want to be a frontman!”?
Andrew Jordan: I didn’t go to a lot of concerts. I was someone that was at home playing guitar and going to band practice. And I think it was just eventually, we were sitting in a room talking about starting a band. And I was like, “Let me try and be the singer. Let me give it a shot. I don’t know if I’ll be good at it, but I’ll definitely try.” That’s kind of how it all started. I guess I did start going to concerts here in Poughkeepsie at The Chance. And that’s where I saw bands that were our age, kids that were starting to write music on their own. I remember seeing Next To Nothing, this local band and thinking, “Wow, these guys, they’re awesome! It would be so cool to someday be able to be up on that stage and playing .” And sure enough, eventually, we were doing exactly that.
Alex Obert: Who would you say are your vocal influences?
Andrew Jordan: My voice, it’s been tough. People that I’ve always loved the sound of were Kurt Cobain, Thom Yorke of Radiohead. I’d say those two, probably. A hybrid of that. With my voice, it took me a while to really figure out. I was a pretty bad singer I think, for a while. I probably still am, actually. (laughs) But luckily I was in the business of rock music, so it didn’t really matter. (laughs) But I’d say that those guys were huge influences to everything I ever did.
Alex Obert: Moving on to your own music, first of all, why the name Matchbook Romance?
Andrew Jordan: Aaron, the drummer, came up with it. I don’t know why, but we were chillin in a bar, The Hobnobbin in Poughkeepsie, we had a list of names. We had been going at it for months and we couldn’t settle on anything. Everything we came up with was just, “That’s the worst band name ever!” Then finally, Aaron threw out Matchbook Romance and I was like, “No way! Sounds way too much like Matchbox Twenty. We cannot do that. Everybody’s gonna say Matchbox Romance. They’re freaking huge, they’re gonna confuse us, we’re gonna get it all the time.” And anyway, we finished a list and sent it off to Epitaph and so Aaron thought that one up.
Alex Obert: I always thought it was because someone at a bar gave someone else their number and wrote it on a matchbook.
Andrew Jordan: That’s what we liked about it, that’s what it reminded us of too. That’s kind of its origination, but being that our songs sort of have that romantic vibe to em, it just fit. So I think that’s why people really clung to it.
Alex Obert: What did it mean to you to perform on late night television on The Carson Daly Show? What was going through your mind?
Andrew Jordan: We were excited, we were really excited. I remember we had released Voices and we were just really excited to have the opportunity to be on a show like that for the first time, besides Fuse and stuff like that. And to play, it was awesome. It got even better when a candle that we had on stage had fallen over and started catching fire at the end of the last song. I think it was You Can Run, But We’ll Find You. I think that was the last one that we were playing. I think we did that as the credits were rolling and it cuts off before you can actually see the stage catching on fire and people running out with fire extinguishers. (laughs)
Alex Obert: As it goes for that album, how were you approached to be on Guitar Hero III?
Andrew Jordan: I just got a call from my manager, I think he got a call from somebody. I think it was Epitaph, actually. Epitaph was working with them and they mentioned us and said, “They have a song that would be really great for this.” And so they checked it out and they loved it. I think it was my manager that delivered the news. So that was awesome. That was great.
Alex Obert: What was it like the first time you played that song in the game?
Andrew Jordan: (laughs) It was surreal. Growing up as a gamer, it just blew my mind. I have to say it blew my mind about as much when we got Madden 2007 too. That really blew my mind because I’m a huge football fan and just thinking the players that I loved were maybe playing this game and they could hear my song in the background. That really hit me too. And the same thing with Monsters. I mean in Guitar Hero, just walking through an arcade, just randomly hearing your song in an arcade somewhere that I used to be as a kid, just dropping money and playing and having fun with my brother. It was surreal, man. It was really, really cool. It was an honor.
Alex Obert: You mentioned Monsters, do you feel that with the clapping in the song, it’s influenced by Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood?
Andrew Jordan: What’s that?
Alex Obert: It’s in the film, Kill Bill, and it’s by Santa Esmerelda. It has a similar rhythm.
Andrew Jordan: Oh yeah. That’s the one that has more of a Spanish feel, right?
Alex Obert: Yeah.
Andrew Jordan: I did listen to that track, I think before we did that song. But no, it just kind of came to me in the studio. It just worked out. You know what it did remind me of a lot was a Death Cab For Cutie song, there is a certain song where they do some clapping or something and it’s very similar. But yeah, it just kind of fell into place in the studio. That’s a cool song, the Kill Bill song, love that.
Alex Obert: And what was the influence behind the song’s impressive instrumentals?
Andrew Jordan: You know, I can’t say really, a lot of the stuff that happened with Matchbook just fell out of the sky and it just happened all of a sudden. I mentioned Darkside Records before, we actually rented out that building before Darkside was ever in there, years ago when we were writing that record. And it was just some abandoned shop on the Poughkeepsie main drag. I think they just started picking that intro part and it literally wrote itself. I’m sure you’ve heard that happening before with songs. And it’s just one of those instances where it just sort of took off. I had an idea for lyrics and things like that. And it was very upbeat, which is great. That’s what a lot of our fans, initially, were used to. So it just kind of took off, it wasn’t really an inspiration, it just felt right.
Alex Obert: Moving onto DriftDivision, what made you want to get into a lighter, more melodic sound?
Andrew Jordan: I was pretty much on my own. I was living out in Pennsylvania at that point, living on this farm. Sort of coming off that five year craziness of being on the road and traveling all over the place and being in crowded places all the time, dirty places. (laughs) And it was just finally this breath of fresh air where I was thinking clearer and I was getting back to myself. And I think that I just wanted to experiment with that style of music. I saw myself writing more of that style and I just wanted to try it and get it out of my system. And that’s sort of what I did. I wasn’t working with a full band, I wasn’t sitting in a room with them. If I had been, it probably would have been more of a rock sound and louder and crazier like Matchbook, but it was just me in this big open space, just with nothing but time on my hands. It just evolved into that sound.
Alex Obert: Going from Matchbook Romance to DriftDivision, would you consider writing a book about it?
Andrew Jordan: I’d sound boring if I say this or I sound ungrateful, but it’s not my intention at all. Everything that happened with the music industry was incredible and it’s this awesome experience that I had. Taking that, going into DriftDivision and trying it and seeing how abstract, how different it is going from a huge, mainstream following and then you switch gears and go into something very independent, very small time. It was kind of like a realization for me that I’d seen everything I’d wanted to see and I want to move on to a different part of my life. I really don’t want to rehash the past or anything like that, I’m happy to do interviews and things and talk about it. But I don’t think I can sit down and write a book. I’ve been more or less just creating websites and programming and stuff like that. That’s my outlet that I have a passion for which is weird, I’m like a nerd I guess. (laughs)
Alex Obert: When did you feel you got back to a normal life?
Andrew Jordan: I’d say on that farm in Pennsylvania. It was weird to finally have time on my hands where I could just go into town and just chill out, go to the bar and see people, make friends with people. And what was cool about being in Pennsylvania was that nobody around here, people in Poughkeepsie knew me and knew what I was doing, but in Pennsylvania, nobody knew anything about what I was doing. And that was really nice. I was able to just connect with people on a different level and I feel that’s when I really came back to my roots. I eventually moved back to New York. I’d say Pennsylvania is where it really came back. And now having a child, it’s a whole other part of life. It’s incredible.
Alex Obert: Into your music and a live performance, what do you feel it takes to be a frontman?
Andrew Jordan: It takes a lot more than I ever had, I’ll say that much. Not to put myself down, but I don’t feel like I was ever really, really cut out for the music business. I wanted everything to be so organic and I’m sure for a while, part of it really is. Maybe I just have the wrong perspective of what it should be and what it should mean and stuff like that. But I feel like as a frontman, you really need to be an entertainer and you wanna be authentic. You’ve really got to really take that special somebody to be able to walk on stage, completely be themselves, and just blow everybody away. You’ve really gotta learn to play the game because as you get bigger, it’s gonna require you to do some crafting you might not wanna do. (laughs) But it’ll get your name out there a little further and you can make a big splash and sell more records. But there’s a sort of crossroads I think some artists hit where they have to just go for it. There’s a point where I fell on the brakes and I was just like, “I don’t know if I even want this lifestyle.”
Alex Obert: Before we wrap up, first, I’d like to thank you for your time.
Andrew Jordan: Yeah, no problem, man. Thanks for the interview! Appreciate it!
Alex Obert: I’d like to do a speed round with you, where I quickly ask you general questions.
Andrew Jordan: Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Alex Obert: Favorite guitar riff?
Andrew Jordan: The Monsters lead.
Alex Obert: First album you purchased with your own money?
Andrew Jordan: The Black Album by Metallica.
Alex Obert: Favorite band name?
Andrew Jordan: Explosions in the Sky.
Alex Obert: Favorite one hit wonder?
Andrew Jordan: That Thing You Do by The One-ders from that Tom Hanks movie. (laughs)
Alex Obert: Favorite Nirvana song?
Andrew Jordan: In Bloom.
Alex Obert: Favorite music-related movie?
Andrew Jordan: La Bamba, the Ritchie Valens movie. That blew me away when I was younger.
Alex Obert: Lastly, do you have anything you’d like to plug at the moment?
Andrew Jordan: No, I don’t really have anything. You can check out DriftDivision. I’ll plug our fans, the Matchbook fans, they were incredible and they still are to this day. They’re freakin awesome. So, I’ll just plug them.
Alex Obert: Alright, sounds good. Thank you so much for your time.
Andrew Jordan: Yeah, man. Thank you very much.
Photo Credit: Brian Lange – Rapid Boy