Thanks to the Tim Gates,Brad Hull and Matt Lopez of Due West for taking the time out of their crazy schedule to catch up with us and share what's been going on with them. We love this group and if you love quality music, you will too if you don't already. Their latest single, "Things You Can't Do in a Car" is inching towards the coveted "Top 30" on the Music Row Charts and currently sits at #45. Please request the new single on your local country station!
Question 1: We'd love a little background on each of you. How did you get started and how did you come together as Due West?
Matt: "I knew that I wanted to make music for a living as far back as I can remember. I tried to go the college route, but quickly discovered it wasn't what I wanted. I was living in New Jersey in 1998 and attended the Garth Brooks concert in Central Park in New York City. It was in that moment that I was 100% committed to making the move to Music City. After some twists and turns in the road of life, I finally made my way and officially landed in Nashville in January of 2003. Later that year at a guitar pull, Tim, Brad and I sang together for the first time."
Brad: "I always love music and wanted to work in the music industry in some capacity. I was intrigued by the "behind the scenes" type of jobs and wanted to pursue one of those paths. I transferred my college credits to Belmont University in Nashville and discovered I wanted to be a record producer or a music publisher. After graduation, I tried to land a few music industry jobs but this little side band that I was singing with was the thing that just kept coming to the forefront of my pursuit, instead of the few "real jobs" that I had. This little side band that started as a chance meeting at a songwriter party and grew into a steady gig at the Alabama Grill, eventually became Due West."
Question 2: Who are your musical influences and do you remember what it was that first made you decide this is what you wanted to do?
Brad: "Our musical influences span across many artists, decades and genres. Tim is our stone cold country fan who listens to his favorite music on vinyl. He loves everything from Buck Owens and Patsy Cline to Willie Nelson and Keith Whitley. Matt is our pop influenced member who loves everything from the soaring melodies and harmonies of the 70's to the groovy beats of R&B and hip-hop. My influences probably lie somewhere in the middle of those two as I grew up listening to Motown, the Beach Boys and George Strait. I would say that my very first concert, which happened to be George Strait, was the moment that made me want to do the music thing for a living. As I became mesmerized by that show, I knew I wanted to strum guitar and sing harmony in a band."
Question 3: How long did it take to finally get your music noticed?
Brad: "I think that getting our music noticed is an ongoing process and I'm not sure that it ever ends. We have been making music together for about 8 years now but from the first time that we played original songs together as Due West at the Alabama Grill in front of an audience who didn't care, to the most recent show we played together to a growing audience of actual fans, we have just been trying to get our music heard. Every step along the way, whether we're playing to a restaurant crowd or to a label executive, a booking agent, or a large amphitheater crowd, we love the process of connecting with new audiences and having them "discover" Due West."
Question 4: Has there ever been a moment on stage that really hit you and made you stop and think "Wow! This is really happening"?
Matt: "Just in the last few weeks or so, we've been traveling with our full band on a tour bus. We're showing up to some pretty cool venues and appearing on the bill with some other artists who we're fans of. At those recent shows, it's really started to feel like we've reached a new level. The stages are getting bigger, the audiences are getting bigger and it's just feeling way more legit than before."
Question 5: Love your song, "When the Smoke Clears". The harmonies are amazing. (Little Big Town and Lady A have a run for their money in that area with you guys!) Did any of you write the song? Do you write most of your own music?
Matt: "Thanks for the compliments - that's great company to be mentioned with! We're big fans of harmony groups: Little Big Town, in my opinion, is the most underrated vocal group in town. The song "When the Smoke Clears" is a song I wrote several years back with my amazing friend/songwriter, Don Rollins. I remember playing it for these guys one night at the Alabama Grill and they (especially Tim) just loved it. The moment I really "heard it" for the first time was when Tim first sang it . He's got the perfect country soul in his voice to really capture the sentiment of the lyric and melody. I'm proud of that song and what it could still potentially be for us."
Question 6: You have a new single out, "Things You Can't Do In a Car", which we LOVE. What's each of your favorite things to do that you actually can do in a car?
Tim: "When I'm back in my hometown in southern Utah, I love to drive up to a lake called Gates Lake with my dogs and fishing poles in the back."
Brad: "Well, I currently don't have a truck, but if I did, I would load it up with the equipment needed to get a few overdue household chores done."
Matt: "I have very fond memories of going to the dump as a kid with my dad (who has since passed). We would take a load of garbage after cleaning out the garage or a truck bed full of grass clippings and such from a day of yard work. I remember it always being an adventure and I was fascinated with the whole layout and system of a dump. Now I have my dad's old truck out here in Tennessee and so when the opportunity comes, I load up the family and we all go on an adventure to take a load of stuff to the county landfill."
Question 7: Are you in the process of recording a new cd? If so, when can we expect it to be released?
Tim: "We have recorded 4 songs so far with our new producer, Garth Fundis, and will get back in the studio this fall to finish recording. The release date is unknown at this time."
Question 8: Question from @TiffBenton on Twitter: Do you plan of featuring Joanna Smith on "Farm Girl"?
Matt: "Ha! Ha! If we ended up recording that song - and I really hope we do - she will be featured as one of the writers on the song. If you mean some sort of duet or something along those lines, we'd be honored to record and perform with Joanna, we're big fans of hers."
Question 9: Question from @ChuckDauphin on Twitter: Do you remember your first radio stop and can you tell us a little about it?
Tim: "I remember our first official radio visit was in Dickson, Tennessee with the one and only Chuck Dauphin. I was nervous before we entered because there was a bullet hole in the window, but when we walked in, my nerves went away because of the familiar atmosphere. The radio station reminded me of the station I worked in as a kid back home. There were classic country records all over the walls and Chuck was a great guy and obviously a huge fan of country music. I remember the interview went very well and Chuck became a fan. It was a great visit for all of us."
Question 10: Question from @ShansMusic on Twitter: Is there a megastar you'd love to open for?
Brad: "I can't think of a megastar that I WOULDN'T love to open for but I can think of 3 megastars off the top of my head that I'd love to open for, each for a different reason. Brad Paisley because I think that would be a perfect fit for us music wise and personality wise. I hear that his tours are a lot of fun! Kenny Chesney because there isn't a bigger show out there to be a part of. It would be amazing to play in front of THAT many people. George Strait because he's George Strait ... he's one artist I get starstruck by. "
Thanks again to Matt, Brad and Tim for talking to us and giving us the chance to go "behind the scenes" with Due West. Check these guys out if you haven't already, they are outstanding and we'll support them until the world stops spinning. Don't forget to request "Things You Can't Do In a Car" today!
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Check out the official lyric video for "Things You Can't Do in a Car"