NZ Artist Matthew Smith, On The Gondola

Matthew Smith rides the Christchurch Gondola

Earlier this year, Matthew Smith released his self-titled debut album through Lyttelton Records. It was produced by Ben Edwards and recorded at The Sitting Room, a studio in Lyttelton, just outside of Christchurch. His 2014 debut solo EP Before You Lay Down was also recorded at that studio. And when you reach the top of the Christchurch Gondola – where we recorded this session – you can almost see the studio on the back of the hillside below. I’m just stating some facts, but I think that it is pretty cool that his music can be traced back to this relatively small piece of land in New Zealand. Thankfully, the gondola happens to be in the same place.

I also think that it is pretty cool how down to earth and friendly all of the musicians that we have filmed on the Christchurch Gondola have been. And Matthew Smith is no exception here. Neither is Aaron Lee, his manager from Lyttelton Records, who rode along for the session and took some photos of his own. After the session we went out for a coffee, swapped t-shirts, then went to watch a Sunday Sit Down gig at Blue Smoke. The Sunday Sit Down is a cool concept by the venue that brings musicians in to play acoustic or stripped-down sets to a relaxed Sunday afternoon crowd. We love this mentality and are hoping to get more involved with the venue on that. On to the videos.

Matthew Smith Gondola Session Videos

For the Matthew Smith Gondola Session we went for a solo acoustic setup, stripping the songs down to their roots and recording them as they were written. Sometimes this results in a slower tempo for the songs when compared to the studio versions, but that is not the case here. The studio versions are slow, spacious and sort of eerie.

On the session, his quicker pace suits the solo setup and his picking carries just enough movement to reel you in. Have a look at both videos from the Matthew Smith Gondola Session below – each is a song from his self-titled debut.

“Summer Harp”

“Shadow Hides A Face”

Matthew Smith in Von Voin Strum

In this post I wanted to focus on Matthew Smith’s solo work over the last few years, and the effort he has put into his EP, debut album and this session. But a few years back, he was the lead singer in Christchurch band Von Voin Strum. Check out the video below for a look at his powerful vocals, but with a heavy rock & roll band behind him.

Thanks for reading, watching, and listening,
-John