Audeze chats with artist, producer and entrepreneur Matt Urmy

January 29, 2023

Matt Urmy is an artist, producer, poet and entrepreneur who has been releasing albums and poetry books for over 15 years. He is also the founder of Artist Growth, a music technology company that works with independent artists, labels and artist managers to modernize music finance, as well as touring, promo, and marketing data management workflows.

Matt Urmy in the studio with his Audeze LCD-X headphones
 "I can say without doubt [the LCD-Xs] are exceptional. Audio is sparklingly crisp, neutral and balanced. When I am mixing anything, I use these headphones to check against what I'm hearing in the room. They are amazing."  - Matt Urmy
Here's our chat with Matt:
Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Of my own work, I’m extremely proud of the album I released in January of 2021, South of the Sky. It’s my first attempt at a concept album where all of the songs are interconnected. We spent almost two years working through the process, with large gaps of time between sessions, both due to Covid-19 and Artist Growth. It fuses all the genres I love and is a deeply lyrical album and I had a blast making it.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

Usually I am there to provide creative sparks in the music. Mixing is something that I’ve only recently begun to get into in my career. In the past, I’ve been most focused on writing and production phases, but I’m super excited to start to get into mixing my own work and owning more of the process all the way through.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

Well, I grew up in Nashville, so music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Many of my friends parents were studio musicians working down on the old music row. I got to sit in on lots of country/pop sessions as a kid and I was hooked from an early age. The earliest music I remember as a kid is The Everly Brothers and BB King, who my father was always listening to. These days I listen to everything I can. I love all types of genres and aim to fuse as many of those colors into the music I produce as possible. From EDM to Opera, I love it all.

Can you name any factors you feel majorly influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

Absolutely. Probably the biggest single influence in my music journey was legendary producer, writer, publisher and all-around renaissance man, Cowboy Jack Clement. If you aren’t familiar with his life and career, I HIGHLY recommend getting familiar. He was at the sound board at the birth of rock'n'roll, he revolutionized country, and has also worked with rock bands like U2.

He produced one of my albums and over the course of the last 4 years of his life he and I spent a lot of time together. Listening to his stories and having him talk to me about his perspectives on everything from mic placement to songwriting, to the spirit of music, was really life changing.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

Haha, so many moments! Finishing songs is always frustrating for me because I obsess over lyrics. Sometimes I literally end up on the floor. In those times I find that it's a mixture of being relentless and knowing when to step away and go searching for more inspiration.

Often times I find myself frustrated just trying to carve out enough time for all the projects I want to do. It’s always a juggling act and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is not allowing myself to get spread too thin. Once I’m over worked all the work suffers, so now I’ve learned to be a bit ruthless about which projects are speaking to me the most at any given time and put my energy there, knowing and trusting that the rest will be there waiting when I come back to them, at least in some form or fashion.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

Oh yes, for sure. Most of my songs and ideas originate on the guitar, sometimes just searching for a sound with all my effects. I’ve built a pretty ridiculous guitar rig over the years and I can also run my hardware synths through it. This always opens up doors for me and gets me into certain frames of mind, which usually leads to discovery of inspiring ideas. The Arturia MatrixBrute and Moog DFAM have been go-to’s for me on the synth side.

I’m fully invested into the UAD interface and plug-in ecosystem, which I just love. It really has become another creative tool for me, not just part of the mixing process.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

I think the most valuable wisdom that I can offer is how powerful it can be to begin to look at the business side of your career as something you can apply all your creativity to. When I realized that business is also a creative process and I could use my artistic skills to help develop my business, it was a game-changer for me.

Usually, people keep creativity and “business” as separate things. I’ve decided to look at business as just another craft I can apply creativity to. It’s allowed me to open lots of doors that prior to that realization I stayed away from.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I’ve been working with headphones as long as I have been making music. But the Audeze LCD-Xs are the first really really high end pair I’ve owned. In the past I’ve typically used them for tracking and referencing mixes against what I hear coming out of the speakers.

I love connecting with people who are blazing their own paths in the arts and business. There is so much possibility right now for a real renaissance in how creators are able to bring their work to the world and make a living doing it. People can find me on Instagram or YouTube, I’d love to hear other folk’s stories about their journey. We can all learn from each other.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them so far?

I have been working with the Audeze LCD-X headphones for almost a year now. I can say without doubt they are exceptional. Audio is sparklingly crisp, neutral and balanced. When I am mixing anything, I use these headphones to check against what I'm hearing in the room. They are amazing. Also, they are super comfortable, so I'm wearing them during tracking vocals and other live audio in my studio in addition to mixing sessions. I recommend these to anyone working on professional audio!!

Matt Urmy's Audeze LCD-X headphones