5 Questions for Matthew Landrum


The “5 Questions”posts will feature just that: five questions that we sent to an artist or band that we love and their respective answers. This week, we feature Michigan-based singer-songwriter Matthew Landrum. Matthew has been performing his blend of folk/country since he was just a kid and continues to do so, along with editing the poetry magazine Structo and teaching.


1) As much as you can pinpoint it, share with us your own way of songwriting. Do you have a daily routine? Do you work better during a certain part of the day? Do you like working in public places or your own desk? etc?

I used to sit down and play see what came to me. I messed around with tags and hooks until a song emerged. But for the last year, I haven’t had much time for songsmithing. Now I only write songs is in my sleep; I wake up and voice record them. They’re usually near-done by the time we go back to bed and then I finish them off over the next week.

2) What did you listen to this week?

This week I listened to Murry Hammond’s album ‘I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way.’ And ‘Still Crooked’ by Crooked Still.

3) Any book or movie recommendations?

I’ve been having several of my students read ‘A Distant Mirror’ by Barbara Tuchman. When people lack perspective on the past, it leads them to denigrate or aggrandize the present, dangerous things to do. This book, about the Hundred Years’ War, is meant as a mirror to the 20th century and all its carnage. It also has plenty of lessons for our post-moral, uneasy age.

4) What else do you do besides songwriting and performing?

Songwriting is in the farthest backseat these days. I teach a private high school for students with social differences, write and translate poetry, and edit a magazine in the UK.

5) Favorite all time female singer-songwriter—go with your gut.

I love Gillian Welch. Her songs use tropes from traditional music and comfortable metaphors to create something fresh, simple, lovely. I’ve had “Miss Ohio” in my head for a month.

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