Matthew Duffy’s sophomore album ‘explores ways we can get back to connecting with each other.’
Matthew Duffy’s debut album, “Here I Come,” created waves in clubs three years ago, helping to usher in the electro sound that has since taken over the world’s dancefloors. Led by the Billboard hit “Electric Shock,” and then “Little Bird,” Duffy was able to combine old school house with electro madness and strong pop melodies.
The seductive album established Duffy as a revolutionary artist, not afraid to shake things up on the playground. Now he returns with “The Healing Machine.”
This time, Duffy is something of an activist, taking on global issues like hate crimes, the war and the environment. The first single, “#1 Enemy” — currently playing in heavy rotation on LOGO’s “The Click List” — is one of several tracks on the album to address those Duffy holds responsible for the state of the world.
Some fans might be surprised to learn where the young artist points his finger of blame.
Why did you title your sophomore album “The Healing Machine?”
I was inspired by Cat Stevens’ song, “The Wind,” which I cover on the album. There is a line in it that says, “I let my music take me where my heart wants to go.” Music for me is my healing machine.
You tackle some hefty issues on the album.
The world is spinning so fast and I’m finding that as we develop more modes of communication, we are becoming more disconnected. In this new album, I explore ways we can get back to connecting with each other. In the end, the only way we can grow and ultimately heal is through each other.
Would you say the world is screwed up?
Definitely. We’re stuck in a war we can’t get out of. Healthcare is a joke and we’re heading toward a recession. Don’t even get me started on gay rights.
We’ve made some important strides with gay marriage, but we have also experienced some major setbacks recently.
Yes, especially with the increase in hate crimes. It’s shameful. But you know, I think we as a community are partly to blame.
We underestimate our potential. We need to use our collective strength as gay men and women instead of working separately on vital issues. Also, I think many in the gay community are selling themselves short by being destructive with drugs and unsafe sex.
So, would you say that we are our own number one enemy?
I would. Nice lead in to my new single, by the way.
It’s a powerful song, Matthew. And the video is sparking a lot of interest, too.
The video for the song is about injustice and standing up for who you are and what you believe in. It’s also about struggling with your own self and those who want to disparage you.
When I watched it, I saw a story of redemption and that “one love will set us free.”
Exactly! And that one love is yourself. In the end, you must rely on yourself to be strong and powerful.
What is the significance of the kiss on the forehead?
The man represents a prophet or a life force that cleanses my character of hatred and shame.
He is gorgeous!
His name is Blake Towsley. He’s an actor we discovered in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, he is straight.
Your first album, “Here I Come,” was a critical and commercial success. How will you repeat that success with the new album?
I learned so much and continue to learn from my first record. On the business side, I developed an incredible understanding of the music machine and how each part — licensing, production, distribution — plays in getting your music heard and your art seen. From my fans, I really learned so much about how life surprises you and how lucky I am to be making music for people.
Will you do anything differently this time?
I will plan a proper tour with this release. On the first album, I was so busy writing and recording the second album, I couldn’t break out of the studio. This time, I’m taking a much needed breather from the studio and hitting the road.
How do you feel “The Healing Machine” compares to your debut?
The new album shows my musical growth. It’s a lot more aggressive then “Here I Come.” I utilize a real rock foundation on some tracks and some experimental and untraditional synths and percussion elements as well. I definitely approached the album and each song as a story that I share both sonically and lyrically.
I was a big fan of your first album, but the message in the new album is exponentially more powerful.
My goal with “Here I Come” was to challenge my fans to think of the reality we lived in at the time. In “The Healing Machine,” I am asking people to look at themselves and reflect how they are directly affecting today’s reality.