An interview with Matt Rohrer of Golden West Service

By Justin Mendez


JM: Your band is just you?

MR: I perform with different people and I have other people play on the recordings, but I write all the lyrics.


JM: And you play all the instruments?

MR: Yeah. On the record [“When You Die”] I play guitar, I sing, I play bass on some of the songs, I play keyboard on some of the songs, and I program the drum beats. But I have friends who play on the songs. My friend Tim, who is in in a cool band called Thee Oh Sees played guitar on some of the songs, and my brother played saxophone on a song.


JM: Are there any songs on the record with just you on it?

MR: The last song on the album, Kitchen Floor, is just me. The whole album was done and I ripped that one on the last week and added it on.


JM: How do you decide when to release your music?

MR: It took a long time to make the record, and after it was done I took two months to make tapes, promote the record, and practice.


JM: What is your music about?

MR: I wrote several of the songs on this record about my friend who died from suicide many years ago. A lot of the album is about loss. A lot of it is also about everyday life. Noticing the way the light looks outside of your window, walking to work, or a conversation you have with your partner. There are some themes of surfing and graffiti that I think are cool.


JM: Why do you include a sample of “The Poltergeist” on the first song, “Blackbird”?

MR: I thought it got at one of the main ideas of what I was thinking of when writing the music for the album. Like a meditation on what death is, what the afterlife is. That quote “There is no death. There is only a transition to a different sphere of consciousness,” is one that I don’t necessarily agree with. But it’s a fresh take on death and that’s what my record is focused around.


Matt Rohrer regularly plays shows in NYC as Golden West Service, occasionally featuring fellow teacher Mary Ann Keeler during his live sets. You can find the album “When You Die” on Spotify and Bandcamp.