by the partae

What is your name and role within The Suitcase Junket?

I am Matt Lorenz, the sole member of The Suitcase Junket.  I write the songs, sing them, play the guitar, a little keyboard and bang on a bunch of homemade percussion with my feet.

How did you start?

I started playing music at a young age by copying my big sister on the piano.  The Junket started back in 2009 as a side project to another band with the same sis.  I wanted to make as many sounds as I could as one person without using loopers or effects and I’m still at it.

Where are you based?

I grew up in Vermont and live in Western Massachusetts.

Please give an example of your music writing process?

I have a few approaches to writing.  One is to improvise with the whole pile of instruments and when something interesting happens, I dig in and work on it, trying to find the appropriate melody, rhythm and feel.  Sometimes I find tunes in the woods, or spelunk around the piano, other times I sit down with the guitar and steal from my heroes.

What are you working on right now?

I am on a search and rescue mission to retrieve half finished song ideas recorded on my phone during tour and finish them.  Then it’ll be time to record another album.  (Also working on the garden and the bathroom.)

photo credit: Joanna Chattman

What is your gear setup?

I sit on a suitcase and play it as a bass drum with my right heel, my right toe plays hi-hat and a box of bones and silverware that works much like a hi-hat, my left toe plays a baby-shoe hitting a gascan, my right heel plays a cookpot and a circular sawblade.  My hands play an old mail-order guitar that I rescued from a dumpster.  Occasionally righty moves over to a little toy keyboard while lefty holds down the guitar lines.  The guitar is split between two mid-50s tube amps, the keyboard goes through a little crap solid state amp and I sing through a clean mic and a dirty vintage mic that crackles out a vox tube amp.

What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?

I like to spend time in the woods with my dog, work around the house with my sweetheart and make things. All of this definitely affects what I create musically.  In general I collect, dissect and reconstruct. This theme applies across mediums, whether it’s old wood scrapped back together in the form of a bird or a series of images and emotions that get glued into a song.  The way I live is the way I create; observation, action, reflection, play.

How would you describe your music genre?

I call it Swamp Yankee music. It’s basically a child of the blues wearing a folk t-shirt, rock’n’roll pants and a pop hairdo.

Do you know any music theory?


photo credit: David E. Jackson

What are your plans for the future?

To be better.

How did you get into music?

My family got a free piano and I was like a moth to the flame.  After the piano it was violin, then saxophone, then guitar and songs.

What are you listening to at the moment?


Who are your top 5 influences and icons?

That’s an ever changing list.

Here’s a stab at today’s top 5.

Bessie Smith

Jimi Hendrix

Tom Waits

The Kinks

Aretha Franklin.

When are you playing next?

(that depends on when this is coming out i guess?  I’ll give you a list and you can do what you will with it)

6/14 – Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT

6/16 – Stone Mountain Arts Center – Brownfield, ME

6/17 – Clearwater Festival – Croton-On-Hudson, NY

6/18 – Prescott Park – Portsmouth, NH

7/1 – Riverlink Concert Series – Amsterdam, NY

7/2 – Great Blue Heron Festival – Sherman, NY

7/6-9 – Winnipeg Folks Festival – Winnipeg, MB

(there’s plenty more for the rest of the summer so feel free to grab stuff from the calendar if you wanna put more on there)

Featured Photo credit: Joanna Chattman

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