Matt Chanway is an instrumental guitar player and lead guitarist for western Canada’s old-school death/thrash metal act, Assimilation.
Matt independently released an eponymous debut album in December 2016, offering some fresh, unique compositions and fiery guitar playing to the progressive metal genre. These compositions bridge the gap between old-school and modern progressive rock and metal, and feature upbeat, crunchy riffs, soaring melodies, and tasteful, articulate leads. In addition, Matt also appears on the highly anticipated debut full-length album from Assimilation, The Laws of Power, to be released for worldwide distribution in March 2017. This record is a crushing mix of brutal old-school death metal with hints of thrash, and plenty of scorching leads.
Matt is influenced by countless great musicians, but thanks Jeff Loomis, Chris Broderick, Michael Romeo, George Lynch, Marco Sfogli and Greg Howe for their constant inspiration over the years.
Matt holds a diploma in guitar performance through the University of West London and is also a guitar instructor in his hometown of Vancouver BC.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Matt: My eponymous debut album was released December 2016 and I am very pleased with the final results. Also, my band, old-school death/thrash metal act Assimilation, is releasing a new album on March 17th, titled the Laws of Power. We will be embarking on a short tour to support the album as well.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Matt: Ever since being drawn to the power of metal as a teenager and taking to practicing obsessively.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Matt: I’ve been playing guitar for 13 years, I also have a diploma in guitar performance through the University of West London. I have always played thrash/progressive metal but in recent years began writing in an instrumental style as well which became my debut album.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Matt: I think it’s going to be different for each individual listener. Really for me it’s about conveying a variety of different moods, both bright and dark, throughout the duration of the album. As opposed to only dark, heavy atmospheres.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Matt: Right now, I’m just working on building more exposure for my solo material and for Assimilation.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Matt: Become a cult fan favorite in prog metal!
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Matt: They are such different experiences; you just cannot swap one for another in my opinion. The adrenaline of playing live, but then the quiet satisfaction of crafting together an intricate piece.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Matt: I haven’t toured extensively yet, but Assimilation will be touring this Spring so there will surely be some solid antics arising from that!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Matt: You know nothing really that strange has come up yet. Most people I’ve dealt with have been super gracious and kind.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Matt: Not really to be honest. That’s OK.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Matt: I’m not presently playing my solo stuff live but once I do, I’m most stoked to jam out ‘The Receiver of Wisdom.’
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Matt: Funnily enough it was initially Guns N Roses – simple reasons really, loved their stage presence, driving riffs, and leads!
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Matt: I would love to open up for an act like Conquering Dystopia, Alluvial, or Revocation.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Matt: Just my debut solo album, to conceptualize and lay down a cohesive instrumental album that flows in such a way, while keeping the extremity of the technique and compositional approach, is definitely my defining moment so far as a musician.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Matt: Tough to say really, but I’ve had other jobs before music and teaching, business/office type jobs so I would probably be just doing that!
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Matt: I use the Kemper profiler head right now, with a Maxon OD-808 in front of it. Guitars right now I’m using a few different prestige and premium models.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Matt: There is definitely a lot of talented acts emerging so it is a very exciting time to be involved and hear musicians constantly pushing the boundaries. Only drawback I would say is it can be tough to gain visibility due to the sheer volume of bands.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Matt: I used to be a competitive physique athlete.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Matt: Progressive, high-energy, thrashy instrumental metal.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Matt: Just to say thanks for checking this interview, check my album out if you have not done so already, and also check out Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XSRock!
Matt: Thanks so much for the interview!