A Tsawwassen musician has gone back to his roots this summer.
Singer/songwriter Matthew Presidente recently released a new collection of songs on an album titled With the Boys. The collection is a celebration of an original musical catalogue as well as a long history of musical comradery - both spanning nearly 20 years. Presidente revisits these tunes “with the boys” - a band of musicians that grew up in Tsawwassen, Ladner and Richmond and have all been performing together and inspiring each other for many years.
These songs, honed over many gigs and infused with the energy of his live shows, were recorded live off-the-floor at East Vancouver’s Suna Studios.
“I have been involved in the Vancouver music scene as well as the queer community for a very long time as a solo artist,” Presidente said. “The album title refers to the culmination of a musical journey which required a lot of collaboration and teamwork. Throughout my career I’ve done five different albums, so we took one or two from each of those, and songs we do live and fresh versions we did with the band, so we wanted to put out a bit of a collection.”
Highlights of the album include 2010’s Rainbow Reaction (a pride anthem refreshed with Mikey Chamzuk’s groovy drums and Ian Malinski’s infectious bass riffs), 2002’s Red Light (a much updated recording hilighting Pedwell & Presidente’s harmonies built over their history of performance as a duo) and the quirky, previously unreleased SP Death of MP (a staple in Presidente’s live shows) finally getting a full band treatment.
The album was released on all digital platforms in early July and coincided with a full band performance at the Backstage Lounge.
“We had an amazing show with a packed house and since then the reaction from the album, people who have gone onto Spotify or Apple Music to listen to it, they seem to really be enjoying the new sound, especially those who have been listening to my music for a long time and get a fresh, new take on some of them,” he said.
“The project started as a live record, but it just got a little more involved than that and we decided to make it a little greatest hits and a refresh, but mostly to celebrate the band.”
Presidente was raised in Tsawwassen, where he began playing piano at age 10. Since then he has gone on to master guitar and percussion, but considers himself a piano player by trade.
Since his debut in 1999, he has been showcasing his original material with standing shows at notable music venues such as The Dufferin Hotel, The Railway Club, The Backstage Lounge and Numbers Cabaret.
“What I have done over the years has been solo primarily, but in the last two years I brought on this band and it’s just created such a unique sound we had to do the album. I think people have really enjoyed this new evolution.”