The Extraordinaires

Where Is My Mind?: The Extraordinaires' Matt Gibson


Where Is My Mind?: The Extraordinaires' Matt Gibson

- by Q.D. Tran

The Extraordinaires are one of those wonderfully odd acts that seem like they could only come out of Philly. And they totally kick-ass live! You’ll find their fans head-bobbing and stomping around with such genuine joy that the feeling is rather communal and infectious. The band’s camp was rather quiet in 2013 as they worked on new material in the studio and dealt with more lineup changes. Drummer Evan Smoker left the group, and was replaced by Mike Harkness (ex-Armchairs, ex-Arrah and the Ferns). However, there was the welcomed return of co-founding member Matt Gibson, who had left the band to tour with Man Man when they were on the road in support of Life Fantastic. The Extraordinaires are set to celebrate the release of their new EP Pen Pals tonight at Kung Fu Necktie, and we are happy to get a chance to talk with Gibson about his return, his time with Man Man, the band’s future plans to make a kids show, and much more below. 

The Deli: You recorded some of this EP with the prize that you won from The Deli’s studio time giveaway with Fancy Time Studio’s Kyle “Slick” Johnson. It’s been finished for a while now. Why has it taken you so long to release it?

Matt Gibson: The Pen Pals EP is the only release I didn't record on with the exception of some glockenspiel and group vocals. I was on tour with Man Man when The Extraordinaires won the contest, and went into the studio. Even though I missed out, I am grateful for the Pen Pals recording session because it influenced us to go back to Fancy Time for the full-length.  

The EP has definitely been on the back burner for a while since it was recorded. The new album took priority, and for a while, we weren't sure if the songs on the EP were going on the album or not. We realized we had plenty of new material for the album, and we did a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording. At that point, it seemed like a good idea to hold off on releasing the EP so we could offer it to the kind friends that donated to us! 

TD: What is the most important thing that you learned from working with Johnson in the studio?

MG: Slick is a great match for The Extraordinaires. I think most producers/engineers would get tired of our stupid jokes and smart-ass mentality super fast. Instead of being bummed and awkward, Kyle fueled the flames. I know he is naturally laidback and fun to work with, but I also think he knew that it would be best for the project if we could be ourselves and have fun. Maybe we are just a good match, and we should keep recording with him. I guess the most important thing I learned from him is that he is awesome! 

TD: You spent some time touring as a multi-instrumentalist in Man Man, but now, you are back and focused on The Extraordinaires. What made you decide to leave an already pretty successful national/international touring band? What did you learn on the road with them that you’ll take and incorporate with The Extraordinaires.

MG: I'm psyched that I got a chance to play in Man Man. I missed being in The Extraordinaires while I was away. The whole time I was thinking about how I want to get The Extraordinaires in front of bigger audiences and reach more people. Although it may have been good for my music career, I had trouble staying in Man Man because I love making music. I love collaborating with my bandmates and having fun. Man Man wasn't my band. I would continue to be a technician playing a part if I stayed.  

I learned a lot while I was with them, and for that, I am grateful. I definitely leveled up as a player. I liked how Man Man put on a steamroller of a show, and doesn't waste time talking on the mic. There's a fourth wall, and I think that’s important in entertainment. Thanks Dudes Dudes.

TD: You’ve been back with the band for a while now. What is the reason behind the hiatus or lack of Extraordinaires live performances in the last year or so?

MG: 7 months ago, I had a baby girl! Personally, that’s a big reason why I haven't been playing out as much. Slowly but surely we are getting our show legs back. We spent a year writing an album, and took our attention away from playing shows as much. We also put a lot of work into the Kickstarter campaign that raised the funds needed to make the new album. Also we welcomed a new drummer, Mike Harkness, to the band. It’s taken a while, but we feel like a new band - ready to sonically kick show goers in the crotch. 

TD: The new EP Pen Pals is very eclectic, and I also heard the upcoming LP is as well. How would you describe what kind of music that The Extraordinaires are creating these days?

MG: The Extraordinaires have many musical influences to draw from making for an interesting track listing on an album. Often times, we bounce around from one style/genre to the next, one after the other. Now that lead guitarist Zach Poyatt is contributing as a writer in the band, the array of styles is expanding. 

TD: How do you feel that your sound has evolved/matured on this EP in comparison to your earlier material?

MG: We have been a band in one form or another for almost 10 years. People do a lot of maturing in that amount of time. Jay Purdy and myself started the band back when we were still figuring out basic chords and progressions. We are a lot better now, and we are always progressing as musicians and writers. A big reason for why the EP sounds bigger and better is because of who played on it. Zach Poyatt on guitar, Evan Smoker on drums, Adam Ravitz on bass, and Koofreh Umoren on trumpet. They rule. 

TD: What is the reason why you named the release Pen Pals?

MG: Pen Pals is one of the songs on the EP. The reason we picked that song to represent the EP is because we hope to one day make a kids show based on the song. Jay wrote Pen Pals as if it were the theme song to the show called Pen Pals, a show that encourages the viewer to learn how to draw and put there art in the mail or e-mail so it can be on the show. It’s a work in progress. 

TD: I’m sure that the sudden collapse of your former label Puck Rock Payroll was a shock to you and all the other acts on the roster. You are self-releasing this EP. Are there any plans to release your next full-length album on another label, or will you be self-releasing that as well?

MG: When Punk Rock Payroll collapsed, it took the wind out of our sails. We were crushed. We did everything in-house when it came to releasing music and making merch. In some ways, Jay and I are trying to replicate the process, but overall, we would love to have a label take us on. We are getting the album out this spring/summer to the Kickstarter supporters, and then we are gonna start from scratch with the next album. If you're reading this and you work with a label, get in touch. We are eager to kick ass.  

TD: The Extraordinaires have been known in the past to spend a lot of time on the road. Any plans to start touring again in the near future?

MG: Getting to far from home is more difficult now than it was when we were younger. We plan on concentrating on local shows and then regional and so on. We need to cover costs when we play, and it’s always getting harder to do that. We gotta get paid!

TD: Will there be any special guests, collaborations or surprises that we should get psyched about for your EP release show?

MG: You should get excited for the fact that The Extraordinaires are one of the best live bands in Philadelphia and that we are going to make you move your hips in lots of different directions. I’m really psyched about the fact that I get to play two shows - one with The Extraordinaires, of course, and the other with Lux Perpetua. Get there a little early to catch that set because Lux Perpetua is the best band you haven't heard yet in the city. 

TD: What’s your favorite thing to get at the deli?

MG: Chicken Cutlet Italiano. If I’m at Sarcone's, I get the Chicken Capone. Abruzzi spread Mutha Fuckas!

















The Extraordinaires Headline the NoLibs Winter Music Fest at The Fire Feb. 16

Storytelling sextuplet The Extraordinaires are headlining the Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival tonight at The Fire. The creative fellas will be delivering their anecdotal and cerebral music to masses, with perhaps guest appearances by inflatable and stuffed characters. With The Extraordinaires successfully ending their Kickstarter campaign two months ago, there’s the anticipation for some new narrative tunes that they’ve been working on in the studio with producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson. Joining them this evening will be surf-popsters Conversations With Enemies, singer-songwriter Anjuli Josephine for her CD release, Boston’s psych-rockers Quilt, OhBree with their alt-indie pop, and Philly rock trio TinmouthThe Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., 7:30pm, $10, 21+ - Brandi Lukas 


The Extraordinaires Staying Focused at KFN Jan. 5

Some may qualify the zany musical productions of the Jay Purdy-led Extraordinaires as quirky; however, sometimes creativity doesn’t mold itself into a common shape. Rather than attempting to forcefully place The Extraordinaires into the confines of genre, Purdy and crew focus their creative energies into developing music which is hinged on sound fundamentals - interesting narrative-driven lyrics matted on tight instrumental backdrops. These musical snapshots may change their focus at unexpected times, but the quality remains spot on. Join them tonight at KFN with the soulfully funky twang of You Do You, the punk-rock specialties of Business Model featuring Peter Helmis (of the recently departed Algernon Cadwallader), and electronic outfit Math the Band. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 7:30pm, $8, 21+ - Michael Colavita


New Video: The Space Jockey Pursuit Premiere - The Extraordinaires

In 2010, The Extraordinaires recorded an original score for the feature film The Space Jockey Pursuit. Frontman Jay Purdy recently traveled down to Savannah, Georgia for its premiere. You can find out more about the movie from his video below as well as The Extraordinaires’ Kickstarter campaign, which you can contribute to HERE.


Kickstart Your Evening w/The Extraordinaires at JB’s Oct. 25

Carnival-esque folk-pop outfit The Extraordinaires have been working in the studio with producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson so you can expect some new tunes tonight when they headline Johnny Brenda’s. The band recorded a new EP this year entitled Beware! The All-Seeing EYE! at Fancy Time Studio using their winnings from our studio time giveaway contest with Johnson last year. They also have another new EP from an independent feature film called The Space Jockey Pursuit that they were asked to write and record music for in 2010, and just launched a Kickstarter campaign in support of their 4th full-length album, which will be released on vinyl with their unique handcrafted packaging and a storybook. Check out their new promotional video below for the campaign, and go donate HERE! The Extraordinaires will also be joined this evening by locals The Spinning Leaves and Baltimore’s Hume. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman