Pacifico
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Pacifico

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When I was a senior in high school, I went to go see Calibretto (formerly Calibretto 13) in Marietta, GA (a suburb of Atlanta) at this venue Swayze's. I had just fallen in love with shooting and editing videos, and when I heard the local opener, Pacifico, I knew I wanted to do a music video for them. Nearly five years later, I'm now interviewing one of the members.

Pacifico has had some off time here and there, but Matt Schwartz just finished up in the studio with producer Jason Martin from Starflyer 59 to follow his self-produced Pacifico EPFacedown. He gave me a copy of Facedown to listen to, and the first thing I noticed was that it was different than the Pacifico I shot a music video for. The Pacifico I saw hinged on balls-to-the-wall rock n roll guitar parts, but the Pacifico I am hearing now has developed into a band with songwriting that doesn't have to depending on that. This Pacifico has melodies and harmonies that carry the song. Granted, the old Pacifico had this as well, and the new Pacifico still rocks, but his attention to melody has opened up his perception to dynamics, and I like it.



I asked him how this had developed, imagining this must have been a clear decision in the songwriting process.



"Interesting you say that," Schwartz said. "I have always thought Pacifico was both or maybe I have always wanted it to be both. There wasn't a clear decision to stop making riffs, and on the new album I just recorded with Jason Martin there are a few rock songs with riffs. I think I have decided that I let the songs write themselves. They just are birthed and then I try to cultivate them to where I am, what I am into at the time and mostly into what they are meant to be in my eyes. I want Pacifico to have phases more like Elvis Costello or Beck in the fact that I don't want to be boxed into a mold."

I don't know if you've ever listened to Starflyer 59, but they were one of the best bands Tooth and Nail put out in the 90s, back when Tooth and Nail was worth something.



"I was so excited to work with him since I have listened to his stuff since I was in high school and the new album will have a real clear, sunny California sound, with some Beach Boys, clean and pretty vocals with a hint of 80's influence. He knew what we wanted. He actually recorded the drums while I was in NC and then I came and we just hacked away at it, but he had a clear sound in his head and it sounds great."



As a songwriter, I know how hard it is to have someone else tell you how to do something. If you don't know how hard it is, it has the same emotional impact that a mother telling a child not to do something; either they grudgingly listen or they do it anyway. Sometimes that is what it takes to make a great record. Ask Frank Black circa 1988.



"This is the first time in a while that I have taken a back seat to my recording and it was very hard. He wants everything simple and I like chaos." When I asked him if working with him will effect how he produces his own material and other bands in the future, he told me "I will pay attention to trying not to overload the song with too many layers."



The new album won't come out into Spring 2009, but the Facedown EP should be enough to hold you over until then. In fact, he was nice enough to give you a track to download called "Ruby." - Columbia City Paper


Matthew Schwartz has some great advice to anyone struggling to come up with that perfect name for their band: Pick one that might land you some nice fringe benefits. He, of course, didn’t do this intentionally when he formed his band Pacifico (www. myspace.com/pacifico) in 1999, as the name was borrowed from the title of an album by the Lassie Foundation. But a sponsorship from Anheuser-Busch landed Schwartz enough of the Mexican-style lager Pacifico to fuel a weekend on frat row, among other forms of reimbursement.

“I had 28 cases of Pacifico sitting in my garage at one point,” Schwartz said. “There was so much that I would have parties and just send it home with people.”

Don’t expect to just go out with names like Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Rasputin or Milwaukee’s Best Ice and expect to be handed a lifetime supply of brew, though you deserve the resultant hangovers should you name your band after the Beast. It takes a good amount of actual musical talent to get noticed in such a way that merits commercial backing, and Schwartz has no shortage of that. Just don’t beg him to pen any song vocals for you. “I hate writing lyrics, it’s just so hard,” Schwartz said with a big grin on his face. “But I know it’s important to a lot of people, so I do my best to make sure that they’re good.” Part Jeff Tweedy and part Matthew Sweet with a little bit of Superchunk thrown in for good measure, Pacifico has been Schwartz’s brainchild since 1999. He started it as a vehicle for unrecorded music from his previous acts, but over time it has become something with which he genuinely identifies as his own. Still, he is far from opposed to collaborations outside of the scope of what he wants to do with Pacifico.

“Pacifico is my baby and my thing, but I’m not opposed to trying other things,” Schwartz added. “To me, I can’t really control [my music]. If something comes out, I want to share it with the world.”

Born to a minister of music, he began singing and playing piano in church at an early age. Like many children, he was initially distasteful of his parental directive to take piano lessons, though Schwartz says he became more and more grateful for the instruction over time. It led to him picking up guitar, bass and drums, which allowed him to have maximum input into his work. He released an EP in July of 2008 entitled Facedown, where he not only wrote all of the music and lyrics, but played all of the instruments as well. “I want to do every album a little bit differently, whether that is different producers or musicians, co-written by someone or recorded live,” he stated.

Though his church upbringing has had a marked impact on his music, he doesn’t quite consider his music to be of religious nature. He does, however, acknowledge that his inspiration is rooted as much in God as it is in friendship, love and life in general.

“I’m a Christian who plays rock and roll, but not necessarily a Christian musician,” he stated. He started playing with Monday in London when his previous band members went on to other projects, which prompted a move from Atlanta to Winston-Salem. He played with them until the past year, with some attention devoted to Pacifico in his spare time. He eventually began devoting more time to his own project, with Monday in London bassist Wes Clifton and drummer Robbie Adkins joining him. The band’s next full release, the 13-track Thin Skin & An Open Heart, is due in May and is being produced by Jason Martin of Starflyer 59. Schwartz stated that it will be similar to Facedown in that it will have more rocking, up-tempo material, but also much different than anything he’s previously released.

“It’s going to be very diverse,” Schwartz said. “I don’t want to say it’s avant-garde, but it will have a very eclectic feel to it.” - YES! Weekly


Pacifico is the continual gestation of singer/songwriter Matthew Schwartz. Pacifico’s new EP, Facedown, is the latest entry into an ongoing personal songbook of material. Last March, Pacifico released Anthology, a collection of work from the last five years.

Bear in mind that Pacifico is not a band but, perhaps, a state of mind; the songs akin to discovery, acceptance or confrontation. Facedown’s brevity is like an author who releases novellas or short stories about emotion and relationships versus an action-packed novel. The songs on Facedown come off indifferent – dissimilar colors or flavors, lingering long after the notes fade away. Each song stands freely against others, energetic yet frozen like a drawn out singular moment. Songs range from happy (“17th & Something”) to ethereal (“Facedown”), all brimming with sentiment.

Easily categorized as indie pop or Britpop, the notion that Schwartz is not a new distillation would tragically be taking the wrong road, betraying the vibe and clarity Schwartz creates pleasantly on Facedown. His pop songs are more than catchy melodies and choruses. The ideas are cozy, multi-fabricated quilts delivered with quaint layering.

Take the playful, childlike notes at the end of “17th & Something” or the underbelly of talking and noise on “I Fell in Love with a Ghost,” the latter of which recalls the esoteric qualities of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. Schwartz’s vocals sound like Elliot Smith meets Marc Bolan, with the strident climbing and falling of a Kinks song. “Ruby,” for example, is a simple happy and textured song. On it, Schwartz sounds like Stephen Duffy uttering tangential lyrics, like, “You call my name whenever everyone else seems the same,” and ending with the equally earnest, “All I ever wanted was love.”

While Schwartz is anything but happy-go-lucky, Facedown does its job, leaving the listener wanting and wondering about more from Schwartz. (Allalom Music) - Southeastern Performer Magazine



Thin Skin and an Open Heart, the latest release from Pacifico, the braintrust of singer/songwriter Matthew Schwartz finds the former Georgian now happily esconced in Winston-Salem, NC and without a true backing band. Thin Skin though is lucky in that it features a supporting cast of stellar musicians, including: Robert McDowell and Jeremiah Edmon of Manchester Ochestra, Jason Martin of Starflyer 59, Jason Mask of Gasoline Heart and Steven Dial of Project 86.

The album opens with the thinly veiled opening 90 seconds of "Prologue," before pushing onto the pop gloss of "Backtrack to Me," a song with driving guitars and a walloping chorus. And then things head south. Third track "O, Caroline" and fourth track, "Elliot," are awash in frail and limp vocal melodies who are drowned out by dense atmospheric layers and a searching rhythm section. All that changes though on the sweeping grace of "Friends and Lovers" where midtempo movements meet with falsetto vocals and Byrds-like riffs. The punchy and danceable "Stop!" is sun-drenched and caffeinated even though the vocals aren't entirely audible. Thankfully, Schwartz settles down on the acoustic and moody "Annie Oakley" which has a decidedly Beatles-esque vibe and top notch lyrics. The album falls off again when "Babylon," and "Salvation Army," don't really do all that much, but is rescued by the autumnal and wistful "We Are The Easily Forgotten." Melancholic, poignant and bittersweet, the song can arguably stake its claim as one of the best mid-tempo songs released this year. Triumphant, hypnotic and powerful, "We Are The Easily Forgotten," is the kind of song Schwartz can hang his entire career on. Some artists will write for years and never touch a song as good as this. The tepid "Something's Going Wrong Again follows," backed up by the spiky rocker "Shine On," before finishing with the undeniably earnest closer "Close Your Eyes and Dream"

Now eight albums (including three EPs, a rarities disc and a greatest hits) into his career, Schwartz is a consistent, hardworking musician who does it the right way every time out. Despite the fact that Thin Skin and An Open Heart falls off in places, its positive moments are well worth remembering. Possessing a penchant for indelible melodies and a keen devotion to indie, DIY sentiments, Thin Skin and an Open Heart is a pleasant and amiable record that solidifies Pacifico's place in the current musical climate: straightforward, no-nonsense indie rock done created for all the right reasons. When all is said and done, that's a pretty hard formula to argue with. - absolutepunk.com


It’s amazing exactly how Matthew Schwartz’s Pacifico (www.myspace.com/ pacifico) project continues to fly so far under the pop radar, but with the strong effort in the form of his eighth studio release, the dearth of attention may just be rectified. Going into Thin Skin and an Open Heart without a regular backing band, Schwartz recruited a dynamite group of musicians to accompany him in this collection of mostly well-crafted, rocking pop tunes that includes Robert McDowell and Jeremiah Edmon of Manchester Ochestra, regular collaborator Jason Martin of Starflyer 59, Steven Dial from Project 86 and Gasoline Heart’s Jason Mask. Maybe it’s the Winston-Salem effect, but the album opens with a barrage of considerable post-jangle with “Back Track Back to Me” and “Caroline, Oh,” while “Elliot” tones down the starry-eyed sentimentality considerably.

Things get really interesting with “Friends & Lovers,” a faintly countryfolk-inflected track driven by Schwartz’s longing falsetto that stands out as one of the strongest songs on the album and the shadowy contrast found there is carried forward by the hard bass walk of “Annie Oakley.” The momentum subsides on the latter half of the album with the ostentatious and somewhat emo “We Are the Easily Forgotten” and “Something’s Going Wrong Again,” but Thin Skin and an Open Heart as a whole is a strong effort from a hard-working and deserving artist. - YES! Weekly



I should tell you about Allalom Music’s current special. If you pre-order Pacifico’s new album, Thin Skin and an Open Heart, for $12, the label will throw in another one of its releases for free. The CDs will ship on August 4.
I know it’s really hard to convince people to pay for music in these days, especially when it’s a band they’ve never heard of, but that’s just what I’m doing.
Pacifico is not really a big and famous band, so I’ll post one of its pop songs, “Ruby,” from its Facedown EP as a teaser. (And since the band worked with a couple of the Starflyer 59 guys on the new record, I expect to hear even more, hopelessly romantic, jangly, British-leaning rock.)

It’s amazing exactly how Matthew Schwartz’s Pacifico (www.myspace.com/ pacifico) project continues to fly so far under the pop radar, but with the strong effort in the form of his eighth studio release, the dearth of attention may just be rectified. Going into Thin Skin and an Open Heart without a regular backing band, Schwartz recruited a dynamite group of musicians to accompany him in this collection of mostly well-crafted, rocking pop tunes that includes Robert McDowell and Jeremiah Edmon of Manchester Ochestra, regular collaborator Jason Martin of Starflyer 59, Steven Dial from Project 86 and Gasoline Heart’s Jason Mask. Maybe it’s the Winston-Salem effect, but the album opens with a barrage of considerable post-jangle with “Back Track Back to Me” and “Caroline, Oh,” while “Elliot” tones down the starry-eyed sentimentality considerably.

Things get really interesting with “Friends & Lovers,” a faintly countryfolk-inflected track driven by Schwartz’s longing falsetto that stands out as one of the strongest songs on the album and the shadowy contrast found there is carried forward by the hard bass walk of “Annie Oakley.” The momentum subsides on the latter half of the album with the ostentatious and somewhat emo “We Are the Easily Forgotten” and “Something’s Going Wrong Again,” but Thin Skin and an Open Heart as a whole is a strong effort from a hard-working and deserving artist.

Pacifico is the project/band of Matthew Schwartz. I identify with a guy writing pop songs but never having a consistent band with whom to record and play.
The album would be at home amongst albums by Jimmy Eat World, Copeland, Richard Swift, Death Cab for Cutie and Starflyer 59.
Speaking of Starflyer 59, the album was produced Jason Martin and features other members of that band, and it sounds like it was recorded immediately after Dial M was recorded. Same drum sounds, mixing and everything. That’s not totally a good thing, as Schwartz veers into some Kinks-like territory toward the end, and some looser production should have been in order.
The first song, “(Prelude),” sounds way too much like a Richard Swift song. And that’s a good thing.
The song title, “Caroline, Oh,” is cute.
“We Are the Easily Forgotten” is the best song on the album. Super catchy. Check it out.
Schwartz’s vocals are almost always doubled, and there are usually many more layers by the time he reaches his choruses. I would like to hear him a little more bare; push back the instruments and allow a lone vocal to shine. From my own recording experience, it seems like his singing to the other vocal layers stifles his desire to convey more emotion, at times.
“Salvation Army” sound a lot like a Sam Billen or Death Cab for Cutie song.
Overall, it’s a catchy and pleasant album. I’m kicking myself for missing the band play at The Beaumont last week - Radio free Raydown


Track 1 engineered and mastered by Don

Schuler, Produced by Matthew Schwartz |

Track 2 engineered, mixed and produced by

Matt Goldman at Glow in the Dark Studios in Atlanta, GA | Tracks 3-10 engineered and mixed by Marc Mcclusky at Fireball Sound Studios in Atlanta, GA, produced by Matthew

Schwartz, additional engineered by Jeremy Zamora | Tracks 11 engineered and mixed by Mike Wilkes, produced by Matthew Schwartz and Mike Wilkes | Tracks 12-19 engineered and mixed by Jeremiah Edmond, produced by Matthew Schwartz and Jeremiah Edmond at Vintage Sound Studios in Atlanta, GA

Bored with the mundane sounds of the office room's quiet storm? Then run to your doctor for a prescription of Pacifico's Anthology. Pacifico is not a band; it's an idea. The brainchild of singer/songwriter Matthew Schwartz, Pacifico is alternative at it's finest, fusing Brit-pop, glam and good ol' rock 'n' roll.

Pacifico maintains an exceptional blend of aggressively high vocals complimenting its signature electric guitar. Pacifico's tunes may sound familiar, as they've already served as background on MTV sitcoms. Anthology is a compilation of Schwartz's best works as well previously unreleased songs. The age-old breakup anthem is given a new twist with Pacifico's "Walking Away." This bipolar ballad belts out a play-by-play of how to successfully find love, lose love and recoup from it.

"So, So, Radio" doesn't aim at becoming your iPod's best friend. Instead the song demands modern radio to "wake up" and replenish our airwaves with substance. A standout track from Anthology, "So, So Radio" takes everything you learnt in Anger Management class and throws it out the window.

Sandwiched in the middle of the album is "Lacklustre," but this kickdrum track is far from that. "Lacklustre" succeeds at being a pivotal climax of the album relying much on its high-energy cords and bass.

Pacifico's Anthology shouldn't be categorized as easy listening, however, it is quite fair to say that the album's balanced tone is safe for pace makers of all ages. (Allalom Music) - Southeastern Performer Magazine


This 28-year-old musician was born in Dickson, Tenn. on Aug. 20, and according to his family he showed musical interest at a surprisingly young age. Originally from the Atlanta area, Matt Schwartz began his career on a professional level with a music business degree from Georgia State University. But the "biz" isn't what it's all about for this singer-songwriter. His focus is geared more towards his personal, life-long relationship with music, which today manifests itself in a project he created called Pacifico.

Widely known for his argument against "the industry," he preaches his music not as a "band," but as an idea - a personal outlet for art and passion. Pacifico was Georgia-born in 1999, but after a few years and some schooling, the project was waylaid when Schwartz was asked to join as the front man and singer/guitarist/pianist for Winston-Salem's now defunct rock band, Monday In London. He made the decision at the time to relocate to North Carolina with a positive attitude and excitement for what was yet to unfold. Investing time and tour with Monday In London made for a positive growing experience, but after four years they grew apart and therefore moved on to other projects. This gave Schwartz more time to spend on his original love, Pacifico.

Classical music and oldies were his biggest influences - more of a pure sense of music than trend and formula. It was important to him to learn multiple instruments, theory and the history of the sounds before creating his own. His all-time favorite records include the Beatles' Abbey Road and Radiohead's Kid A (Thom Yorke being an obvious vocal influence in Schwartz's live show).

Every day, his love for the Triad's local music is growing. His current favorite would be House of Fools, one of Greensboro's hometown bands he has had the honor to share the stage with. Other NC bands that he has enjoyed performing alongside include Rookie of the Year, Evoka, Autopassion, Joy Electric and In Passing.

You might recognize Schwartz from a few collaborations including, and not limited to, an split-EP with Copeland and vocals with arrangements for Rookie of the Year and Harrison Hudson. This spring he had a full-length 19-track release on Allalom Records for Pacifico entitled Anthology, full of power pop, rock and roll, and even spurts of pop-punk similar to Green Day. The album is more like a mixed tape that sounds like musical ADD (you know, people who can just barely listen to one full song before they flip their iPod to something else, usually completely different); it keeps you hooked. But he just can't stop. Immediately after the release, he has plans to release an EP entitled Facedown, shipping out July 15, with plans no more than two weeks later to start recording his first solo album out on the West Coast with producer Jason Martin (Starflyer 59/Jason Colinger).

So, what makes him think he can do an entire record on his own? Perhaps his well-known vocal talent and guitar, or how about the fact he can also play the piano, bass, drums, trumpet, baritone, harmonica and didjeridoo? Do you even know what that is? Regardless, even with the recent band break-up, Matt has no plans to move away from the Triad.

"I love it here," he says. "Winston and Greensboro have such a great music scene that I really feel is on the verge of just exploding."

His next show is at his favorite venue, Greene Street accompanying Sinking the Shoreline (myspace.com/sinkingtheshoreline), Far-Less (myspace.com/farless) and Telescreen (myspace.com/telescreenmusic) on Friday. - YES! Weekly


Pacifico
Thin Skin and an Open Heart
Variety is not just the spice of life; it’s also an element that helps keep CD reviewers from taking their own lives. And the variety expressed throughout Pacifico’s Thin Skin And An Open Heart is a true lifesaver. “Friends & Lovers” begins with a country lilt, before wonderfully harmonized vocals kick in. This one is followed by “Stop!,” which is driven by an irresistible power-pop electric guitar riff. It’s hard to find a lot that is overtly spiritual on this offering, lyrically speaking, although “Salvation Army” hints at Christianity’s role in a person’s life. But then again, it could just be about hitting rock bottom and shopping at thrift stores. Yet it is primarily the sounds, and not the messages, that make this such a fine effort. One song is titled “We Are The Easily Forgotten,” but nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the band Pacifico. [Allalom] dan macintosh - HM Magazine


Discography

Thin Skin & An Open Heart
Facedown EP
Side B: Rarities and covers
Anthology
Copeland/Pacifico Split EP
Still On Hold EP
"What Else can I do?" was featured on MTV show "What Now?"
"It's Just You" was on the Christian music Charts
"xMultiplyx" video was played on FUSE
"Stop!" will be featured as a download on Xbox Live for Rockband

Photos

Bio

Pacifico is not a band.

It's an idea. True, it is the musical journey of singer/songwriter Matthew Schwartz, but Pacifico is more about the music than one person. Pacifico started in the summer of 1999 and since has gone through many changes but has always remained a solid outlet for great music. Through their releases, from the 2000 “Still On Hold” (produced by the acclaimed Matt Goldman of Copeland & Underoath fame), 2001’s “Split EP” they did with Copeland (both produced by Matt Goldman of Copeland & Underoath fame), to the 2006 release of “Anthology” a collection of their best songs and unreleased gems (produced by Mark McClusky, and Jeremiah Edmond of Manchester Orchestra) and the “Facedown EP” (a stripped down showing of Matthew’s singer/songwriting skills, produced by Brandon Swafford) to finally “Thin Skin & An Open Heart” (produced by Jason Martin of Starflyer 59 / Fine China fame with preproduction by Robert McDowell and Jeremiah Edmond of Manchester Orchestra) Pacifico’s long anticipated debut full length record is packed with a punch of personal yet catchy tunes.

Having previously been featured on MTV, FUSE, a Subway commercial and Billboard.com, they continue to push through the music scene playing 100+ shows a year. But the music doesn’t stop when the show is over, when not on stage recording and writing are continuously in motion for this band. Pacifico is a true offering in amazing songs, great shows and an honest look into the heart.