My name is Matthew Ebel. I’m a piano rocker who lives in Boston and in the last few decades I have lived as 6 different people.
I call myself a piano rocker, but I’m really just kind of a goofball. People tell me that they’re fans because I write some funny stuff, some emotionally charged stuff, and I tend to experiment with my sound a lot. I’ll take their word for it, but you can find out for yourself by listening to the tunes. Right now I’m part of a project that’s thrust me into the lives of many, many different people.
Life #1: The Good Student
I grew up in Washington State not unlike any other American boy. I started learning how to play the piano at age five and took lessons for the next twenty years. Sometime in my teens I decided to make music my life, though at the time I was into Contemporary Christian music. I even got my Music degree from a small Christian school, Whitworth University, because of its amazing music program. Hey, it was what spoke to me at the time, I don’t judge you. I released two CCM albums, Life’s Been Good and Filling The Pages, before packing up everything I owned and heading to the Music City.
Life #2: The Music City Renegade
Almost immediately after moving to Nashville, I ditched the Christian Music scene and tried to figure out where to go next. I didn’t want to write every song and every album about the same subject for the rest of my career, even though I still believed in God. Would you want to read the same book every night? Watch the same movie? Sleep with the same man or woman? Well, okay, the last one makes sense, but that’s not important right now.
A former college classmate helped me record and release The Wee Hours EP, a collection of live recordings that I could pass around my new city. Within a year I had begun backing up other bands ranging from indie funk to southern rock to major-label country stars. I backed up Billy Currington at the Grand Ole Opry and played a lot of cover gigs in bars I wouldn’t want to get drunk in again. Still, I sensed another big change coming soon.
Life #3: The Space Pirate Captain
In 2005 the perfect marriage of music and technology presented itself: Podcasting. I had been recording some tunes by myself using a new piece of Apple software called Garageband, so I sent a couple tunes to some prominent podcasters. Songs like Drive Away and I Know You’re There spread across the globe so fast I knew I was on to something. Local friend and engineer Gabe Long took my Garageband clips and forged them into my first professional-sounding piano rock release, Beer & Coffee.
Along with launching myself into a new genre, I also launched myself into space. I started producing my own outer-space themed music podcast, High Orbit, featuring indie artists, robots, aliens, and guests like CD Baby founder Derek Sivers. Soon afterwards I recorded my second piano rock release, a concept album called Goodbye Planet Earth which followed the journey of a man lost in space. Two years later the podcast would return as The High Orbit Holiday Special, a Christmas album complete with spaceship battles, original tunes, Christmas classics, and 200-foot-long evil space sharks.
Just like every Christmas album should have.
Life #4: The Animal
The podcasting hype was short-lived, but it was too late for me. I had officially moved out of Nashville and began living as a vagrant troubadour on the internet. My first stop was the virtual world they called Second Life, a realm where I could control everything from gravity to my own species. In a world where I can be anything, why the hell would I stay human? I played regular shows as a piano-banging bird named Hali Heron, quickly overpowering SL’s capacity for online concert attendees. As much as I wanted to stay feathery, I had to find a bigger tree my fans could roost in.
In 2007 a startup called UStream made me one of their Featured Performers, allowing me to broadcast directly from my own studio to the rest of the galaxy. Well, the world at least. I began playing weekly concerts online, catching the attention of everyone from NPR heavyweight WBUR to Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls. During this time I moved my body and all my stuff up to Boston to follow the wave of innovation in technology. Still, though, I felt disconnected from my fans. Something was missing.
Life #5: The Interactive Architect
My life changed again in 2008 when I found myself marooned on a resort island playing covers at Block Island’s hottest beach club. Gas had jumped over $4 per gallon in the US, destroying any chance of touring as an independent artist. Thanks to the successes of my internet adventures, I now had a fan base that spanned the globe. And I couldn’t afford to hang out with most of them thanks to the oil companies.
That summer I poured countless hours into a revolutionary new online concept: Matthew Ebel dot net. I promised live recordings, new songs every month, annual goodie bags, and even a VIP Beer Bash at my studio once a year for those fans that were brave enough to get on board. Those that did became the elite, the revolutionary– the fans that refused to watch the modern music industry die with the big record labels. These brave new fans stuck with me long enough to release three new albums called Songs from the Vault.
Now they’re sticking with me for the creation of the most complex project I’ve ever undertaken.
Life #6: The Lives of Dexter Peterson
Rewinding back to 2005, I had dabbled in writing short stories and even finished a NaNoWriMo novel called The Lives of Dexter Peterson before leaving Nashville. Six years later, that story would become the focus of all my creative output. More than just a story, the final project will include a full-length musical album, a graphic novel penned by Genesis Whitmore, a novella, an audiobook, remixable tracks, and a collection of behind-the-scenes updates released exclusively to my Matthew Ebel dot net subscribers.
Dexter Peterson is a man who, like me, has lived many lives over the years. Unlike me, however, he’s been everything from a WWII soldier to a high priest in a post-apocalyptic society. In fact, he’s lived as over 11,000 different people with no control over where or when he lands next. All he knows is that for the last few lives he’s been followed by a girl named Alexandria. The same girl, no matter what life he’s thrown into. Though he can’t figure out how to stop his life from fracturing further, all he knows is that he’s destined to be with this girl for some reason or another.
By the end of September 2011 Dexter’s lives will finally intersect with mine and the lives of my fans across the galaxy. After that, God only knows where we’ll go next.