LAKELAND – Matthew Lowry says it all goes back to when he seemed bored and restless – and his mom decided to do something about it.
That wasn’t anytime recently for the 26-year-old Lakeland resident.
“My parents started giving me piano lessons at the age of 5,” he said. “They said I was very bored, it seems, and they wanted to keep me busy. They didn’t have a lot of money to pay for the lessons, and my mom was a hairdresser and traded haircuts for piano lessons when I was 5.”
His mom’s decision turned out to be an inspired choice. Even at that very young age, Lowry had started on a long path toward a passionate love for music.
“It just grabbed me from the start and I haven’t looked back since,” he said.
Lowry is now the bass player and co-songwriter for the rock/pop band Terra Terra Terra, which includes co-songwriter Loren Taylor on lead vocals and guitar, Micah Roth on drums for live shows, and Tyler Jordan Soucy on drums in the recording studio — where the Lakeland-based band just finished recording a full-length album, The Space We Create, which will be released on Round Kid Records on Jan. 15.
“It’s actually going to be our second album,” Lowry said, referring to Transmission Lost, which came out four years ago.
“The difference between the two is the one in 2009, we funded most of that and recorded it ourselves in Orlando, and then went up to New York to do two singles,” he said. “This album is me and Loren put songs together for a year, and then went into the studio. That’s why we’re very excited. We were able to go in and take the time to record an album that we’re really proud of.”
A lot of credit for that, he said, should go to Taylor, who he praised as a talented and inspiring creative collaborator.
“Loren is definitely the backbone of the writing, and I am the shaper and polisher,” he said.
Terra Terra Terra was formed in 2007 by three guys from the Lakeland area, who had grown up with a passion for the modern day version of the garage band.
“We have a love for these smaller indie bands that have these great songwriting skills,” Lowry said. It was all the inspiration he and Taylor needed to create their own indie band.
“Loren grew up here in Lakeland, and I moved here in 2005,” Lowry said. “I had lived in Lakeland when I was younger. We were both in the area, and we knew each other through church circles. He’s got a great voice and is a great songwriter. Loren started the band in 2007, and I was definitely down for this.”
Lakeland, as it turned out, became an ideal place to start a band and go in search of an audience, Lowry said, since it’s conveniently located between two fast-growing cities, Tampa and Orlando.
But it also helps, he added, since Lakeland’s own club scene is making an impressive comeback.
“I love Lakeland, it’s a great hometown,” he said. “When we started out in 2008, there were a lot of hardcore metal bands out there, and we may have been the only rock-pop band on the bill. Tampa and Orlando audiences have always had a decent appreciation for indie music. It wasn’t easy at first, but what we played was always different from what they were hearing from the metal bands. Now people know our name. Florida kids, honestly, they love music and they’re great at shows.”
It helps that Lakeland’s club scene is on the rebound after being fairly moribund for a few years, he added.
“It’s not like New York and Philadelphia and Boston, where every major band plays there,” he said. “But it’s nice to be in Lakeland and be able to do this. We can say, do we want to play a Tampa show or Orlando show, and we’re in the middle of that. For the Lakeland fans, there’s definitely great venues in both areas. And Lakeland is really trying to bring the music scene back with new venues. There’s a lot of good strong bands there now. There used to be good venues in town, and then that went away. Now it’s coming back. Evolution Records is right in downtown, and it has a stage in the back, and it’s a fantastic place.”
Evolution Records is at 119 S. Kentucky Ave. in downtown Lakeland.
“People are trying to bring the club scene back to Lakeland,” Lowry said. “They know people in Lakeland need it.”
This year has been a good one for the band. Terra Terra Terra got national coverage on websites like AbsolutePunk.net, which debuted one of the band’s new songs, “The Only One,” which will be on the new album.
Lowry said the Internet has changed the music scene in a lot of ways – both good and bad.
“Loren and I have talked about this in the last year,” he said. “It’s hard. It’s very hard. It’s easy that you can put stuff online, but it’s also hard because everybody else wants to have a band and throw that stuff online, and people just sit at home and download stuff now. It’s de-socialized the music scene in a way. It takes away from the culture of what the music scene can be. Personally, I try to buy every album I can from bands I like.”
That’s why live shows are such an important way to connect with an audience, he added.
“It’s still being involved, person-to-person communication,” Lowry said. “At our live shows, we see the energy and the passion we put into it. People want to be engaged. It’s about putting that passion and emotion out there every time we play.”
And recording songs in the studio, and then playing before an audience, is always an amazing experience, he added — one he knew he would love, even back when he was five years old taking his first piano lessons.
“If I didn’t have music, life would be weird,” Lowry said, adding that all the Terra Terra Terra members feel that way.
“It’s really something we feel we are supposed to be doing,” he said.
To learn more about the band, log on to Terra Terra Terra.
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