The many hats of Matt Reardon
As both a pro freeskier and a singer/songwriter, Matt Reardon frequently appears onscreen and composes soundtracks for companies like Teton Gravity Research, The Ski Channel, Red Bull and France's La Nuit de la Glisse. The Louisiana native's musical roots stem from his mother, Karen, a concert pianist. Recently, Reardon and his band Black Sunshine signed their first major management deal with Union Entertainment Group.
What does this new management deal mean for your music career now?
It means we now have worldwide representation and a staff of world-class managers who know how to get it done. They have offices all over, and they represent bands like Nickelback, Hinder and Kevin Costner & Modern West. Who is backing you is sometimes just as important as the music itself. Your music has to be great, but at the same time, if someone with that much street cred puts his or her name on your band, then that is a big light bulb in the industry saying, 'This is someone to watch.'
One of the reasons you were noticed by Union was because your song, "Once In My Life" stayed on the Active Rock Top 40 for 22 weeks in 2010. What was it like to have a song reach that level?
Apparently, last year with releasing that single we were pretty lucky because we were an independent label band and not with a major label. We were one of the only true indy bands in our rock format to be in the top 40. I was touring at the time with Black Sunshine, and we had been on the road for three months. The band took a break for three weeks but instead of taking a break, I went to the East Coast and toured with an acoustic guitar. I hit every radio station that would let me in the door. I slept on friends' couches. Everybody told us then that if we wanted to do this type of music we had to be with a major music label, and I think we proved that wasn't necessarily the case. There is something to be said about the grassroots approach.
Where did the inspiration for that single come from?
The beginning is written through the eyes of Darian Boyle. We were burying MC (Tahoe local Mc Constantinescu, who died in 2003) and just two days later Darian broke her neck skiing at Squaw and got life flighted out. She was in a halo and the injury was within millimeters of her spinal cord. The song starts off, 'Heaven sent me away today.' It was written through her point of view and me thinking about MC and how lucky we are to be alive and do what we do.
You have written quite a few songs for friends who have passed away skiing. Do you ever feel like skiing is getting too dangerous?
I've written way too many of those songs. Lately, I have been trying to hammer that out in my mind. I went and did a Level 2 avalanche course recently, and I realized that I should be dead for all the stuff I've skied without really knowing what I was doing. With fat skis, more people are getting into the backcountry and maybe that has something to do with it. People are pushing it more and it seems more accessible, but maybe when your number is called, your number is called. Lake Tahoe has been hit pretty hard, but that being said, this would be a normal occurrence in the French Alps. People die all the time there.
Have you ever played with any other pro skier/musician?
I played with Marc Andre Belliveau a few years back. We had travelled together before as skiers and after his accident, the guys at Powder Magazine asked us if we would do a duet together at Winter X Games. I know he is still cracking at it, and I dig his style. I also used to be in a band with Brad Holmes and Shaun Palmer called Fungus. I was the original guitar player. Those were some of the funniest shows. I still laugh when I think that my first band was a punk band called Fungus.
How does being a pro skier and musician work together?
I was given a pretty cool second chance years ago where I was not supposed to walk normally again after a ski accident and staph infection. During the time I was down, I wrote an enormous amount of music. When I came back, I skied better than I ever had. Volkl came along and liked the idea of me being a musician and a skier, and now they use me for all sorts of events. We go to Europe and I hit a kicker, and then I go down and play an acoustic show.
What are your plans for the summer?
We are planning to launch the next single which will either be a song called Psycho Babble or Hell Yeah. Our music really appeals to the salt of the earth. I grew up in Louisiana right near the Lake Bisteneau swamps and both songs are pretty close to home for me. They are about hell raising and getting into trouble.