“It’s a song about forever with that person you can’t live without.”
Matt, Charleston, South Carolina. Chris, Washington, Georgia. Where are your favorite places to bring visitors to in your hometown(s)?
Matt- When I bring anyone to the Lowcountry our first stop has to be Page’s Okra Grill in Mount Pleasant. Some of the best seafood and service you will ever find. Next has to be The Windjammer on Isle of Palms. It’s just such an iconic bar/music venue right there on the coast. It’s where I found my love for music and where I cut my teeth playing shows.
Chris — My hometown is such a little dot on the map, you can get caught up pretty quick! We do have a really cool town square, right in the middle of town, in front of the courthouse. There’s a few shops, bars and restaurants. It’s just that picturesque small-town scene. There are also so many antebellum homes there, it’s got that old south feel to it. You could spend a few hours just walking around and taking it all in.
Meeting through singer Ray Fulcher. Playing college towns and dive bars. Can you share a favorite memory from your first years together that shaped your careers?
Our favorite memory hands down would be the times we played a bar in Atlanta, Georgia called Kramer’s Buckhead Atlanta. We probably played that place a million times together and each time we made 100 memoires. Just slugging it out together 4 hours a night trying to win fans over the good ol’ fashioned way. It shaped our careers because we know what it’s like to grind. What it’s like to be background music and to be just a name in the crowd. So, today, when we get to play shows with our names on the marquee to fans who spend their hard-earned money to see us, that experience is just so much sweeter.
Why is it important that your sound is 100% organic and band driven?
All you have is your authenticity. Fans and listeners don’t want to be fed a mirage. They want you to the t. That’s what we have always focused on as a band. Be Southerland no matter what.
An 18-hour drive to Bath, Maine led to your band name. “It was the first time that we were playing three nights at this place called Erik’s Church in Maine, opening for Ray. We had never been to Maine before so we were Googling what to do there, and we came across a Wikipedia page and started reading random facts about the place. In Bath, Maine there’s a place called Bath Iron Works. It’s where the U.S.S. Southerland battleship is. We landed on Southerland because it sounded cool and we had known the whole time that we wanted a name that paid tribute to both of us being from the south.” How does your music pay tribute to both of you being from the south?
Well, it’s the age old saying of “write what you know.” Every single detail in our music is something that we have lived, a memory that we have made. Being from the south has a unique experience to it. It is a thread that is common throughout our music.
This song has always been special to me because it’s one of the first songs that I remember my uncle Mike singing and playing on guitar. When I was younger, my whole family would get together sometimes on the weekends and play and sing and I just really fell in love with that song and Alan Jackson and country music in general. As I got older and understood the lyrical content behind it a little more, it became even more special and something I was always inspired by.
“We approach songwriting like ‘let’s write songs that we don’t mind playing for 20 years.’” What are some topics you’ve yet to write about but hope to soon?
We think our music molds as time goes by. We will always keep writing music that shines on our current seasons of life. I guess we will wait and see what that is. Stay tuned.
“Came Out of Nowhere,” written with Jessi Alexander. “Talking about being authentic, that song is literally how I grew up — that’s my family. We always say this is our song tipping our hat to all the blue-collar, hard-working folks out there and those little towns that make the world go round.”
To, now, your latest, “World Without You.” How has your music evolved over the past few years to best represent you as artists?
Our music has followed our timeline of life. With WWY, Matt had just gotten engaged, and Chris had just been recently married, so love was a major thing going on in our lives. It’s a song about forever with that person you can’t live without. We thought a lot of people in this world could relate to.