Matt Caskitt & the Breaks
Matt Caskitt & The Breaks are a Power-Pop/Punk Rock band from San Diego, CA. Formed in 2018, the band is comprised of Matt Caskitt (lead singer, drums), Michael Kelly (guitar), Ricky Martinez (guitar), and AJ Peacox (bass guitar).
We caught Matt Caskitt a few days before the band will go into the studio to record their second full-length album to talk about singing, drumming, and learning guitar as an adult musician!
Photo: Pretty Mess Photography
1. Which came first in your life: drums or singing?
Drums. I went to a parade at 4 years old, saw the local marching band, went home and fashioned a drum out of a bucket and marched around the house.
2. What did you play in your first band?
Drums. And I sang a cover of “Message in a Bottle” by The Police while playing drums.
3. You recently started playing guitar. What was it like picking up a new instrument at this point?
Frustrating, because as a child picking up a new instrument, you have much more time to dedicate hours and hours. But as an adult, you’re trying to squeeze in education between a busy, demanding schedule. I am much more disciplined and regimented as an adult though.
4. How did you go about writing songs before? How did learning guitar change your process?
Lots of voice notes in my phone. I would hear a melody, a beat, or create a lyric line and sing it into my phone, then stack ideas on top of ideas until a song began to form. Then I’d come to rehearsals with other bandmates with half-ideas, and build from there. Lastly, I’d edit like crazy until a song was done. Learning guitar allowed me to fully form songs from the front rather than the back. And this became essential to keep creating during a pandemic where I didn’t see bandmates for almost a year!
5. The Breaks’ debut LP Welcome Home dealt mainly with themes of heartbreak, divorce, & readjusting. What can we expect from the new LP?
The new LP is mostly about rebuilding, reconstructing, reflection and self-realization. Less heartbreak, more hope.
6. Which part of the recording process is your favorite? How about your least favorite?
My favorite part is the surgery of a song. I love dissecting songs then restitching them to make them a better version. My least favorite part is having to approve the master. It feels so final. It’s like picking out a frame for a painting you’ve suffered for and if you pick the wrong one, it will destroy the painting.
7. You always have the best stories from your time touring in bands. Can you tell us one of your favorites?
Once one tour, making our way back to CA, we stopped at a gas station in West Texas and I saw a stray dog. He seemed so sad and hungry that I fed him some pretzels and I became convinced I needed to bring this dog back to CA to give him a better life. So I load him in the van, tell the guys we have a hitchhiker to bring back to CA. They’re fine with it and we take off. Not 2 minutes down the road, this dog freaks out, starts peeing in the van and becoming unmanageable. We drive back to the gas station, I run inside to try and pawn him off on the gas station attendant, and they’re like “That dog is wild, dude! We got packs of wild dogs out here! They’re the pups of strays that go back generations. I’ve seen that dog and his buddies around here for years. Best to leave that dog alone, and scurry on back to CA.” Which I did. Lesson learned. Some dogs don’t need saving.
8. What advice do you have for someone picking up their first instrument & wanting to start a band?
Learn one instrument really well. But don’t ignore the other instruments because each secondary instrument will teach you something that will make you better at your primary instrument. They’re all connected. Lastly, write unabashedly but edit meticulously.