Musician Matthew Kiss Goes With The Flow
You might recognize up-and-coming musician Matthew Kisilenko — better known as Matthew Kiss to his fans — from Boarders Surf Shop, where he’s been a familiar presence in the surf and skate community for years. But let it be known, the waves aren’t the only thing cranking around these parts.
Kiss, 20, is still riding high and waxing poetic about his most recent performance at Gizzi’s Coffee in the West Village, last Saturday night.
The Rockaway Beach local is equal parts heartbreaker and boy next door with sun-browned skin and sandy, tousled hair. But his laid-back style and good looks are only part of his appeal.
Holding his own for a two-hour set that included soulful renditions of original songs “Lock the Door,” “Yellow Moon,” and “Fly Away” — which roused a group at the front of the crowd to get up and dance — and a cover of the John Mayer anthem, “Waiting on the World to Change,” that had the entire audience singing along with him, Kiss provided enough between-songs banter to prove that this young singer/songwriter wants to “make music that people can relate to.”
He played to a full house and the room was a warm and welcoming mix of friends, family and neighborhood locals who wandered in from the sultry August heat. The crowds are growing with every show, and many first-timers tagged along with friends who’ve already become regulars.
A passion for connecting and a desire for making music that can touch people’s souls the way that some of his favorite artists have touched his inspires Kiss to carve out the time to reflect and create something every day. Whether it’s a walk on the beach, watching a sunrise, or locking himself in the bathroom till he’s finished a new tune, his dedication has led him to an evolving sound that has been influenced by guitarists and vocalists of many genres ranging from Justin Nozuka to Jeff Buckley and funk/rock band The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In fact, the most recent Gizzi’s gig found Kiss testing out his effects pedals onstage for the first time. He says, “I like manipulating sound, and making things more beautiful.” His obsession with Chili Peppers’ former guitarist, John Frusciante’s, musical wizardry has been inspiring him to master the effects pedals and to use them to create “sonic paintings.” To Kiss, making music is an art form, and his creative discovery and growth is an endearing thing to behold. Watching from the back of the room as he flubbed a bridge to a song, or had a minor technical setback that could have easily flustered a more seasoned performer, Kiss used these authentic moments of live performance to bring the room closer together and to take a much needed breather and remind us why we were there in the first place. When he began again, he hit his stride and we were all along for the rest of the sweet ride.
Though Kiss heads back to campus in a couple of weeks, look out for his upcoming September 11 show at 9 p.m. at Gizzi’s Coffee (16 West 8th Street) as well as Eclectic Beat Box, a benefit event for a day camp for children afflicted with cancer where he will be opening for double headliners The Constant and Hank & Cupcakes, September 2 at 8 p.m. at Soiree (199 Bowery). His website, www.matthewkiss.com, is in the works now; meanwhile, he can be seen at www.youtube/matthewkiss or www.myspace.com/matthewkiss.