A story of bass, synths, and drum machines with Matt McJunkins

Novation asked Matt McJunkins all the important questions; how he got started in music, his beloved gear, and the importance of being surrounded by other creatives.

Growing up with two older brothers and surrounded by the sounds of 80s metal and heavy rock, Matt McJunkins was to play a big part in the rock scene. As a member of A Perfect Circle and the Beta Machine — touring with various other brands over the years — he’s had a very successful and diverse career. It all started from hearing his brothers’ CDs and being influenced by the esteemed MTV show, which made him think, ‘why wouldn’t you want to do that?’

Seeing his brother finally get a drum kit was the catalyst for wanting to learn how to play, but of course, taking turns on the set proved difficult. After complaining of being bored, “as one does at the age of 13”, the idea was put out there that Matt should learn another instrument so that they could jam together.

The second catalyst thrown into the mix led Matt to land on the bass guitar, inspired by “bands with integral and unique bass roles,” such as Rush, Primus, Yes, and Cliff Burton-era Metallica, with them being on constant rotation at home.

“Then eventually [my brother] got a drum kit and he was hooked. I wanted to get into it too, but it was hard to just sit there and take turns especially when even he was pretty new to it. I was probably complaining about being bored — as one does at the age of 13 or so — and my oldest brother simply put out the idea that maybe I should just play a different instrument so that my other brother and I could actually play together and jam. I seriously never thought of this, and it was game-changing.”

As Matt got closer to finishing high school, he realised that playing music full-time was the only thing that held his “interest long enough to try and make some kind of living with it”. At the age of 19, he moved to LA and went to the Musician’s Institute.