Living out of a suitcase and traveling the world were always appealing Matthew Musto.
Now known as singer-songwriter blackbear, Musto says his desire goes beyond traditional touring.
“I love touring because it keeps me from going insane,” Musto says. “No matter how bad some place or day can get, you’re getting on a bus that night. It’s impossible to have a bad week when I’m on the road. When I’m at home I could be in the dark for a whole week.”
Musto is pushing his latest album, “Anonymous,” with a tour that comes to the Van Buren on Tuesday, May 21. Opening the show are Elohim and Gashi, two artists Musto looks up to.
“When you get in the door until you leave, the show is a full-on snack,” he says excitedly. “I know what I wanna take away from the type of art I’m into, I just want to feel something and feel alive, and I hope that’s what I can give.”
“Anonymous” was released on April 26, after eight months of work. He says this album is special because of the time and emotional investments.
“It’s 18 songs. I recorded 60,” Musto says, “Cutting it down was difficult for me. (The songs cut) were full of mid-tempos and those songs are hard to let go for me because I know my fans will like them.”
However, Musto is confident he selected the 18 songs meant for him.
The writing process was “crazy,” Musto says. “I would lock myself away for weeks at a time and I didn’t know what day it was, what time it was. I would shut myself away from the world. All of the songs really reflect where I was at, it’s all very honest.
“The title ‘Anonymous’ is my way of taking the ego out of something. I didn’t want to blast my face on the front. It wasn’t an album to flex. My last album (‘Cybersex’) had a lot of features like Rick Ross and 2 Chainz and it was a time where I needed validation, and this wasn’t the time for that.”
“Anonymous” focuses on the music Musto created, instead of himself. A few of his favorite songs are “It’s All Gonna Burn,” “Drug Dealer” an “Pink Rolex,” the latter two of which were recorded in Nashville. The environment change gave him the opportunity to bond with the songs. For “It’s All Gonna Burn,” Musto spent a significant amount of time creating the beats; it was an enjoyable process.
One of the midtempo songs is “It’s All Gonna Burn.” Musto added depth to the dreamy song with heavy bass and ticks. Musto’s voice is calm, but the steady beat and multiple layers of sound give the song power.
“Drug Dealer” is upbeat, seamlessly transforming from rapping his verses to singing his choruses. “Pink Rolex” opens the album with Musto’s strong, emotional voice. The phrase “once again, it’s my heart” is repeated and spoken in different languages.
The album is a study in therapy.
“There’s an ongoing topic of perseverance and struggle and overcoming that I do in music because it’s therapy for me,” he says. “As selfish as it is, it’s therapy for me first and it helps other people sometimes.”
Musto says he suffers from chronic depression and, by working through his problems, he’s hoping he helps others.
“Not to be corny, but music helps,” he offers as advice. “On a personal level, I wake up and say 10 thank yous in my head to certain people in my life and I don’t look at my phone until I take a shower and have coffee.”
It’s that sort of routine that improves his lifestyle.
“I think everybody lives their lives day by day on a steady frequency, rather than be a high one or a low frequency,” he says. “Over the years I think I’ve tapped into a happier, more content way of living and it shows in my music and all of the little things.”
Blackbear w/Elohim and Gashi, The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, Phoenix, thevanburenphx.com, 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, $32.50-$38.