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M. Ward Begins India Tour In March

The singer-songwriter talks about touring India, the new She and Him album and why he will never go digital when it comes to recording

Rolling Stone India Feb 18, 2013
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M. Ward took to Twitter yesterday to reach out to his fans in India. It’s apparent he used Google Translate because the chaste Hindi missed the mark. Fortunately, there was no Hindi text in his email replies to our questions. For his first ever gig in India, at the day-long women-centric A Summer’s Day Festival on March 3rd in Mumbai, Matthew Ward aka M. Ward says he will perform “a combination of old and new and borrowed and blue,” hinting at joining folk/jazz singer Norah Jones, who is headlining the festival, for their song “Blue Bayou.”

Though Ward will perform from his solo discography in India, collaborations and joint projects have always been on Ward’s list. Apart from collaborating with Jones and punk/folk rock artist Cat Power, Ward also divides his time between his solo project as well as others such as She and Him (a folk duo which he formed with actor/singer Zooey Deschanel) and folk supergroup Monsters Of Folk, comprising Jim James of psychedelic rock band My Morning Jacket and Bright Eyes’ frontman Conor Oberst. So it’s no surprise when Ward says that he writes constantly. “I started a habit when I was first learning guitar as a teenager to play every day. If you practise enough, songs just begin to form. It’s always happening and the songs are always evolving. I make records when it seems there’s a finished batch of new songs that seem to relate to each other in some way,” says Ward.

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For now, he is looking forward to his upcoming She and Him album, Volume 3: “I’m excited for people to hear it. Volume 3 has the best songs Zooey has ever written ”“ it’s the best record so far.” Ward’s 2012 studio album, A Wasteland Companion, was recorded in about half a dozen studios across America and Europe and features guest spots by Deschanel, Monsters of Folk guitarist Mike Mogis, alt rock band Sonic Youth’s drummer Steve Shelley and veteran British singer-songwriter John Parish. “Part of the idea behind the album was to have a record that traveled around the world absorbing ideas from different places and people in the same way touring does,” says Ward.

Of all the studios he’s visited to record his albums, Ward continues to record non-digitally, a preference he has stuck to since he started out recording using tape decks for his 1999 album Duet For Guitars No. 2. “Digital is too limiting for recording vocals and guitars and drums. I’ve tried working with digital technology but it always sounds too cold to me,” says Ward.

Ward plays piano and keyboard on songs like “Rollercoaster,” and may just invite a member of the audience [no he hasn’t made any promises] to play the piano for him, like in this video from a 2006 gig in Copenhagen, Denmark:

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M. Ward opens for Norah Jones on March 3rd at Turf Club, Mumbai as part of A Summer’s Day Festival, on March 5th at Siri Fort Auditorium, Delhi and on March 8th at NICE Grounds, Bengaluru. Tickets available here. Event details here. 

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