The music scene doesn't happen on its own. What we see on the surface is the result of passionate people behind the scenes, writing, creating, organizing, promoting, and working tirelessly to bring music to the venues, bars, and houses of Metro Phoenix. We will look at 25 here, some familiar, some new . Be sure to check out our 100 Tastemakers and 100 Creatives as well.
If you're a fan of music videos coming out of the local scene, there's no doubt you've heard the name Matty Steinkamp.
Steinkamp, through his company Sundawg Media, is responsible for some of the most memorable visuals to come out of Phoenix during the past three years. With top-notch production and novel ideas that span from the modest to the full-out surreal, Steinkamp has shown that there is little he can't do with a video camera. His list of clients reads like a who's-who of the local music scene with artists like decker., Luna Aura, Captain Squeegee, The Pistoleros, Taylor Upsahl, and more tapping the director for their music videos.
He also recently debuted a project called Play: The Documentary, which featured decker., Upsahl, and other local artists, and aimed to inspire more people to play music.
So how did Steinkamp get to this point? He grew up in Phoenix and went to Northern Arizona University around the turn of the millennium. After college, he bounced around the country for a few years before landing back in Phoenix for good in 2006. Then, he managed bars for a few years and started his own label, Sundawg Records, that he operated from 2007 to 2012. In 2009, he started making music videos for some of the artists on his label, and it spiraled into its own business from there.
"I enjoy creating a visual concept for my friends' music," Steinkamp says. "I like creating small movies in a sense. I want to, in some ways, make a positive impact on people with my concepts."
But in the end, Steinkamp defers, a good music video must have a good song behind it.
"I feel a great idea/concept outweighs a great camera, if that makes sense," he says. "I do think it's all about the editing. I think there are many ways that I judge music videos, but that usually is only if the song is great. If the song sucks, it's hard for me to get into the video. But I think that's how everyone is with their personal tastes, and that's what makes music so awesome. Not everyone likes the same type of music."
What makes a good song? It has a great hook, great singable melodies, great beat, or anything written by Prince, Paul McCartney, Rivers Cuomo, and Bob Marley.
What's your favorite local music venue, living or dead? Last Exit Live. No small venue sounds better in the Southwest, and I have heard that from hundreds of touring and local bands over the last three years since it opened.
What's your favorite local band? Of all time: What Laura Says. Four years ago: Mergence. Currently: Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, The Haymarket Squares, Captain Squeegee.
What do you think the music scene needs most? I think it needs more bands, more fans, more radio stations, more music stores, and more publications talking about all of that every day.
Who do you admire most in the music scene? Danny Torgersen of Captain Squeegee, Fayuca, and plays trumpet with everyone. He gets paid to play and sing every day of his life and he is just killing it!