At Manifest Boston, it's our mission to ignite and unleash the potential of Boston's doers, dreamers, and makers. Today's Manifest Mornings conversation invited Matt McArthur, Founder and Executive Director of The Record Co., to share his vision for a city where makers of all walks of life can exchange ideas and grow their artistry — together.
Matt's love affair with music began at an early age and eventually brought him to Boston by way of Berklee College of Music. After graduating, his eyes were opened to a whole world of new ideas outside of an institution — that's when his idea to create The Record Co. began.
"It's inspiring to come and find this group of likeminded people. That’s really the bridge to The Record Co. While it’s nice to be in the bubble of an institution where everyone cares about the same stuff, it doesn’t lend itself to alternative perspectives," Matt told us.
During today's conversation, Matt shared some of the truths he's learned over the last decade leading The Record Co. Read on for a few of them:
Anyone can be an artist - Humans have been making music since the beginning of time, before they even knew they were making music. Despite this fact, the terms "artist" and "musician," Matt says, can be exclusionary. That's why The Record Co. prefers to use the term "music maker." Whether you're strumming a guitar or making a beat on your table top, you're creating something artistic.
Disappointment can lead to moments of clarity and inspiration - Matt initially aspired to be a star musician. But after attending Berklee, he learned that wasn't necessarily the right path for him. While disappointing, it forced him to take a hard look at what he was good at and tap into his potential for another kind of creativity.
Removing barriers helps create community - Recording studios are typically pretty exclusive. Barriers to entry include not only pricing but also discrimination on the basis of genre, which also tends to be along a racial identity line. At The Record Co., Matt works to remove these barriers to create a welcoming environment where anyone can express themselves musically.
Stay open to shifting plans - When starting plans for The Record Co.'s ongoing expansion project, Matt thought a venue space would be particularly useful to the community. Instead, he heard from music makers, "Why would I need a place to perform if I don’t have a space to write and practice?" With this feedback, The Record Co. modified its plans to build additional recording studios and add rehearsal space.
Some things are bigger than any one individual - In the beginning, Matt was at The Record Co.'s studios day in and day out, and everyone who came into the community knew or interacted with him. With the growth of his team over the years, there are now plenty of people who use the space who don’t know him. That’s the thing that keeps Matt going. "It’s going to be a lot bigger and a lot more impactful than any one of us," he said.
If you missed out on the conversation or simply want to revisit it, watch the recording from today's Manifest Mornings event with Matt McArthur below.