Editor’s Note: It was a lovely conversation with Mat Dauzat of rising singer/songwriter duo Dauzat St. Marie for Madness To Creation. This was such an in-depth conversation about coping with mental health awareness to take care of a spouse that is in a battle with breast cancer. We also discussed their music, coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, the uprisings in America, and so much more. As a PSA, Madness To Creation is imploring their readers/listeners to please wear a mask. Think about people that have their immune systems compromised or that are battling cancer. The sooner that we all do this regularly, the sooner that we can get back to a normal life, which helps our lives and everyone. We also discuss their single and music video for “Where Were You”. Fans can find Dauzat St. Marie at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview with me for Madness To Creation. It’s been a crazy year, but we have been keeping the focus on mental health awareness to be that outlet people can go to in order to find that balance in life along with listening to some great music. How have you been coping with the Covid-19 pandemic?
Mat: For us, it’s been pretty much like how everyone else is. We were supposed to be going out providing support for Chicago and Rick Springfield and it was supposed to launch on Friday.(on date of interview) and we were actually supposed to be playing Red Rocks today, but that got wiped off we just hope that everyone is safe. We had a crew that was working on a documentary about us that was supposed to surrounding this tour, so we had a whole crew. We had a big campaign on that and as you probably know Heather just beat breast cancer. We had a year and a half long battle, and this tour was supposed to be this big triumphant return, and that got kind of ripped out from under us, it’s just kind of a lot, we had this tour lined up, now we’re just really trying to figure it out. With social media, we’re kind of diving into social media a little bit more, we’re trying to be a little bit more active to just stay in contact with the fans. We’re really taking a lot of time to create content for YouTube, because now the couch is our stage, we’re just kind of rolling with that, we will see what happens next.
Madness To Creation: On the Chicago and Rick Springfield tour, is there a reschedule in the works or anything like that?
Mat: It’s gone, the first announcement came that they were going to reschedule for 2021, and maybe a week or so after that, they announced that it just wasn’t going to work out, it’s completely gone, we have nothing on the books, so in the meantime, we’re just going to write and record, it’s tough because it’s out on the road and selling merch is where we make money, so if you think about it, that’s 90 to 95% of our income gone, so it’s kind of forcing us to investigate a lot of other facets, and there’s a lot of other facets that we should be doing. It’s not like we really have this big team, we’ve had other elements to our team and other help along the way, but really at the end of the day, it’s just the two of us, so there’s only so many hours in a day and when you’re on tour it’s really to tough to get anything done but focus on but having that tour, so now we’re just focusing on other aspects of the business, we’re really focusing on our YouTube channel and now we’re just kind of rethinking it. I don’t know when we’re going to be able to be on stage again, so we’re going to focus our efforts on that, to keep that connection with our audience, and we can be that live act that we always were, it’s just it’s in front of a camera instead of in front of an audience for now.
Madness To Creation: Speaking of your YouTube channel, Dauzat St. Marie recently released the music video for “Where Were You”, take us into that song and take us into how a husband and wife duo come together to write and record music.
Mat: So with that song, we were kind of coming out of this cancer battle. The cancer battle was exhausting on every front, spiritually, emotionally, everything, it forced us to have time off on the road, and we were going to write an album and do all of this, obviously the main focus was beating this cancer, so after all of that, we got back into writing, and we were looking for sources of inspiration and looking at the world again, and not knowing of the big world events that were coming in 2020, it’s kind of interesting, a lot of them that we eluded to in this song hadn’t happened yet. One of the lines goes, “where were you at the first signs of hysteria”, and that was perfect. We didn’t know. As crazy as that in one of our Instagram stories, we were literally recording in our studio my vocals and my harmonies, I was recording, “where were you when the earth was shaking” and on queue, an earthquake happened at that very moment.
Madness To Creation: That is terrifying!
Mat: *laughs* I’m like, “what is going on”, we were writing this song and it hadn’t happened yet, so yeah, that song is just taking our worldview, just taking all of these moments that make up our lives, like saying there’s going to be future events, I mean all of us are going to remember where we were when we first heard of Covid, I remember out in California when we were first going into lockdown due to the Covid thing, it’ll be those moments that we will remember forever. It’s just kind of what the song is about. I think we’re at a point now where we all should be sharing, yeah we all have our differences, but there’s this common thread in our experiences that makes us who we are. But we recorded it all ourselves, we’re a DIY, so we have our own studio out in Hollywood, we recorded everything ourselves, and we did the music video ourselves, because at the time, we released this song, that was all pre-Covid, it was just emotions, we had an idea for the video, and we were going to get this video done, but then Covid hit, and they everything shut down, and all of these artists were releasing it, so we decided to hold on for just a minute and just see what would happen, we can wait til this just blows over and then we can release the song, then we said, “you know what, we couldn’t wait, we’ve been waiting for a year and a half, we’re not waiting a second longer, and we’ll figure out how to do the video ourselves”.
We got the equipment and we shot, and we got all the footage on our i-Phone by the way. A lot of it was shot on tour, and it was all stocked footage, and we got it all colorized, and made it look cinematic, and we just bought the screen paper and just put it in her office, and we just shot each other. It was a labor of love, but we learned a lot through it, now we can do that, not that we want to do everything ourselves, but we can be self-sufficient if we needed to be, and this is one of those times where we needed to be. Through the events, we wanted people to experience this song with that visual for the first time that they hear it.
Madness To Creation: I gotta say that I love this song. Congrats to your wife and you fighting together to beat breast cancer. It must’ve been a tough trial as you said earlier, what were some personal challenges and personal growth that you went through during that ordeal?
Mat: When we first got the diagnosis, it was just crushing. We were on top of the world, we were on tour with Pat Benatar, Rick Springfield. We were on the tour with them we she found a lump, so we went directly from the last show of the tour straight to the doctors and we went from this really high to this really low and we we started to come to terms and reshape our expectations, at first the doctor said that we were going to be off the road for three years, which was kind of a crushing blow because we had all of this momentum with Pat Benatar, so a couple of years later we decided to write this record and record this whole thing and really using our time wisely, but it’s just not possible when a person’s body is just breaking down. There were days when Heather couldn’t even get to the couch from the bed, and with me as the caregiver, I was depleted as well, so that was a real challenge, I have never felt that kind of exhaustion, and I think for the mental health part of it, anything that can keep your mind engaged and your mind positive and strong, that would be the only thing great. For us, the first couple of weeks was after we got this diagnosis, there was this laughter because it was crazy for us, for us, laughter is everything, we’re constantly cracking jokes, we were always making each other smile and so those were the two roughest weeks, and so once we started getting back to that humor and those little everyday things, that helped us overall, and this positivity was the biggest and strongest purveyor of the whole thing. It kept her strong and it kept her head in the game and we got through it.
There were a lot of people that I know that I see that are going through it right now with this shutdown, we experienced all of that too. There’s definitely a bunch of depression and that sort of thing, and people don’t realize that it’s starting to creep up on you and suddenly you realize that you’re sleeping in later and later and then not getting out of bed and thinking “why bother”, that sort of thing. There are a lot of people that I’m seeing and we really watch a lot of bands on social media, and what people are going through now with this pandemic, a lot of people really don’t know what is happening, but the mental health thing is very important, we preach it all of the time. You have to check yourself and make sure and see, “am I doing okay or am I really feeling sane”, and not let yourself slip into depression, with the lockdown, it prolongs the uncertainty and it could create some lasting problems.
Madness To Creation: I know that you mentioned that you have reached out to your fans and have a more social media presence, what’s that feeling like when your fans come up to you and either say, “thanks for putting on a good show or your music is helping me get through a tough time right now”, what is that feeling like?
Mat: We recognized that early on when we were playing. Heather and I toured with this band for years, we were in this small town and we played this show, and this girl and her mother came to us after the show to talk to us to say, “hey, your song lyrics gave us strength to get through a difficult time”, it turns out that the mother’s husband was abusive, so they were saying that the song was bonding us(girl and mother) and they were having this situation at home and they were creating a new life for themselves, and they were using lyrics from our song to give them strength to get through. That was an eyeopener. We always have tried to write songs of substance. We’re not always the fastest songwriters but we craft it and slave over it, we’re really serious about that craft. We just didn’t realize that they had a power to help and heal in a big way. That was the first eyeopener and since then, we’ve just gotten a lot of reactions from fans and it gives them something in-depth to something good, and that’s kind of one of the most rewarding things and we get comments like that often actually and it’s really the most rewarding thing that I can think of, and it’s really amazing.
We kind of share a part of us with the fans, we shared the whole battle with the fans and we had fans messaging us saying, “hey, in honor of you, we’re inspired by you, and we wanted to share our battle and how we beat cancer”, and we we got that early diagnosis, we hope that encourages them to get checked so they can share the same story. It’s kind of an important position that we are in, so we cannot take it lightly.
Madness To Creation: That’s an incredible story and you’re inspiring so much with your platform. Does Dauzat St. Marie have any other singles coming out or?
Mat: We have a lot of new material in the works. The toughest part for us with this pandemic is that we don’t know when it’s going to be safe to even have a small intimate gathering. We were eyeballing a fall run, but now we’re wondering how we’re going to release our upcoming songs, I think we have a street date and that is August 14th for a single and another in October. But if we’re stuck in L.A. not being able to tour, I’d really like to be putting out new singles every four to six weeks. But if things open up and it’s safe to tour, then we will package up an album and have that for sale on the road, but right now there’s so many question marks. If we get some solid answers on this stuff, we can make our plans and feel a lot better, but right now it’s just up in the air.
Madness To Creation: A couple of fun questions for you, tell me a band or an album that you never get tired of.
Mat: “Dirt” by Alice In Chains
Madness To Creation: What song by Alice In Chains would Dauzat St. Marie cover?
Mat: We would actually love to cover some Alice In Chains. One song that comes to mind is “Would”, also a swampier, darker version of “Rain When I Die”, we want to record those and put them on YouTube. We try to put our own spin on everything. Alice In Chains is perfect for us because I feel I have more of a Jerry Cantrell voice where she has more of a Layne Staley voice, which is perfect for harmonizing. That’s a great band, we don’t do it a lot because a lot of bands do cover them
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add?
Mat: I was going to say thanks so much for this conversation, it was enlightening, but in the meantime follow us on our socials, the couch is our stage right now and we are hoping to add more videos and singles in the coming weeks. We also released a lyric video for “Where Were You”, so check that out!
And there you have it! Check out the lyric video to “Where Were You” by Dauzat St. Marie:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PujwE1K–2Q