May 13 a fitting Friday for Exeter musician Matt Peppe’s first solo release
Matt Peppe has had his vocal cords all over a number of Wyoming Valley music projects. Long-time members of the scene may remember Peppe from his stints with Emoraya (2002 – 2004), Medicyne (2005 – 2007) and Deva Loka (2012 – 2014), but on May 13, Peppe will release his first collection of songs as a solo artist.
“I’m not really trying to break out with my solo stuff,” Peppe said. “It’s just I’ve been doing it for the greater part of 15 years, so I said, ‘you know what, I’m just going to finally go into the studio and knock some of this out since I’m not really in a band right now.’”
For the last 15 years, when Peppe would post songs to the Internet he’d use the name The Italian School of Poison, referencing an outbreak of poisonings in Italy during the Middle Ages. His debut solo EP, “Lex Lata,” will be released under that moniker. Both the cryptic band name and Latin album title act as reliable indicators of Peppe’s lyrical content.
“Probably about ten years ago I started studying up on the occult and all that,” Peppe said. “I started really researching that… all the way back to Egypt and stuff. My music is split between the trials and tribulations of relationships and love lost and the occult and the arcane and magic.”
Peppe studies magic but doesn’t practice it, so it remains to be seen whether he’d choose the left hand path or right hand path. Those names are purely metaphorical, but when the vocalist and occasional rhythm guitarist was unable to find a lead guitar player to bring into the studio, he had to put faith in his own hands.
“I really thought maybe it was a blessing in disguise because I’ve always made excuses to not really play the guitar,” Peppe said. “This kind of forced my hand; I booked the studio time, I had no choice. I wrote everything acoustic but I plugged in electric and just went for it and I was really proud. I was happy with the final turnout all things considered.”
The album may be one guitar short of a full accompaniment, but it does feature Peppe’s former Deva Loka bandmates Rob Helme (percussion) and David Kusma Jr. (bass). Peppe said the one-guitar approach gives his solo effort an early punk feel that meshes with the Americana influence he took into the studio.
“Lex Lata” is available May 13 at Wilkes-Barre record stores Gallery of Sound and Musical Energi, Scranton record store Embassy Vinyl, West Pittston comic shop Rubber Mallet Comics and most digital outlets.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts