Official Blog of Dead Fish Handshake


message from Matthew

Haven’t been here in awhile…Just thought I’d give a little update on what’s going on in DFH…

If you didn’t know, it’s been a year since the official release of “The Sixes”. So, to coincide with that, we are celebrating by releasing a digital only deluxe version that will include a few acoustic versions of previously released songs. Just got out of the studio doing vocals on these versions and it’s just really cool to hear them like this. I’ve sung these songs a thousand times but I love what we did with them stripped down. Hopefully you will too. Should be out for sale in a few weeks.

So what’s next…well, needless to say, we can’t wait for this tour. First up…Florida. We are so lucky to have this opportunity to tour. It’s weird because I haven’t given myself a chance to enjoy it yet. I know that sounds strange but if you know me well it makes perfect sense. It’s been so hard getting everything together to do this right. Not complaining. But it definitely drains you. We need to thank all of you everywhere for doing what you do to help us out. Whether it’s by sharing a link, giving us a place to sleep, or the gifts we’ve received, or by donating to our Kickstarter fund, we are just grateful for all the random acts of kindness. It’s very encouraging at times when we thought we weren’t gonna be able to pull everything off. So that it I guess…airport is calling my name.

I’m looking forward to the shows and keeping up with everyone over the next month. Hope to see you all at some point along the way. There are some things to look forward to after the tour as well…We’ll be releasing a new song and an acoustic covers EP. They are both included right now as rewards on our fundraiser when you donate. And for what’s it worth to anyone this early, we have already begun writing for the next DFH record.

So thanks again for the momentum everyone. We love ya! -MP

Message from Matthew Paul

So listen up everybody…I wanna take a minute to speak candidly about this link…I think we all can appreciate some upfront honesty. It’s not exactly a new thing when a band puts out a kickstarter fund. We are all broke. Just like most of you, if not worse. And trust me…It probably is worse. We tour and at the end of the day everyone gets our money but us and we get excited over a venue giving us free water in our rider. That a true example by the way. I looked at Rob Ferreira and actually said “look dude! North Dakota gave us free water!” But no sense in crying over it. It’s just part of this journey and we made the decision to chase this so we suffer the lows that come with it. If you know me well and actually even if you don’t there is one thing that I hate more than anything and that’s begging people for money. Hell, whether you believe this or not, I’m still uncomfortable even when you all pay for merchandise. That’s probably why I’m so easy most of the time and I just give it away for free if you tell me you can’t afford it. The point that I’m making is its very hard to constantly ask you all for financial support because I know firsthand how much you all already have done whether it’s been with your wallets or your statuses or even your personal words. But the fact is to go on a national tour without a label behind you is too expensive and the bottom-line is it can’t be done to a point where it’s worth it to anyone (including all of you) without certain expenses being covered. There’s only one way to do that and that’s by utilizing this fund. I hate to admit this but I’m gonna open up a little bit here…Sometimes I literally think I’m crazy to still wanna do this and there hasn’t been one day where I don’t think about giving up. And the truth is the only thing that keeps me going are the messages in my inbox and the conversations with you all at the march tables after the show. I live for that. I could take or leave everything else. And if you need proof, read my lyrics. They weren’t written because I’m overly thrilled with things in this industry or even this world. And as silly as it sounds my heart smiles when you all tell me how much you connect with what we do. Those songs are about pure misery and defeat and you all bring such a different positive outlook to it and I try to pay you all back by getting on a stage and being a voice for things maybe everyone else wanted to say but could never find the right words. So here’s the reality…if you understand what I’m really saying then please donate to this. If you are just on my page to stalk and still don’t know anything about my band that’s fine too. I don’t mind. But for the others who want this tour as much as we do we need it now more than ever. Worst case scenario… we don’t raise it and this tour falls apart and we fall back into the loving arms of our brothers and sisters in NJ. Best case scenario…we add more of you out there to the family and give you the songs of support that you have given to us with your hearts and money. No matter what we love you and thanks for everything you’ve done for us. P.S. If I sound like I’m having a pity party, I am. And you’re all invited. Tickets are 100$ a person. Ha! JK.

Matt speaks to The Rag about Musicians Against Bullying

Matthew chatted with THE RAG and had this to say about the upcoming “Musicians Against Bullying” benefit show:

“The lyrical undertones of our music speak to those who have endured and overcome personal struggles. I personally believe no one shoul allow themselves to be victimized by the ignorance of others. DFH is about self-empowerment. In order to achieve that status you must have an outlet that allows you to find your true potential as an individual; skin that you feel comfortable in; the confidence to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Music did that for us. Hopefully being part of this show will continue to allow us the opportunity to spread that message to those who need a reminder.” Matthew Paul

Dead Fish Handshake: A Firm Grip on Music

A couple weeks ago, Matthew had a chat with Shanna over at NY Social Status. Read the interview here:

There is absolutely nothing more powerful in this world than music. It can draw people together, influence behavior, heal pain; the abilities of music are endless. With such an amazing power in their hands, musicians are in a much more significant position than they often realize. Dead Fish Handshake vocalist, Matt Paul has no trouble recognizing the impact music can have on its audience and is keen to ensure that his music leaves a good impression.

“I’m not trying to preach to anyone,” Paul explains. “The things I talk about in my lyrics are things that I’ve gone through. While the topics may be a little on the depressing side, the message is just to let people know that there’s somebody else who’s gone through what they may not be able to express. Hopefully as a singer I’m in a place where I can give their feelings some words. That, to me, is the best thing about music.”

It’s easy to understand why this is Paul’s favorite thing about music, but when it comes to Dead Fish Handshake, there is oh, so much more to admire. Composed of a collection of members from other bands in the area, Dead Fish Handshake is an effective combination of a variety of influences and excellent musicians with a message for their listeners.

Photo credit to

“In this band, it’s funny, individually, we’re all into such different bands,” Paul explains. “We’re all on different platforms, and when we put those genres together I guess you get Dead Fish Handshake.”

The music industry couldn’t have asked for a better combination. The DFH sound is a healthy blend of old school rock and decade influences underscored by soulfully written lyrics that simultaneously expose band members and embrace fans. Like any good musical group, DFH has witnessed the growth of their sound into the perfect blend of their individual interests.

“We wanted to have heavy aspects, but we’re also fans of acoustic, electric, classic rock, soul music,” Paul explains. “I think we’re still defining that sound. If you go to the first album, those songs were written acoustic and we built them up to make the rock songs you hear on the record. A lot of those songs touched on a lot of different sounds.”

As a result of their hard work, dedication and production work with rock staple, SevendustClint Lowery, the boys from Dead Fish Handshake have just released a new album that captures their sound much more accurately.

“Clint brought the intensity of Sevendust to Dead Fish Handshake but let us be ourselves,” Paul notes. “When you’re inspired by people, you take things from them, and what was cool was that Clint let me keep what I was influenced by, what I was inspired by, but he kinda brought my own voice out of me. With The Sixes we finally created the DFH sound. As far as what our sound is, we’re not reinventing the wheel by any means, but hopefully we’re re-injecting some life into a genre of music that’s taken a lot of heat lately.”

Beneath all the effort and growth Dead Fish Handshake has experienced, the message of their music remains one of the most important aspects of what they do as a band, and their combined forces couldn’t be more perfect for such a mission.

“Mark and Darren, being the rhythm section, they’re what gives it life. They’re the heartbeat,” Paul says. “They’re there to give that emotion, that idea that Rob and I have, life. I’m a guy who writes introspectively. I pull from things I’ve gone through in my life. There are a lot of heavy topics, like suicide, low self-esteem, things like that. They’re just things I’ve gone through myself, and this record was an outlet. I’ve had a lot of heartache in my life. We’re not an emo band, but I do think music should be powerful and there should be emotion behind what you do. Hopefully the topics, while they focus on a darker side of life, it’s letting people know that they’re not alone.”

Perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of the DFH process is the cathartic and therapeutic effect the creation of music has on the band members themselves.

“You start out writing these songs for you,” Paul admits. “I wrote these songs to help myself. I never in my wildest dreams thought there would be people out there who took comfort from it. One of the things I truly love is interacting with fans. Music aside, I love meeting fans. That’s something I always make it a point to do. They give meaning to that stage. That’s pretty much my therapy. What they do for me is giving me that opportunity and helping me cope. When I go out and sing, in a lot of ways I’m bleeding out those things, and I need that as a human. I hope that when people come see that they maybe sense that, but in a positive way.”

The purpose behind Dead Fish Handshake is a testament to why music is so incredibly powerful, and why it is such an integral part of our lives. We are all human, and we feel so many things. So often, all we’re searching for is someone who understands those feelings.

“Everybody’s problems are all relative,” Paul says. “It’s based on what you’ve gone through individually. I think as a society, we don’t all have enough love for one another. That’s evident. If there’s anything observational in my music, that’s a big one. As beautiful as something like love can be, music can be just as beautiful. The best thing about music: it’s a timeline for what you’ve been through. Everybody needs that time to reflect or to re-evaluate.”

In line with this message and the idea that society should help, not hurt, one another, Dead Fish Handshake is participating in a benefit concert for Students Against Being Bullied on November 16 at Asbury Park’s Stone Pony. Just a few days after their upcoming November 14 showwith Hurt and Smile Empty Soul, DFH will join musician Apryl Evans to raise awareness of bullying in school and the devastating effect it can have.

In an era where mainstream music is focused on partying, physical appearance and meaningless sex, Dead Fish Handshake is a welcome respite and reminder of the impact music can and should have and the undeniable influence it has on everyone involved. Thank God for Dead Fish Handshake.

In-studio performance

Matthew & Rob - live in-studio - WDHA 105.5FM

Earlier this afternoon, Matthew & Rob stopped in the WDHA studios in New Jersey to chat about the recently released record, “The Sixes” and jammed out to a couple acoustic versions of “Turning a Blind Eye” and “Leave The Light On”. Thanks to Lindsay Klein and all the fine folk over at WDHA. Keep an eye out for a video in the near future.

More lyrical insight from Matthew…

“LifeSpan” is a song that deals with the topic of suicide and how much one can take throughout their life before they are faced with the decision of whether they can go on or not . Its about the resiliency a person can demonstrate through constant disappointment. Holding onto the most faint glimmers of hope until you finally just reach down as deep as possible and give yourself a way out on your own. Nobody will look out for you the way you look out for yourself. Your life is in your own hands at all times.”Holding on I breathe for comfort/ Need the light ahead/ So go on and drop the loaded gun/ The time has come to give yourself a way”.

“Turning a Blind Eye” is a song written for the saying “Ignorance is Bliss”. But bliss is all relative depending upon whos eyes its being seen through. If your eyes arent open on the road of life then you are headed for a head-on collision with yourself. “A warning sign/Like a traffic light/ From green to yellow then turns red again/ Im reticent by accident/ When all your thoughts, they all just started crashing down/ We all will fall sometimes”. For all the attention seekers out there who constantly make regrettable decisions, more often than not someone turns their eyes to them. For those who shoulder their own burdens and suffer quietly, they are the ones left waiting and the recipients of a blind eye. To all who try to do the right thing but always feel alone, this song is for you.

“Leave The Light On” is pretty self-explanatory


Matthew Paul speaks about the lyrical content on “The Sixes”

Re: E-Motionless
“We don’t give out enough song meanings, so just thought I’d explain and put some questions to rest. This was a song written around the feeling of emotional paralysis between two people who are afraid to communicate and how it translates to the physical breakdown of someone. “E-motionless” is obviously a hybrid word of emotion and motionless. The “E” stands for “eternally” and is a reference to the cold communication of today’s technology. This all can be summed up in the lyric:

Nobody move, no body moved
I’m motionless/
Nobody move, no body moved

Re: “Recquiescat” / “The Blackest Skies”
“Recquiescat in Pace” is latin for “Rest In Peace” so that seemed like a fitting title as an intro to “The Blackest Skies”. The Blackest Skies is a reference to being buried alive where obviously the only thing you can see above you is the dark inside of your proverbial coffin. That small imaginary space holds all the stress and pressures of everyday life that seem so heavy and burdensome. Though the lyrics deal with dark undertones there is small message of positivity at the end of the chorus that is a direct contrast to the feeling of hopelessness demonstrated in the song. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Death will take forever
Lie in patience, until its time
Because this stress is heavy,
Tonight I’m buried, Underneath the blackest skies,
But still alive

Enjoy. Now you know.

DFH press photo

Dead Fish Handshake press photo for “The Sixes”

(Mark, Rob, Darren, Matthew)

Flaming Skulls and Jelly Beans

So my lifelong friend and DFH family member were avid comic book fans when we were kids (don’t make fun of us now that I just admitted that! Hahaha!) We just recently saw the sequel to Ghost Rider starring the “Infamous” Nicholas Cage! For those not familiar with his work (which I don’t know how you couldn’t be because he’s in every damn movie) he really lights it up in this franchise. By lighting up I mean bending over with a lighter attached to your ass! Now we are not bashing Mr. Cage, he’s phenomenal with his charity work and philanthropic persona, however, we are bashing his acting abilities in this movie! If you are not familiar with Ghost Rider, it’s the story of a man who makes a deal with the devil to save a loved one and in return becomes a flaming skulled, motorcycle riding, chain wielding bounty hunter from Hell! Very serious character and a very dark story to say the least. When first hearing that this franchise was hitting the big screen we were ecstatic like any comic fan would be…until we actually went and viewed it! Ha! Now like most comic movies there’s a 50/50 chance of it being good. This unfortunately was not one of the lucky “50″. Nicholas Cage’s portrayal of Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider) was so far removed from the actual story that Mickey Mouse playing Freddie Krueger would’ve been a more believable casting choice! Now I’m not Nicholas Cage bashing for sport. I actually like his work in The Rock and you can’t take his Oscar away from him for Leaving Las Vegas which was a great movie! But you do wanna borrow his Oscar and bash your face in for sitting through his scenes in what would otherwise be a decent action hero movie. This movie is actually the sequel to the 2007 film where Nicholas Cage decided to take the character in his own direction and instead of being a tortured soul living day to day as a loner hard living and hard boozing he had the character eating JELLYBEANS out of a martini glass! Now I love jellybeans as much as the next person but let’s just say I don’t envision the bounty hunter from Hell pulling out his jellybelly bag and combining blueberry and buttered popcorn to create Blueberry Muffin! Yes that is a real jellybelly concoction! Hahaha! We were tricked by clever marketing and a great trailer into paying $10.50 to see the 3D version of the second instalment of this series. Go judge for yourself and don’t forget to bring your jellybellies during this 3D experience!

Nim Chow

You know what really grinds my gears? Bad business in good restaurants! First and foremost, I love Japanese food! Big fan of the hibachi! Monday night I have a tradition of going to a Japanese restaurant (that will remain nameless) with a few of my very close friends. Now sidenote…my close friends love them some all you can eat sushi and trust me they eat all they can. So much so that they seriously make these sushi chefs work around the clock giving them some all you can eat goodness. Now because these guys are big spenders and not the casual overeaters they’ve created good friendships with the hierarchy at this place. So with that said one would think that with all the money we spend in this nameless restaurant that it would be ok to swipe an innocent piece of NIM CHOW off of my friends dish! Right? WRONG! The hostess seriously came up to me to say she caught me stealing the Nim Chow off of my buddies dish and that I needed to stop or Id be charged full price for the all you can eat deal. So naturally I told off the hostess and said I’ll eat all the Nim Chow I want and I’ll gladly pay the difference! She didn’t like that response in case you couldn’t tell. But seriously, Nim Chow…a piece of rice paper stuffed with lettuce and maybe a carrot and a phantom piece of shrimp?! So I guess it’s cool to just throw it away and waste it next time because in her head it’s wrong to pick off of your friends dish! So sorry hostess! Next time I’ll be sure to bring my own rice paper. Thoughts? Ha!


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