Alum keyboardist keeps Tapes ‘n Tapes rollin’
by Dominique HlavacTalon staff writer
“It was the first tour I went on with any musical ensemble,” said Matt Kretzmann, keyboard and horn player of Minnesota native band Tapes ‘n Tapes and Minnehaha alum class of 1998. “I remember the first night there we did a home-stay with an elderly couple named Bob and Patty. Patty had made a fresh lemon meringue pie with lemons from the tree outside of their house. The meringue must have been three inches high. It was amazing,” The sophomore band’s regular director, Diane Hallberg, was on maternity leave during this time, so former middle school band director Paul Isaacs accompanied the group.
The road to musical success is not always paved with lemon meringue pie, but for Kretzmann, it all started at Minnehaha Academy.
“I did actually love being in band in high school. I played trombone and the euphonium,” Kretzmann said. “Mrs. Hallberg was my director for most of the years and I had the great Mr. Isaacs in middle school.”
Going to school at Minnehaha was a big part of Kretzmann’s life. He went on several band trips with his peers and developed friendships with them as well as his teachers, some of whom he still keeps in contact with, including Upper School band director, Diane Hallberg.
“He was one of those people that was laid back but very responsible so he didn’t have that intense drive that you get from some people. Yet, his work was always really high quality,” said Hallberg. “He was just really steady and even, and I’m not saying steady and even and mediocre. He was steady and even and excellent, but in a sort of self-motivated way.”
Although Kretzmann was a diligent student in band, his love for fun and his sense of humor got him into some mischief during his high school years.
“He and a friend of mine in high school here were in Spanish class and I was in English class,” said Minnehaha chemistry teacher and Kretzmann’s elementary school friend, Chris Thompson. “They got out of class by leaving the open window and came up to my classroom. It turns out they had escaped Spanish and they ended up going back in through the window.”
Kretzmann has a unique personality. He is soft-spoken yet creative, talented and fun to be around. Lead singer of Tapes n’ Tapes Josh Grier describes him as ‘wild and crazy’ while the bands percussionist Jeremy Hanson describes him as ‘very loving’.
These diverse qualities enable him to maintain a good disposition while staying flexible with changes that arise in playing in a band on tour, in a studio, or on stage.
“He was always just very flexible and easy going,” Hallberg said, “and I think that really made him open to trying a lot of new things.”
However, one thing that is not negotiable for Kretzmann is his notorious love for coffee. So much so that “finding good coffee” Kretzmann said, is the hardest thing about being on tour.
Kretzmann’s passion for coffee is eclipsed only by his generosity and loving care for his friends and family.
“He’s (Kretzmann) helped me before, working on my house,” Thompson said, “he was a really big help without asking for anything in return.”
When Kretzmann is not busy being on tour or helping out friends, he enjoys making his own music.
“I’ve been working on a record; I guess of my own stuff the last couple years,” Kretzmann said, “I did a meditation album, very spacious kind of music… I don’t know if I’m gonna release that or anything. It’s maybe just more of a personal thing right now but I wouldn’t rule out actually making a record.”
While working on his own pieces helped to develop personal creativity, there is something about being on stage that helps to bring out the extravert in even the most introverted of people,
“Generally I’m kind of introverted,” Kretzmann said, “which is sometimes difficult with our playing in front of people, but I’ve kinda gotten over that so it’s not a big deal.”
As well as developing as a musician and finding a stage presence are important, relationships with band mates are even more so.
“[Kretzmann] was shockingly chill. I met him when he was at college and I was playing in a band that played at Lawrence (University in Appleton, Wisconsin),” said Tapes n’ Tapes bassist Erik Appelwick. “He had longish hair and a college scruffy beard. All in all, a chill broseph.”
Even with talent and good friends, it’s difficult to make it in the music world these days, but what started as just goofing around and playing music with friends turned out to be so much more.
“We’d just screw around and sometimes we’d make recordings of what we were doing,” Kretzmann said. “We would play music for fun together and things just kind of progressed.”
In 2005, Tapes n’ Tapes released the album The Loon.
“It just went viral,” Hallberg said. “I kept on going to all these places. They were out of it, it was just ironic that I could not find it in the Twin Cities, but I found a first copy of that in Duluth.”
When your album can’t be found on a shelf in your hometown, you can without a doubt say that it was successful.
Through the years, Tapes ‘n Tapes has toured around the world, grown closer as friends and created music that is original and evidently appealing to multiple generations.
Tapes n’ Tapes is an indie rock band formed right here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They recently returned to First Avenue in Minneapolis while on a current tour. Click on the link to listen to the song “Freak Out” from their latest recording, Outside.