Matt Mays Shares Stripped-Down 'Twice Upon a Hell of a Time...' Album

Lindsay Duncan
Matt Mays

Matt Mays figured he could have more than one hell of a time with the latest batch of songs he's released.

The Canadian singer-songwriter and former El Torpedo frontman's new Twice Upon a Hell of a Time... -- out Oct. 19 and premiering exclusively below -- is an acoustic-flavored reimagining of last year's Once Upon a Hell of a Time..., his rocking 2017 album that spawned the singles "Faint of Heart," "Sentimental Sins" and "NYC Girls." Mays and co-producer Eric Ratz stripped down all 13 of the tracks, adding more vocals and changing the instrumentation, to create an entirely different listening experience.

"I wrote quite a few of the songs kind of stripped-down and on either acoustic guitar or ukulele or piano, so I was used to them like that to start with," Mays tells Billboard. "It was fun to kind of beef them up and make them big-sounding for Once Upon a Hell of a Time... But I think any good song can be done a million ways -- in different keys, time signatures, genres. I think that's where the magic lies. I could do a metal version of these songs and they'll hold up. They don't have to have just one life."

He does acknowledge that the trial and error process yielded even more ideas for the tracks. "There are a lot of different versions," he reports. "Some are ones I did before Once Upon a Hell of a Time..., even. So there are quite a few different incarnations of these tunes, for sure. Eric and I just picked what we thought was the best of what we did, but there's definitely more."

Meanwhile Mays, who recently finished some North American concert dates, is also eyeballing his next new album. "I work all day on tunes and I'm constantly doing demos and things. That's just something I do all the time," Mays says. "I've got almost a record in the can, so we'll see." Meanwhile he has plans to do some more touring to support Twice Upon... "It'll be a little more of a sit-down, mellower show with a vibier band -- something that fits this album the right way."