Listening to Matt FX Feldman recount his upbringing, you'd think the 23-year-old had already lived three different lives. From his start as a soprano in the Saint Thomas Choir School at eight years old to his rebellious days at New York City's LaGuardia High School, Feldman's life has always been steeped in music. So it makes total sense that he'd end up as Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer's musical right-hand man for Broad City, as well as the leader of the collaboration-happy band Scooter Island. We talked to Feldman about his many pit stops along the way to music supervision, how he managed to pull off that famous Drake scene, and what's in store for season three.
Were you brought up in a musical household?
My father was a conductor. If you've ever seen Modern Family, I was basically like Manny—I was that love-letter-writing, coffee-drinking, pink-suit-wearing chubby kid. After that, I went to Laguardia High School. It was [my classmate] Azealia Banks who really opened up my taste. The day we met, we cut three periods and talked about indie bands, which she's more well-versed in than any human being I know. She was the first one to turn me on to boom bap rap, too.
Did you go to college?
I got into the University of Glasgow. I thought I was going to love it there, but having to learn the same musical concepts that I had been already been taught...I was going a little bit nuts. I kind of struggled when I got back to New York. I worked at a mailbox store, a food truck on The High Line, and I babysat. A year later, I got hit up by a girl from high school saying, "I got a job working for Bryan Elsley [creator of Skins]. We're making an American version. Do you want to come in since you introduced me to it?" I got in there and was like, "Can I intern with the music guy?" Bryan was just like, "Yeah, make me a mix." Then the next day he was like, "I need you to quit your day job."
Wow, that happened quick. So, what sort of music were you looking to put on the show?
I used a demo by Blood Orange; I put AlunaGeorge in there; RL Grime. But then Skins obviously crashed and burned in the public eye in terms of an American adaptation.
What was your plan of action after Skins "crashed and burned"?
I spent a few years after that thinking that was kind of a fluke. I was getting into DJing, making some of my own music, and throwing parties. Then, right when I was getting tired of the 20-DJ-gigs-a-month, too-much-drinking, too-much-smoking lifestyle, I got a call about Broad City.
Everyone who watches "Broad City" wants to be best friends with Abbi and Ilana—what's it like to work with them?
Working with them is such a dream. Like, I get them! For season three, our first task was [to find a song] for the cold open [a teaser, before the opening credits] of the very first episode. I think it was literally five minutes after chatting with them that I found the track, and it happened to be by one of their current favorite artists. There was another big scene this season that they needed a song to film to on set, and I wasn't sure what it should be. The night before I had to present options, I got dragged out to a club where an artist was performing who sounded perfect. The song is so good that the crew on set was asking whether the song was custom written for the show.
How difficult was it to secure "Started From the Bottom" by Drake for that famous bank scene from season two?
That was one of the only tracks that the girls had thought of when they were writing the script. We filmed the scene to it and everything. It was unclear whether we'd get approval or be able to manage it budget-wise because it's Drake! It's so big! That's when Ilana said, "I'm gonna go to 'SNL' and talk to him backstage because he's the guest this weekend." We actually mixed the episode down with the Drake version and an alternative version in case we didn't get it. It was four or five days before the episode aired when we found out we got it.
How has season three differed from the past two you've worked on?
It's awesome that we've gotten such a head start on it this year. The first season, obviously, I came on very shortly before it went to air and last year they went on a tour for a month-and-a-half before the show premiered, so that sort of crunched our time a little bit in post. I've never really had a relaxed experience and it's nice to see that everyone's getting a head start. There's some really good stuff in there. I think, musically, I'm going farther than I've ever gone.