Matt The Cat Trio is: Matt Hillyer (guitar & vocals), Steven Berg (bass), and Arjuna Contreras (drums)
Matt and Steve have been playing together since Nov 1992. In the interest of getting from A to B within the confines of a “band bio”, please know this is the abbreviated version of the 20+ year story. If you require more information, please CONTACT US, and we would be happy to talk about pretty much anything!
Matt & Steve’s early musical experience came in the form of their rockabilly trio “Lone Star Trio”, which they started in early 1993, and continued into early 1996. Their unique blend of traditional Texas rockabilly and traditional country / western swing was blessed with an immediate degree of success, nationally and regionally. As much as they appreciated their success, they soon realized the difficulty and limitations of trying to book live shows with venues and buyers who were often unaware or unable to understand the loosely defined genre of “rockabilly” music. It was Matt and Steve’s search for a style of music that would feel natural while allowing more effective booking and touring that led them on the two year search for a sound, and the natural progression to country music. It was during the end of this two year stretch that the band “Eleven Hundred Springs” was born. Even though the country music scene was not quite ready for such an “edgy” (remember, this was still the 90’s, when visible tattoos were generally considered offensive) presentation of country music, the band was still able to carve out a niche. Their presentation of honest and well played traditional country music has been rewarded with a very successful 15 year (and still counting) run with Eleven Hundred Springs. Ok, that is more or less the “how they got here” story, now on to more current matters.
Over the years, Eleven Hundred Springs has kept a calendar that, at times, hovered around 200 shows per year. However, in the past couple of years efforts have been made to greatly reduce the number of shows, allowing the band members more time at home to be with family and adult responsibilities. Along with this “down time”, came time to reflect and appreciate the sound and style that played such a big part of this long musical journey. While the original blend of rockabilly and country is what originally “brought them to the dance”, after over 2 decades of playing country music every night, the idea of revisiting exactly what they had already done just didn’t hold much interest. However, the idea of blending rockabilly and early rock and roll / R&B seemed like a refreshing way to visit the “trio” concept. In fact, the challenge of this approach has proven to be a spark that has (re)ignited a creative fire which is evident on stage, on record (yes, vinyl record), and video.
The “Matt The Cat Trio” debut 7” vinyl was released in August 2014. The two new original songs, “It’s Gonna Take Some Time” and “When I Try To Be Cool” are already up on itunes, with the video for the later already making it’s way around the internet.