Matt Swann

Matt Swann

Matt Swann is an Artist-in-Residence at cSPACE Eau Claire in July, 2023.
For a list of events, see the cSPACE Eau Claire Calendar here. 

About Matt

Astral Swans is Matthew Swann – an experimental folk musician, from Treaty 7 territory, specializing in abstract narratives of lonerism, absurdity, and whimsy, all told with darkly comedic empathy, and helpless concern.

Perhaps best known as the first artist signed to Juno award winner Dan Mangan’s short lived Madic Records (a subsidiary of legendary indie label Arts & Crafts), Astral Swans has been described by Vice Magazine as “a stark, beautiful project that embraces darkness rather than shying away from it.” The Montreal Gazette has described Swann as, “an artist of immeasurable depth, incredible smarts, remarkable bravery, creativity and insight,” with further acclaim coming from the likes of Paste Magazine, Tiny Mix Tapes, Exclaim, and Brooklyn Vegan.

Since its inception in 2013, Astral Swans has released 3 full length albums, a 7”, and toured the globe. Notable shows have included dates across Japan, mainland China, Europe, the United States, and Canada, where Swann has graciously shared the stage with notable artists such as: Feist, Angel Olsen, Grimes, Damo Sazuki (Can), Spoon, and many more.

Artist Statement

Cosmic Slacker Country. Engaging creatively with the Calgary Stampede as a Calgarian that has traditionally disavowed the culture and civic identity of The Calgary Stampede.

In 2019 The Calgary Stampede generated 540 million dollars for itself and the greater Calgary economy, making it the largest cultural, and arts event in Canada. Furthermore, the 140 year old event has long stood as the primary symbol of the city. However, for many Calgarians (myself included) The Calgary Stampede isn’t a relatable cultural symbol. As such, instead of embracing the 10 day celebration, we avoid it. The purpose of this project will be to actively engage with the Calgary Stampede, both as the background to, and inspiration for the creation of work that will authentically challenge, and explore my Calgary identity. This process will focus on solo creation, and collaboration with a diversity of Calgary artists, each offering a different perspectives on Calgary made art, with the Stampede as our backdrop.

What excites me most about this residency is the opportunity to have an uninterrupted period of creation. Like most artists, I am often juggling my creative work with other part time work, required to make ends meet. It is a tremendous gift to simply have time to create, and explore without interruption. Secondly, it is a thrill to be able to collaborate with people from my community, and have the opportunity to see the act of creation from different perspectives.

In His Own Words

Success with this residency looks like

The creation of new work. In my case that will primarily be songwriting. I hope to leave this residency with some new songs composed during my time at cSPACE Eau Claire. With any luck there will also be some demo recordings of new material as well.


As stated above, I am looking forward to artistic collaboration with people from within my community. Calgary is a hub of multiculturalism, and diversity, and I look forward to working and sharing perspectives with artists of different backgrounds & perspectives. This will take place via writing collabs, and performance.

Sharing With the Community

The last component of success entails connecting with the community. I look forward to engaging with Calgarians & visitors via scheduled performances, and open studio time.

Creativity, Collaboration and Change

Yes! These values absolutely resonant with me. Art is one of the backbones of society. It is an important means by which a society defines itself, and also by which it challenges previous ways in which it has been defined. Culture is fluid, and art is a primary method for the analysis of our perceptions, and attitudes over time. In my own work I strive to make art that is experimental, and challenging. I am drawn to the avant garde. I want Calgary to be a place that is known for art that challenges, reinvents, and grows. I want us to be known as a refuge for weirdos, and diverse creative voices, gathered here on the traditional Treaty 7 lands with respect for that rich history which preceded colonial settlement, and respect for new Canadian cultural voices.

Vision for Calgary

For me, I hope for Calgary to grow its avant garde, and to tell our stories, and define ourselves through diversity, and exploration.

The Meaning of Everything

My life as a musician is what is most important, and meaningful to me, outside of perhaps a few of my closest relationships. Music has enriched my life, it has allowed me to travel & learn about other parts of the world, and it has given me purpose. I am forever grateful for this path, and grateful to cSPACE for giving me this opportunity.

Get Social

Instagram: [at]astralswans