The unique sounds of The Wonderfool

The unique sounds of The Wonderfool

By Faith Holley

“I’ll be who I want to, cause it won’t feel much better.”

That line from The Wonderfool’s song “Much Better” perhaps exemplifies the message of his music.

Matt Vinson, the man behind The Wonderfool, is an Ohio native who has been playing music since he was a young boy. What started as messing around on his dad’s guitar and writing sappy songs about moving to Ohio in fifth grade turned into a beautiful creative journey for The Wonderfool.

Vinson went to Ohio University and was a part of a music program where he felt his passion for music begin to grow. In college, “getting freedom of rein as far as being a human’’ was what really inspired Vinson’s music.

“Songwriting started going from this idea of things that I didn’t really know what I was talking about, like love or experience,” to actually being able to write songs about what he was experiencing, he explains. 

Now, after working in music for years, Vinson says the message of his music is that “you’re not perfect and you’re not gonna be good at everything in your life. Keep swimming through and find solace and peace in the things you happen to do good.”

Photo by Hillary Jones.

The Wonderfool’s music leaves you feeling inspired and appreciative of the world around you. His folk album “Fixing the Strings” came out in 2018 and became a staple for me throughout quarantine. 

The song “Swimming” off of this album is consistent with his funky tune and hopeful lyrics. In that song, The Wonderfool sings, “In my eyes, I see clearness and happiness is at its nearest to me. The next year will be our greatest and what we want won’t hesitate on us.” His songs stand as reminders to stay hopeful throughout the hard times and to celebrate the great times.

Vinson has always been one to do things in an unconventional way. Initially after college, he went to Denver to work in a studio and was “dumb- founded at how much people would pay to rent the studio for a day and how much they would charge to mix things.” 

He says people never seemed comfortable in the environment, so he was inspired to start home studios. When it comes to recording, he says “its not [about] the gear, its all about the experience and how comfortable you are and how much your anxieties can be quelled in order to make a good record.” 

Matt Vinson in recording studio. Photo by Mike Griffith.

He is intentional about “putting careful planning into the decor and [even] the smells, and how easy water and coffee is.” He provides a space where he and others can be weird with their music and experiment with their sound.

Vinson has been a part of the band Caamp, pursuing his own music as The Wonderfool and contributing to many other musicians for years. 

His funky, folk sound is unique to him, being “just a space child [who] loves making weird sounds in the studio.” Vinson continues to make such a unique, creative sound throughout much experimentation. 

He explains that his weirdness, such as sirens in the background, crazy harmonies, and love of experimentation is a part of him making “all of these songs and recordings that are so much more ‘out there’ than Wonderfool stuff and I reel it all back in to get the sound that I want” for The Wonderfool.

No matter what the music that he is pursuing is, his goal always “is to feel validated in what I am doing and to know that even if I am not getting technically better at my craft, to know that spiritually I am getting better.” 

The Wonderfool is a creative musician that is passionate about not only his own musical journey, but helping others along the way on theirs.