Matthew Koma was ready for a new start.
The Seaford native, best known for co-writing the Grammy-winning smash “Clarity” for Zedd and Foxes and singing a string of hits for EDM’s hottest producers, felt like he had lost his way in the music business.
“That was something I never set out to do and I never really related to,” Koma says of his dance music successes. “I was thankful for the opportunities and the ability to write songs that meant something to me… But I still didn’t feel like I was getting to do what I wanted to do as a kid. It was this weird calling of ‘If I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it.’ ”
Growing up, Koma wanted to be in a rock band, playing in various Long Island groups as a teenager, before starting his own group Bandcamp. Now, Koma is in a band again, Winnetka Bowling League, with a new EP out on RCA Records on Sept. 21, led by the dreamy, California-styled debut single “On the 5.”
“I knew I wanted to make a record that was more in line with the things I grew up listening to and loving,” says Koma, calling from his Los Angeles home. “The song came and the direction came at the same time. It felt like me and fun and, more importantly, I enjoyed doing it. It was like this wave of inspiration.”
He quickly compiled an album’s worth of new material in February and March, including the Beck-tinged “Feeling California” and the gorgeous, poignant ballad “Are You Okay?”
“It didn’t really resonate with me how California it sounded until after the fact,” says Koma. “It ended up being a pretty California-driven record which is funny considering most of it was made in New York.”
Koma says he’s looking forward to playing the new songs at Mercury Lounge on Sept. 24 as a band, which includes his brother Kris Mazzarisi on drums. “I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to play shows,” says Koma, adding that he has built in a break from touring so he can be home for the upcoming birth of his child with girlfriend Hilary Duff. “It feels like the right thing to do. Everything feels new right now.”
Winnetka Bowling League plays Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St., Manhattan, at 8 p.m. Sept. 24. Tickets are $15 through Ticketfly.