Mateo Briscoe Presents “Insane”

Like his role model and spirit guide, Amy Winehouse, Mateo Briscoe struggles. He struggles with sleep paralysis, overcoming trauma, navigating identity, and a slew of ticks and eccentricities. Yet, again, like the London Lioness, this Sacramento songbird just plain f***in’ rocks.

In countless childhood renditions of “You Are My Sunshine” belted over his uncle’s acoustic strums, Mateo planted seeds of public performance. Unable to afford private guitar lessons, he scratched the music itch by picking up clarinet through a public school program. So when his parents finally gifted him an acoustic of his own, he fervently merged his hard-won collection of soulful poems with punk-folk power chords and riffs. As he busked the boulevards and graced stages throughout Sacramento, people identified with his fearless, honest depiction of feeling strange, sick, or other. And when fans and critics alike approached with armchair diagnosis of ADD, OCD, or FUBAR, Mateo responded with an unapologetic, earnest, and completely characteristic “Thank You.” Like, what!?

“I’d been living with these problems for so long. People’s response to my music brought me some answers,” he relates. It’s special to find an artist of such talent with such vast magnitudes of humility and realness. But here he is. If you’re listening, you’re in the right place—to commiserate, heal, and mosh to your heart’s desire with this astral-projecting, family-founded, mellifluous maven of maudlin and mirth. As he puts it: “You’ll always find a helping hand or peace of mind when there’s music around.” Listen to Mateo Briscoe tell everyone’s story through his music on all streaming platforms, and keep eyes open for tour dates along the West Coast later this year.

In his rollicking, heartfelt single “Insane,” Briscoe strips mental health issues bare and dissects them on his fretboard. Reciting a hurricane’s syndrome of compulsive habits, he calmly brushes out some mischievous chords over rolling drums and bass by his dual-Jesse backing—high school pals and frequent collaborators Jesse Szabo and Jesse Hanes, that is. The instrumentation ramps up into the chorus, where Mateo takes boldface ownership of his utter insanity. It’s a poignant, ironic call out of how we oversimplify and demonize mental health issues. And it’s a certified, bad-ass bop.

The video for “Insane” (directed by Chris Brice and Ronald Spatafore) effortlessly mists Briscoe’s tune in a haunting and edgy atmosphere. On grain-filtered, old-timey placards, we’re introduced to the story of Myrna—a ghost that haunts the Georgetown Hotel Saloon… in which we find the band strutting and strumming out their song. As the film progresses, Mateo explores the spooky setting, ascending the creaking stairs where he descends into a possessed madness. Tongue in cheek as always, the intrepid entertainer leaves us with a smile as the reel flickers out to a close.

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